For those of you that stopped by, I’m sure you fall into 2 distinct camps: those of you who would love to become a stepfather, and of course there is the complete opposite whereas you have no desire whatsoever to become a stepfather.
This blog will deal primarily with the first camp.
Based on experience, here is a list of my 9 reasons why I don’t want to be a stepfather:
- You rarely, if ever, have full control of the relationship
- You may deny yourself the ability to raise a biological child
- Stepchildren do not respect stepfathers
- You may becaught in the middle
- If things don’t work out you may be financially responsible
- Your stepchild may try and sabotage your relationship
- Unconditional love becomes conditional
- Children naturally want to please their real parents
- A stepdad may never know when to speak up
Clearly, there’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take a moment and look deeper into what this all means.
When you are in a relationship with your biological child, there is no disputing that as a father you have a lot to say in the relationship – you can make up new rules, implement family planning to name a few.
1. Lack Of Full Control Over The Relationship:
That said, however, when you are in a relationship with someone’s mom that feeling of freedom doesn’t really exist.
It’s not that uncommon to hear that you might be the third wheel with all your decisions and hard work being overridden by the other members of the family.
For instance, when I was in a similar situation I found it extremely difficult to plan things out because my stepdaughter would manipulate her mother to go against my decision; as a mom, she was so focused on pleasing her daughter that she was not aware how bad she was being manipulated.
2. You May Deny Yourself The Ability To Raise A Biological Child:
It should go without saying that not every dad falls within this category, but clearly, there are some who do.
Let me put it another way: when you throw yourself in a relationship with an already-made family, many stepdads become so consumed in the relationship where the thought or idea of raising their own biological child becomes a distant third.
Worse yet, because your new love already has a child of her own, there is a strong possibility that she will already be content and may not want another child. Here are the top 3 warning signs (if you have any more signs feel free to leave them in the comment box below.
It’s important to be aware of the warning signs if this situation applies to you.
- She keeps saying maybe later on.
- Makes all sorts of excuses.
- When the subject is brought up she shuts down mentally and refuses to discuss the topic.
If you sense ANY of these warning signs my advice is that if you’re serious about settling down in the family life then you should turn the other way and run for the hills.
3. Stepchildren Do Not Respect Stepfathers:
With the few exceptional cases, you hear about here or there, for the most part, stepchildren do not respect their stepfathers in comparison to their biological dads.
Look at it one of two ways:
- If you are a stepfather and they already have a relationship with their biological dad then you naturally will take 2nd or 3rd place;
- If they don’t know or get along with their biological dad then there is a good chance that they will resent you – secretly or otherwise – because they are missing the relationship with their real dad.
Sorry if this sounds pessimistic, however, we can’t ignore basic psychology on this one. Which brings me to my next point…
4. You May Be Caught In The Middle:
This may be hard to swallow but despite your best attempts, you will almost certainly fall second to their biological dad.
I know, all those days spend watching baseball together, the long drives and dinner out may never be good enough to win their heart; and it doesn’t really matter if they are a dead-beat dad or not, instinctively, kids naturally want to please their parents.
I’m not suggesting that you throw in the towel and say what’s the point if I can never win out.
I can understand your frustration – and I felt that before – but remember raising a child is not a competition. Rather, as a stepdad, you should be encouraging them to have a relationship with their dad as your role is one of support and understanding.
5. If things don’t Work Out You May Be Financially Responsible:
This one is a real bummer…
Let’s say you pour your entire heart and soul into a relationship and, by all accounts, doing the right thing to ensure the relationship lasts.
At first, it’s going really well, your already made family and yourself go on well-planned vacations, cherish every bonding opportunity, and throughout the year’s things seem great.
Until the unthinkable happens…
Your relationship through no fault of your own ends abruptly when she announces that you’ve been replaced by another man.
Cheating or no cheating, it doesn’t end there…
Not only has the relationship ended, but now your on the hook for child support for a child that isn’t even biologically yours.
6. Your Stepchild May Try And Sabotage The Relationship:
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that not everyone will like you or approve of anything you do. And the truth of the matter is that the majority of stepchildren do not approve of their stepfathers.
I know it’s a tough pill to swallow, but if you embark on joining in a ready-made family there is a strong chance that this same relationship may be sabotaged either blatantly or secretively.
My advice to you is that if you do insist on welcoming a family as your own be prepared to heed the warning signs. And what exactly are these warning signs? I’m sure there are many, however, these are the most obvious ones that you should never ignore:
- Your stepchild always talks to her mother in private and keeps quiet when you enter the room.
- Your stepchild refuses to engage with you.
- They blatantly tell you that you are not liked or wanted.
And well there are probably many more things to watch out for, especially sign number 3 should set you straight and force you to critically think about the relationship.
7. Unconditional Love Becomes Conditional:
When your child is biological yours there exists an unconditional love between parent and child. However, when you have stepchildren – especially if they are much older – the notion of unconditional love becomes null and void.
Sure, you most likely have valid feeliongd for your stepchild. However, very few stepdads – if any – will develop that unconditional feeling that would override the natural feelings for their biological son or daughter.
There are exceptions to this rule…
I will concede that if you are a stepfather to a newborn baby and you raise this baby like it’s your won then naturally this baby wil lbe someone who you probably cal your own.
One caveat though: Although no one wil dispute the unconditional love you have for this baby, when he or she gets older be prepared for them to naturally want to seek out their father. It’s instinctual and you should be supportive of this 100%.
8. Children Naturally Want To Please Their Real Parents:
Despite your best attempts, children want to naturally please their parents. Whether their biological dad is in the picture or not, this fact is something that you should recognize before heading into a ready-made family.
Let’s assume their biological father is in the picture. The absolute worst thing that you could do is feel the need to compete with them. What will end up happening is that you will ultimately feel frustrated and a growing sense of resentment is sure to ensue.
If you really value the relationship then the best thing that you could do is let nature take its course, and by being the best supportive mentor you will have a much better chance at winning them over and ultimately gain their respect.
9. You Are Never In Full Control:
One of the most difficult things to accept is that when you have been invited to a ready-made family, you must expect that you will never be in full control of the relationship – or family for that matter.
What exactly do I mean?
Areas such as disciplining, critical decisions such as moving, and other important aspects of family life means that you will generally feel like a third wheel.
This is particularly true when it comes to matters of discipline and punishment.
In this regard, you may be sandwhiched between both the mother and your stepchild.
On one hand, the stepchild may scream at you claiming that you’re not his real dad and you have no right.
And on the other hand, their mother may feel pressured to respond by sticking up for them and validating that you actually don’t have any right to execute any form of punishment.
When you factor all the variables that could go wrong you most likely will end up in one big mess!
As you could see there are many things to unpack here, and although I listed 9 reasons why I don’t want to be a stepfather, the truth is that there are most likely many more reasons that I have not thought of in my own past experience as one.
If you are an aspiring stepdad or a would-be father looking to guide and raise a family then realize that I have no intention of discouraging you.
After all, we live in a world where there is a lack of fathers who refuse to step up and mentor children and turn them into successful adults.
Rather, I want to prepare you for the realities of becoming a stepdad and what it takes for you to succeed in this very important role.
Instead of trying to compete with their biological dad, realize that your primary role is one of a supportive step-parent who should compliment them.
In other words, the day where you stop competing and accept the way things ought to be is the day where your relationship with them will truly begin to flourish.
Are you a stepdad? If so, I would love to hear your thought in the comment section below.