Many of you know about my children Briana and Joseph. And, if you follow me on this blog or any other social media outlet I have then you also know that I am not the biological father to either child. One child knows and has a great relationship with their dad and the other only knows me as dad.

I was never one to say “stepdaughter or godson” when I speak of them because I know my place…which was learned…as a dad in their life. But just like becoming a dad via birth, there is a life change when you marry someone with a child. And this is where I’m going to be speaking from.

I have 10 points that I want to go over and I will mention them a couple at a time.

  1.  Don’t Panic

Being a Dad looks good from the outside, but when you get down to it, it is a 24/7 job that consumes you for the rest of your life. And the weight of that when you think about it, is a bit unnerving, but its ok.

Really it is.

What we as Dad’s have to realize is there’s no manual for children, whether born to you, adapted or step-child. All are different and all need to be reared based on their individual needs and character.

Side Bar…No child is the same nor do they grow and mature at the same levels. It is very important with each child that you not try to rear children the same. Trust me it doesn’t work.

Is that difficult yes? Can it be done? Absolutely!

When I married, I did so to what we used to call an “instant family”. My new bride had a 5 year old from a previous marriage. So the feedings, changing diapers and all that was not something I had to deal with. So I didn’t have the initial panic…until Joseph came into our lives two days after he was born. So what I missed in the first five years of my daughter’s life I experienced with my son. But I also went into panic mode when I found myself having to discipline another man’s child. We’ll discuss that later.

So don’t panic.

You will make mistakes.

Mistakes that will hurt you and your child, but over the child’s life, if you parent to the best of your ability, love, care, protect, and instruct them for their betterment the mistakes will be outweighed by what you have given.

  1. Don’t’ take it personal

Again, my view comes from a step dad’s perspective and as a father, or father figure to another man’s child. There may come an instance that you may deem personal. Trust me it really isn’t you…It’s just circumstance.

I will never forget when I first heard my daughter call me by my first name. I was livid! The nerve of this girl disrespecting me like that. It took my wife a while to calm me down but she explained that Briana’s natural father didn’t like her calling me dad in his presence. After I thought about that, I came to the conclusion I probably would have done the exact same thing. I couldn’t blame Briana, nor her dad. It was just a case of circumstance that we were all a part of.

I have seen this happen but I can’t say this was part of my reality, but sometimes children will pit parents against each other as well as two sets of parents. That’s just a part of childhood I’ve seen. Again not personal.

Also realize that if you marry with children it’s the wife that chooses you…not the ex-husband/ex-boyfriend/baby daddy. They don’t have to like you or agree with you, but if both of you have the common interest of the child that will be the string that keeps the calm and helps the growth of the child.

until then…

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