Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why Step Fathers Must Bond with their Step Sons
By Rachel Miller-Bradshaw

A colleague of mines was telling me about his 15 year old nephew who now lives in a group home.  He told me that his nephew’s father isn’t around but his sister did remarry years ago and has since given birth to two more children.   He told me how his nephew’s stepfather would administer strict and aggressive discipline when he misbehaved but failed to spend time with him to develop a loving relationship. 

Then my colleague gave his own assessment of his sister’s current family dynamic.  He said to me, “I told my sister when my nephew was younger to make sure that her husband was bonding with his stepson to establish a genuine relationship between the two.  She didn’t make sure it happened.”

Lately I have been hearing a lot of stories of boys still rebelling in their households even if there is a father figure there. What I am specifically addressing is boys who grow up in homes where there mother has remarried.  What then happens is a battle between a grown man, and a boy, that believes he is the man of the house, and it’s all-out war.  This leaves the mothers in a comprised position. 

The age of the boy when the stepfather marries their mother is a major factor on how the stepson-stepfather relationship in a lot of instances will blossom.  If the boy is really young and doesn’t really know his father and the step father asserts himself and takes on the role from day one this could fill any psychological abandonment issues or unfamiliarity that the child has.  The step father and mother are the adults in the situation and have to do all they can to ensure that the child feels loved and acknowledged by his new stepfather and also develops the respect for the new “father” figure that is now in the household.  If the boy’s father is co-parenting with the mother, a discussion needs to be had where all three adults establish positions and the real father and mother must let their son know that you have a bonus father that you must respect and listen to also.

I will say this.  Mothers must allow their husbands to parent their sons from previous relationships.  The bigger picture is that boys needs fathers to raise them so the mothers must take a step back if they want their boys to get the full lessons on being disciplined, being effective, and manhood that the stepfather inherits teaching to the boys in the household. 

Stepfathers must also understand that they have a responsibility to step up and raise their stepson putting the same effort as they do with their biological children.  It’s very important that the stepdads of the world know their duty.  A substantial percentage of families are comprised of children from previous relationships.  Since the traditional family is believed to be one of the factors that socialize boys, stepfathers must fully embrace that stepsons despite biologically belonging are their responsibility and fall under their parenting.  Their progress in life falls just as much on them as the biological parents.

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