How a Step-parent Can be a Positive Support to Your Stepchildren


Photo Caption: Side view portrait of father and son sitting together on rocks fishing with rods in calm lake waters with landscape of setting sun, both wearing checkered shirts, shot from behind tree

Sure, I can be a stepdad; how hard can it be? If I only knew what I needed to know, my first question would be drastically different. Over ten years as a stepparent, I’ve experienced many seasons with my stepson. Some seasons, where he wanted me more involved and closer to the vest, so to speak, and other seasons where he’s had me at an arm’s distance. Seasons of intense joy followed by extreme frustration.  Seasons when I thought I’ve nailed it as a stepdad and others when I seriously questioned my parenting ability.

Like any other role in life, step-parenting has seasons, moments, hills, and valleys. One thing that I knew early in the blending of our family was that my role was not to replace my stepsons, father but be an additional supporter, encourager, coach, and parental steward. As stepparents, it can be really easy to want to jump in, take over, and “lay the land” when you first begin to blend. I’ve learned that my relationship with my stepson had to take time and develop organically and naturally before I could step in and start experiencing his respect and love. Over a decade, we’ve developed trust, a strong foundation of love and security, found similar things we enjoyed doing together, and now mutual respect as he is almost an adult.

My role over the years has shifted and grown in many ways, and in those seasons, I became a positive support for him in some not-so-positive situations. Stepchildren often feel isolated and hopeless when they experience two parents who cannot co-parent peacefully or get along. This has been the case for many blended families, including ours. In those tense seasons, I found solace in my role and how I could better support and encourage him through it.

Please allow us to encourage you in this area with these tips:

  1. Your first job is to love their parent.
  2. Be patient; relationships take time to develop.
  3. Ask for advice frequently.
  4. Know that kids spell love, TIME. Take time from your schedule and devote to things they enjoy.
  5. Continually pray for God to help build up a solid relationship between you and them, and for their biological parents.

One of the greatest gifts of being a stepparent is that you get to be that helping hand, sounding board, and open ear to listen to your stepchildren when their mom and dad may not be getting along. We can often be the sweet gift of security, a neutral party, and a place of peace that they come to when they don’t feel like they can open up to or go to mom and dad for advice or help. God has prepared you for this role, so trust the process, live in His peace and just keep trying.

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