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How can I Prepare to Become a Stepfather?

Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal

Becoming a stepfather can be one of the most challenging roles a man can undertake, but the process is often easier when you takes time to think about your changing position well before you assumes your new role in full. It’s often a good idea to set aside some time to bond with your new stepchildren, and to give them opportunities to see that you act the way you promise you will. This will let them know that you’re going to be there for them for the long-term and is an important way for you to start gaining their trust. You’ll need to set boundaries early on, but you should also be prepared for some tension. Kids may not be enthusiastic about their mother’s new relationship and it’s not uncommon for them to act inappropriately for a while. Try not to take this personally. Be as generous as you can with your love, even in difficult times, and chances are things will even out as the months and years go by.

Gain Trust

Stepfathers need to prepare themselves for temper tantrums and mood swings.
Stepfathers need to prepare themselves for temper tantrums and mood swings.

It is very rare for a new male figure in a child’s life to simply assume the father figure role without any problems, but things are usually a lot easier when the child trusts you. To begin with, the relationship between yourself and the child’s mother should be a committed one, and you should take steps to be sure all children involved understand that you are not going to be going away or leaving them. Children can become attached to individuals very quickly and can be easily be hurt if the relationship ends, particularly if they’ve felt abandoned by male authority figures before.

A stepfather should show equal attention to his biological and stepchildren.
A stepfather should show equal attention to his biological and stepchildren.

It’s often the case that an incoming man can be seen as in intruder, at least at first. It can take a lot of time to gain a child's trust, and how you treat the child's mother will go a long way towards how the child perceives your character. A stepfather is a newcomer in the house and can be seen by the child as diverting the mother's attention. Involving the mom is also an important part of this equation. Once the child is aware that he or she is still receiving love attention from his or her mother, it may be easier for you to gain acceptance.

Set Boundaries

A stepfather should make an effort to get to know his stepchild.
A stepfather should make an effort to get to know his stepchild.

It’s also important to set appropriate boundaries for you and the children’s natural parents from the start. You should be aware of how significant your role is going to be with the children. If the biological father is also in their life, you should expect to be under this man’s strict scrutiny, and depending on his nature you may also need to anticipate negativity from him. As a new parental figure, you may be looking after his child for a significant amount of time, and it is only natural that the he should be concerned about the arrangement in the beginning.

Taking young stepchildren on nature walks and other outdoor activities can be a good way to bond.
Taking young stepchildren on nature walks and other outdoor activities can be a good way to bond.

A new stepfather should never try to compete with the biological father for the child's affections. If you can, it’s often a good idea for you, the biological father, and the mother to sit down together for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the roles everyone will play, and to get a sense of where each of you is coming from. If everyone follows acceptable boundaries and commits to respecting the others, the child will likely have more respect for everyone involved. This is especially true if the child is an adolescent. Trying to win favoritism will not be productive, as children are generally very intuitive about sniffing out lies and insincerity.

Prepare for Tension

Stepfathers need to develop plans for discipline when a child acts out.
Stepfathers need to develop plans for discipline when a child acts out.

Being realistic about the challenges ahead is also really important to success. Children frequently have temper tantrums, mood swings, and are prone to taking out their anger on newcomers into the family. These sorts of behaviors tend to be most acute in times of transition or change, and can be more intense the younger and more immature the child is. If you go into the relationship expecting a bit of this as a natural consequence you are likely to adjust much faster.

Most toddlers and small children go through a stage in which they are frustrated and overwhelmed.
Most toddlers and small children go through a stage in which they are frustrated and overwhelmed.

Family counselors often recommend that people in these sorts of situations try to make a conscious effort to separate the what the child says and does from what he or she is probably trying to express. It’s natural for a stepchild to tell you hurtful things, but if you can distinguish his emotions about the change from his emotions about you, you’ll probably realize that he’s acting out because of what’s happening to his life. You are a big part of these changes, of course, but his aggression is usually misplaced when it’s put on a parent or other authority figure.

Be Generous With Love

Participating in traditional family activities may allow the children to bond with a new stepfather.
Participating in traditional family activities may allow the children to bond with a new stepfather.

No matter how stressful things get, experts usually recommend that you make an extra effort to be loving and inclusive. Stepchildren are usually highly aware that they are not your natural children and may feel like this brands them as less worthy of love and acceptance. Do all you can to counter this notion. If you have your own biological children, try to integrate the stepchildren into the family and show them special attention. This can be a time when the children can see that there is no favoritism and each child is as important as the next.

Discussion Comments


Don't ever become a step-parent.

Mothers want men to be the wallets for their brood by another man. Often it was the mother who initiated the divorce (statistically up to 90 percent of the time, the wife initiates the divorce), and if she couldn't keep it together with the real father of her children or was dumb enough to choose a deadbeat with whom to have kids, how do you think she's going to keep it together with the stepfather? She wants your money, plain and simple.

While you keep your wallet open for the single mommy, you will be reminded daily by her and her kids that you have no say. If the kids are monsters, mommy will tell you that you, the step-dad, are the one who needs to calm down. Often, mothers will make their kids into pseudo-spouses, and the kids will often never move out. I know several step-dads whose kids are in their 30s and still living at home. Also, while you're paying for clothes, food, a bigger house and car -- all for kids by another man -- you, the step-dad, will be third, fourth, or fifth priority for mommy -- even behind the ex -- but you'd better make her your first priority, especially when it comes to paying her and her kids bills.

And she will divorce you most of the time. Women initiate most divorces. Once she has used you up and taken all you have, she will toss the husk that's left of you to the side, as she seeks out the next step-dad.


I dated a few women with kids, but quickly ended the relationships when it became apparent I couldn't deal with their kids. I simply can't resign myself to the concept of providing emotional and financial support to a child I had nothing to do with bringing into the world (I don't care if this seems "selfish") and all I see is a constant reminder of the woman's ex-husband staring back at me, in addition to still having to deal with the ex-husband/ex-in-law's visits, etc., etc. The divorce rate for second marriages with children is approximately 65 to 70 percent. I want no part of being included in this statistic.


I'm a widow with an eight year old son. His father died when he was a baby so he's never known life other than just me.

I'm finally dating someone and he loves my son, but he's never lived with anyone before - let alone a child. I fear the relationship is not going to last because my son doesn't respect him and will only listen to me.

I don't know what to do. My son and I have our routine and ways of doing things and it's extremely difficult to introduce someone new. I want my son to have a family with two parents, but it seems impossible.


I'm going to be a stepfather next year to a 15 year old girl. She's got learning difficulties which make her younger mentally than she actually is. I have a three year old son from my previous relationship. Marriage doesn't scare me much. But being a stepdad does. Very much so. The stepdaughter is a lovely girl. She lacks a biological father, sadly, and I believe she's competing for her mother's attention (I'm playing no part in this game). But I'm feeling awful, thinking I'm taking this girl's mother away from her, as she's been a single parent for 15 years give or take. I'm scared of the future backlash of, "you're not my Dad," etc. I love her mother so much and want what is best for them both. I just hope that shines through. Her mother and the stepdaughter argue most nights, mainly because she feels threatened by my presence in her life, although the stepdaughter denies this. (Also the lack of a solid father figure) I worry because I and my soon to be wife, want a baby of our own and I genuinely worry for my future stepdaughter's mental health and her feeling pushed out. I don't want her to feel pushed out and I don't want my son to feel such pain.

I know the road will be bumpy and I accept that, as does my partner. I just want a peaceful life and hope my future stepdaughter doesn't see my future wife's love for me as a threat, because her love for her daughter will be everlasting. I have high hopes for our marriage and life as a blended family. We've talked and shared fears, do not argue and she has similar fears about being a step-mum.

I'm afraid of being her stepfather, her carer and her male role model as she's older, because she doesn't have that clean slate, so to speak, as my son does, being a toddler. Plus she's behind in her years, which makes her difficult at times to her mother.

I accept her for who she is and I hope one day, after marriage to my wife, we can grow closer as a family and really be happy. I hope one day we can love one another.

I'm not going to be a perfect father, as I'm not her father. But I want to be a decent stepfather. I'm lucky to be a stepfather in the making to a lovely young lady who'll make me proud to say she is my stepdaughter.

I just needed to get this off of my chest. Thanks for reading.


I am going to be a (step) father soon. I just proposed to my girlfriend yesterday. She has a six year old little girl whom I adore. We will become a blended family, not only by person, but by color as well. I am white, and my girlfriend and her daughter are black. The daughter is mixed as her "father" is half-black and white.

What can I say? The father is a loser. He now has four kids by four different women. He left the girls about two years ago for a job in NYC with no plan of ever bringing them with him. My girlfriend made the wise choice of divorcing him after a year. He is a terrible father with no real idea of ever being a father to any of his children. He is abusive verbally to my girlfriend and uses his daughter as a pawn against his ex-wife and me. It can be stressful and frustrating. I have had to learn a great deal of patience and resolve in this relationship.

I have no children of my own. I have always wanted to be a dad. I never thought about being a step-parent. The daughter and I have worked hard to have a friendship, first and foremost. It took a long time for me to figure out the best way to approach this relationship with a six year old girl. Considering I had never been a father before, I really had no idea what to do. Fortunately, the mother let the daughter and I figure this out along the way. We most certainly had our rough moments, but after a year plus, things are definitely working out. I love both of the girls very much.

I don't want the daughter to call me dad if she doesn't want to. She has a pet name for me, and that's good enough. She has a "father" and frankly, the word "father" is thrown around loosely these days. I am another supporter of this little girl's life. I am another cheerleader, listener, playmate, provider, and caretaker for her. I know the relationship I have with her is special. Most certainly more special than any title can define.

Am I nervous? Hell, yes. I am more anxious than anything. I own a house that the girls will be moving into. So not only have I had to step into their lives, they soon will be stepping into mine.

I relish the days of being that "dad" figure. Of taking her to school. Helping her with her homework. Going to all of her events and cheering her on. Her mother and I have a superb relationship. We have found that with blending a family, there needs to be constant communication. It's constant! There can be no hidden agendas. Everything has to be discussed. Its mandatory. Talking about issues as they arise is a must. Talk with the children. I talk with the daughter daily. I ask about her. Ask her how she is feeling. How she's doing. That's how it's working with us.

I've found that we have built a great bond because I have allowed myself to be open with her. It's taken more than a minute for it to work, but the rewards are priceless.


I have been married to a great woman with four amazing daughters. I went into the relationship very naive. My wife, to her credit, tried to talk me out of the marriage, knowing all that i would have to deal with and I quote, "You sure you want all of us and my crazy ex"? I said wild horses could not keep me away.

The girls ages' at the time ranged between 14, 10, and two 6 year olds. I do not want to say names so I will refer to each one by age. The oldest was very accepting as were the two 6 year olds. The 10 year old was the challenge and remains the challenge today.

Read this and please understand being a step anything is not easy. But I would not change being a father or a husband to my family for anything. I'm telling you now that saying there will be bumps in the road is an understatement. But if you ask me today or 50 years from now if would I do it any different, I would give you a resounding no. I love my daughters and I could care less what my wife or her ex says.

After you spend time with anyone -- especially children -- you will forever be a part of their lives and they will be a part of yours, blood or not. So if you're a step-anything, keep your head up. It is tough, but the rewards outweigh everything. The kids will come around, but you have to do the time. The best advice I can give is be patient. God bless you and you are not alone.


What I never get is all this "step fathers can never be real dads". There are a few of us out there -- maybe more -- who the kids see as their father. It's usually the father was a deadbeat, jailed or some other problem.

I also cringe at the word "step" and none of my children, bio or not are called anything but my children. They are all treated equally. Their biological father now wants to try and form some relationship with them. I don't expect them to suddenly stop referring to me as daddy and thinking of me differently. I am their daddy. The biological parent is just that.

My question to you is: how can you presume a man who is with the kids 12 of 14 days a week can never be considered the real dad? Funny, eh?


My mother passed away from cancer when I was 13 and my father remarried when I was 14. The sad thing is that my stepmother also had two children of her own and I also had my biological brother. My two step brothers are in the crips. They sell and smoke pot and they had both dropped out of high school. They had started with this bad behavior before my father remarried and he had no idea what they were all about.

A few years go by and I decide to run away from home due to the disrespect I had to deal with from my step brothers and the mental abuse I had to deal with from the stepmom. I had told the stepmom everything they did and she shrugged it off with, "It's only a phase." Wrong.

They dropped out of high school and they caused the family to have to move out from apartments two times due to gang activity.

I am now 23 and my brother is 13 and now he is dealing with favoritism issues with his half brother who is now six. Yes my father and stepmom had a child together. My brother constantly gets punished for not doing what his six year old brother tells him to do. My brother told me that one time his six year old brother was singing Christmas songs and that my brother told him it wasn't Christmas time and my stepmother started slapping him around. I had talked to my father about this issue and he says he already has talked to her, but it is always causing arguments.

My six year old half brother never listens to my father because he has to make sure that my stepmother approves of what my father has to say. She and my half brothers run the house while my father and brother are slaves to the mental and physical abuse I had to endure for four years.

I wish I could help my brother. He is constantly being called a bad kid by my stepmom and he does really well in school and is well mannered and he talks in such a monotone he usually sounds depressed. It really ticks me off that I can't do anything.


One of several things can happen with a step-parent.

The child or children accepts the step and everything is fine.

The children doesn't accept the step and acts out against the step. In this case, the biological parent can either explain to the child what is going on and the behavior that is expected or they can do nothing and hope things work out.

If they sit around hoping for the best the end result will be the step leaving.

There is nothing else for the step to do. The step has no power in the house to do anything and is normally ignored by kids who don't want them there to begin with.

To those thinking about dating that woman or man with the kids from a previous marriage, I say don't do it. Leave them be. You will in most cases have to simply put up with someone else's kid who will not appreciate anything you do. There are people out there with no kids or kids who don't live with them. If you're going to shop, shop fresh and new. Not used. You'll just save yourself the heartache and headache of undoing the mess you've gotten yourself into.


What is the role of a girlfriend when coming to being introduced to a child from a divorce couple? Should they really become the instant placement for the mother (or father in that case) where they are doing everything that the mother did in that home? Or should they back off for a period of time?


Anon139184, that is not true. I have a four year old daughter and twin boys who are almost four years old. Their father and I were married for seven years and he never played that typical father role. He did nothing, in fact, to nurture or provide. That's why we are no longer married.

When I met Jaime, we discussed he would not be involved with the kids until we knew where our relationship was headed. When he finally did meet them, they took to him instantly. I imagine because he actually did activities, cooked for them and loved on them. When he told them he was going to marry their mommy, they were exited! Now, after some time, they cry for him when they have to go with their dad for the weekend. They do occasionally call him daddy, but correct themselves because their biological dad threatened to spank them if he found out they called Jaime daddy. It just depends on the kids.

I tell this wonderful man how amazing he is, every day. The kids tell him they love him. They are more behaved, smarter and overall, better people since he had come into our lives. The seven year old has even asked for a little sister.


I am so in love with the man I have been dating now for six months. He and I are amazing together, but we stopped dating a couple of days ago because he says he does not feel compassion for my three daughters. My angels are 2, 4 and 6 and he has two beautiful little angels, a boy who is two and a girl who is five. My ex, the girls' biological father lives 1,300 miles away and is an alcoholic in recovery. I told him about all of my "baggage" from the very beginning (he said none of it bothered him) and we had a rocky start because he felt like he owed it to his kids to try to work it out with their mother (they have been divorced now for a year and a half and at the time we were dating for a month and then split for a month so they could figure things out) and that did not take long to determine the results for that attempt, duh!

We picked up where we left off and as time went by, he said he wanted to be a "daddy" for my girls and that was something that I wanted from him but never told him that so I was thrilled that he felt that way! (We did not tell the girls about that decision). So he began to help me with them and was so amazing with them for a while. They were so excited to see him and to have a "daddy" around (they gave him that title because my six year old recognized the role he was playing in their lives). There is so much more to all of that but that isn't my point at the moment so I will move on.

Time went on and they started resisting him because he does not have a gentle touch. He likes to roughhouse and he is a disciplinarian and does lack compassion and they can feel it. He seems to be very business-minded and is able to put all emotions aside and not really care who it upsets. He just doesn't consider their feelings, and I honestly hate that. It's something he recognizes and is working on.

He finally recognized he is not happy because he knows he lacks compassion for them and doesn't know if he ever can feel it for them. My thought is that there is resentment for them because he gets to see them every day almost and I think he feels guilty being a daddy to them because he only sees his babies once a week and every other weekend – a normal "divorce agreement" for custody. Has anyone reading this experienced this type of situation and if so I am desperate to know how that worked out.

We love each other so much but we are taking a step back, enjoying each other once a week or so on a date out and away from the kiddos while we both focus on some things we must do before even considering getting back together as a family. I have schooling to complete and he has to take time to figure out what he wants and can handle.

On a side note, one of my babies is mentally retarded and may have a mitochondrial myopathy which is something that requires a huge change in lifestyle. When you ask someone to step in and be a parent to a child with special needs and they are used to a “normal” life, meaning no restrictions and then trying to communicate with a four year old in a six year old's body (meaning she is big and overweight) with the mentality of a two year old, cannot speak and is extremely demanding in order to be understood (whiny and tantrums, just over the top right now) it is understandable that they freak out and run when they realize they don't have to do this! This plays a huge role in his resistance to marry me like he says he wants to. I am not mad at him for feeling this way, I am completely understanding and it is extremely important that he really think this through. That all being said, so do I!

There is so much more to our story but my question remains: Is it normal for a daddy to feel resentment toward his "step" children (for role purpose only, they are not truly his step children) because he can't have his biological children as often and in his home as a "normal dad". Or maybe guilt for being daddy to children who are not biologically his when he has his own?

I hope this makes sense to someone out there, I am struggling with this! Our love for each other can probably get us through this but only time will tell. This role in my and my daughters' lives is going to be a tough one to fill, but right now and forever if that is the case, we don't really need a man. We can do this! But some things are worth the effort! Thank you if you made it through all my rambling!


When I was 17. my girlfriend's parents moved their family to a foreign country to put space between us, as they believed our relationship to be too intense. we persevered with our romance despite the opposition but upon her parents finding out our relationship was sexual they embarked on a plan to have me prosecuted for statutory rape and sue my family for the property we have – thankfully, unsuccessfully. the final straw was when they got my girlfriend's sister to forge a handwritten letter to me from my girl stating she was sick of the relationship she had found someone else and that it was over.

For years, I believed that letter and moved on with my life. I never traveled to that country under advice from my solicitor, although I was very tempted to several times. last year I returned home after five years abroad and by chance, my ex had returned for a visit and it was then all the lies were found out. She never wrote any letter and had been waiting for me to come get her when she turned 18, but I never did and she gave up on me. There and then, we decided to pick up where we were so cruelly stopped eight years previously. She decided to move back as she was not happy in the country she was in but she wasn't moving back alone. She now had two little girls aged five and three from her previous relationship.

The girls' father was a dropkick loser, never helping out or paying for the girls' welfare. he sold all their toys and clothes which were in storage to be shipped later and gave no contest to court proceeding for sole custody. “As long as I don't pay” were this fine father's words. We have now all been living together for six months and I am very involved in the girls' lives. I make the lunches and breakfasts, drop them off at preschool and do the myriad other chores associated with kids. Their mum starts work earlier than I. This is all very new to me and on mornings when the girls are cranky and awkward, I get very frustrated and angry and wonder why have I given up my freedom to raise some other bloke's kids,which I realize is cruel, but it's just the frustration getting to me.

In the beginning, it was hard to adjust and it put pressure on the relationship and I said and did some things I'm not proud of, but recently, everything seems to have settled nicely. the girls really like me and I them and I don't know how to react to it, but just this morning the eldest one said to me, repeatedly, "You're my daddy now.” Her mother heard her but didn't correct her, and we must talk about this tonight. So all this seems fine: complications sorted, plain sailing from here on in right? Wrong!

At new years, my girlfriend had a miscarriage, which was really stressful for us both, but decidedly so for her. After we got over the miscarriage we took extra precautions to prevent pregnancy and it sounds stupid, I know, but I really don't know how she could be again but she is pregnant again. So now I'm faced with being a father for real and I don't know how I'm going to do it. The stress this creates is unbelievable and I'm also worrying about problems in the future with the girls getting jealous if I show too much attention to my child and unknowingly ignore them.

I'm trying hard to see the blessing in this but when the child is born I'll have his grandparents wanting to have him/her for weekends as they already do with the girls now that they decided to move back here for good, also. The idea of having those people influencing my child sickens me as our past is more than fractious or checkered. I can see it causing problems in the long term between my partner and i. I thought being the step dad figure was hard but looking into the future being the real thing is going to be no walk in the park either. Wish me luck!


I'm 20 years old and i have a 2 and a half year old son. his father is not in his life whatsoever. he doesn't even try.

I'm currently with another man who is very uneasy about this stepfather role, and no matter how much i try and tell him he's doing just fine and to only do what he is comfortable with, he never seems to feel completely comfortable.

In this situation, if my son decides to call my husband Dad, i will not correct him, but my son will grow up knowing about his birth father, and it scares me husband to know that someday maybe my son will want to meet his real father.

i personally do not want my son to meet his father at all. he's done some horrible things to me and to my son. i struggled for a while after i had my son to support him and be both mommy and daddy. no, my husband is a great help and my son loves him, but he calls him by his real name.

my husband wants to adopt my son but his real father is making it nearly impossible. he won't sign over the rights, but he won't pay a dime in child support or help me in any way. he won't even see his child.

I'm at a loss. i feel like biological parents who aren't in their child's life should have no rights whatsoever, and it should be as simple as going to the courts to change it, but it's not.

it bothers me so much that my husband, who wants to be there for my son, almost can't because my son's father is jealous, when in all reality he should be happy this child he has called a "burden" and a "mistake" is finally going to be out of his life. now all of a sudden he doesn't want it that way!


I became a stepfather this past year of two boys, but my wife feels that I should not discipline the boys because it can cause problems with her ex-husband and her. It is as if he is just waiting for a chance to cause trouble. What exactly is my role? Thanks.


I have a girlfriend with a son under age 5. She spends most of her time with him and college classes. The child was born in an unplanned romance in college that was premature and unfortunately did not go the distance. There were too many obstacles: a mismatch, lack of maturity, no money, poor economy, insincere motivation, etc. They split up, then she met me.

All I want to say is I never expect to be the "real father" of the boy. I never will be a replacement for the biological father. However, I encourage the father/child relationship 100 percent. They still have it, and I think it's great. In early childhood, I had friends and relatives who never knew their fathers. One of my best friends had a biological father who got his mom pregnant as a teen. The lame father didn't even sign the birth certificate for my friend who was in agony about it years later as an adolescent.

I had a cousin with extreme emotional problems and bizarre adolescent behavior caused by an absent biological father. He died from an alcohol-related accident. He was a troubled man. So I know the biological father must maintain a relationship to prevent problems like that even if the mom remarries.

So I know that the father-son bond must be revered. I honestly am glad they did not have an abortion even though they knew they were a mismatch. Abortion is very common in these college "romances" that don't go the distance. At least they chose to have the son. I'm biased towards children.

As for me, although I can never be the real father, I would like to give the boy siblings - my own children. I think that would help mitigate the "father" versus "stepfather" versus "biological son" complications if the stepson suddenly has a real biological brother or sister from the "fake father." The brother-sister bond or brother-brother bond can be very strong even if the fathers were not the same.

Of course, this is still in early planning. I'm not rushing into it. I know the divorce rate is about 50 percent. Step families are the fastest growing in America. Most marriages don't go the distance. It's like football in the NCAA Southeastern Conference - most teams aren't able to go undefeated in the SEC. Most marriages don't work out - the analogy is legitimate. The world may as well get used to "stepfamilies" that are extremely common. Divorce and infidelity are rampant. Take a look at your friends list on facebook. Ten to twenty years from now those "young couples" may no longer be together and may have stepchildren.


anon58297 is correct. Children never accept a "Step" no matter how "good" he or she is. As a "Step" I had to deal with this for years. Being a "step" is truly the most thankless job one can do, and I would never do it again.

Have your own children, as anon58297 says. There is a real bond there, and it's not caused by guilt trips.


I have a two year old and an ex husband. My current boyfriend hates that i have been married before and have a daughter. He can't seem to get past it and still wants to be with me. Every chance he gets he tells me how much he hates my daughter because she is from my ex-husband. what do i do?


My wife just gained custody of her daughter in China. I am very happy for them both and now I have a new stepdaughter. We haven't met yet due to my job so when I come back from being at sea for four months I will have new stepdaughter. I thought it good that the Mom and daughter have had a month to reconnect and get used to each other again after a long and painful absence.

To top this all off, my wife's mother just passed away so mom is back in China dealing with that. The step daughter is staying with friends who have a daughter same age and speaks chinese and english. Tonight at the airport the daughter and I meet. The two girls are going to stay with me until Mom gets home (three days).

I speak very limited Chinese and my step daughter speaks limited english. I think we may laugh about this some day but I am pretty excited, to say the least, and a bit scared.


I am a mother of two boys, one a teenager and another in first grade. I am engaged to a kind man, who claims to love my children, but never takes the initiative to actively play with them or plan something fun with them. He says, "It's not his nature."

He is also very judgmental of my parenting skills and of my teenage son, calling him lazy, not motivated, etc. It hurts my heart, and I cannot bear to be near him when he makes these statement.

We are engaged, and I do not know if I want to marry a man who has already labeled my children, and makes no effort to help them in a positive and consistent manner. I am looking for some helpful advice. Thanks!


Don't do it. I am a step father and I can't stand my oldest step daughter. She is 19 years old and is a spoiled brat. My advice would be to find someone without kids.


I am a mother of a four year old. My ex and I split up about a year and a half ago. My son is very attached to his dad, and his dad has always been there for him.

I recently married another man who has no kids, and he is trying to form a relationship with my son. Sometimes they play together and enjoy time to themselves, but sometimes it seems like they can't be left alone for a second or they will start disagreeing or an argument will come about.

I understand that it's hard for my husband to deal with a child who's not his own and who develops tantrums and attitudes here and there. But I also understand my son and his mood swings. I feel that this is affecting my relationship and I don't know what to do.

The hardest part is that I just found out I'm pregnant, and I'm scared that this will be harder on my son. I fear that he will feel competition between himself and the baby. And I am so scared that my husband will treat them indifferent.

I need some advice please. Thanks, WC


Am soon marrying a very wonderful lady, who also happens to be my very first girlfriend but has a daughter of three years from a former relationship.

i have no children and have never been in any romantic relationship before. at first it seemed so difficult to adjust and love this child fully and fears of her former boy friend, but i committed it to God how i needed to love this love and her mother alike and there am.

i just love the child so much and we have lots of fun together.


I am a 22 year old man and i met a women who has a very young child. We have been together for some time now and a several months ago I was introduced to the little man.

I unfortunately do not have the ability to have any children of my own, a thought that haunts me and will the rest of my life. Her son though, has become the very core of my life, meaning more to me than anything in the world.

The boy's "real" dad, if that's what he is called, left his mother, has been in and out of jail for multiple years, and seems to want nothing to do with the boy. Like in comment number two, the only reason he comes around is to cause pain and discomfort.

All this I am ready for, due to the fact that I will be a "Step" father soon. I will be proud to adopt him and he already tells me that I am his father.


I am a mother of four children living at home and have been an off and on single mother for twenty years. I have married a man (great and very patient) who has no children.

Nothing could have prepared any of us with the experiences that we go through every day. I sometimes wish there was a book that could assist my husband because really it isn't all his or the children's fault -- just the lack of experience.

With all that I know as a mother and a parent it just doesn't come overnight and being a step parent isn't the easiest job. It might even be harder then being a parent only. I learned long ago to not judge, but hate seeing miscommunication and misunderstandings on both sides.

Time is all I say to everyone, heals and teaches at the same time.


I'm only 16 years old but you have to see it from her perspective. i have a step dad and he's very nice but we hate it when step dads try too hard were not going to 100 percent accept you.

no matter what, there is a bond with our real fathers. That bond happens before were even born don't ask how because I don't know, but we do we may call you dad but we are being nice and respectful.

I'm not trying to be mean. It sounds like it but I'm not sorry if this offends you but no one even thinks about how the kids are really feeling but it does have to be hard for you. I'm sorry you didn't have any kids of your own.


I became an instant Father of four about 15 years ago. I was blessed because the three youngest children were 1 and the twins just born. The only child that I am a "step" father to is the oldest girl who was about nine. To the other three I am just plain old "Dad".

I have never fathered children of my own but I have certainly raised a few as my own. I bristle at the "step" in step parent. I do not see the biological as being very important. In fact it seems to me that many biological parents are terrible. They just got pregnant and are stuck. A parent who chooses to marry into a family has made a choice. No different than the parent who adopts.

My own father married my mother when she had a daughter who was very young. They proceeded to have another daughter together and then a few years later, me. My father treated and loved us all the same. I have since had this thought of him. One child chosen, one child planned and one child an accident (me of course). My oldest sister and middle loved our father every bit as much as I.

My children’s biological father is around and does not care to see the kids, but has over the years. It seems his main interest is in causing trouble and hurting my wife as much as he can. He spouts off about how he was treated but really he caused every bit of it with his abuse.

I don’t know why I am writing this, maybe to just simply say that I am a father and have four wonderful children that I love with all my heart. My wife gave to me her most sacred gift, the gift of her children and her belief in me as their father. During all our years together, even in the worst of arguments, she has never once said or implied that I am not their father, she is the real reason that I am a real father.


I have been a stepfather now for approx 17 years, it is not easier now than it was 17 years ago. In this relationship I have no children of my own because of a comment by her daughter not too long after we committed to each other. She said she did not want her mom to have any children with me because then she would get nothing, she thought I would give all the attention to my child along with gifts ( jewelery etc.) She did not know me well. I am not like that as I tried to explain and now it is too late to have children. This is something that tortures me everyday, some days worse than others.

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