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Step Parenting Difficulties – The First Year

step parenting

Step parenting is enjoyable when things are moving along as expected but when things change, because children change, it is not always easy.  Here is how I would summarize my first year of step parenting.

Before Marriage

It is very difficult for any child to see mom or dad with another person.  They will sometimes show you a fake happy face and pretend to be happy with the situation, but that will only last for so long.  Eventually a breakdown is inevitable.  Regardless how long ago the divorce was, your step child will always hope and wish that mom and dad will get back together.  In my case dad was already re-married, but my step child still held hope that dad and his new wife would not work out and eventually mom and dad would get back together.  This was five years after mom and dad divorced!  Because of this hope, step kids will act out with the intention of pushing their step parents away.  We had many late nights of frustration.  But because mom and I understood that there are new feelings brought on by our situation, we took it easy and let the child get whatever they needed out of their system, and eventually things went back to normal.  Step parenting can be difficult, but only as difficult as you make it.  After marriage, step parenting changes because now the kids see this as long term and will now start confiding in you.

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First Year of Step Parenting

The best way I can describe the first year of step parenting is it is like riding a roller coaster.  Most of the times we ride up the hill, things are going great, and I feel respected.  Then WHAM!  Our relationship just went from great to frustration, and because I am new to step parenting I sometimes react too quick.  What I have learned during my step parenting experience is that I need to take a quick mental checkup before reacting.  Always remember that the kids went through a very dramatic life experience and a better parent will teach how to keep cool under pressure rather than show signs of frustration.

Even with some frustration and difficulties of my step parenting path I chose to take, I am a happy and blessed to have a wonderful wife and two step children in my life.   I would not change any of our past, and look forward to building a great future.

Have a great day!

Step Father – Tips That Work

step father

I am eight months into my new role as a step father.  I have a twelve year old step son and a ten year old step daughter.  I am not one to brag normally, but I think I have done an extraordinary job as a step father.  Today I will share with you some tips that will help you be a great step father.

Step Father Tip #1: Figure Out What Is Missing And Fill In

For me it was easy to see what was missing because the kids made it very clear that they did not like doing things by themselves.  Sometimes it is just as simple as sitting next to them while they do something else.  For example one kid likes to play X-Box and I will just sit with him and talk while he plays a game.  What does this mean?  Maybe their parents, in the midst of their divorce, forgot that what kids want most is to spend quality time with them.   This is one of the simplest things that I do as a step father that I know they appreciate tremendously.

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Step Father Tip #2: Add Laughter

From the beginning I knew one simple way to gain respect as a step father would be to find ways to add laughter to the kids’ lives. I knew that not only would this help our relationship, but it would also help the kids.  For example, one of my step kids and I watch funny videos on YouTube. There is not a better way for a step father to bond with the kids than laughing so hysterically that tears are running down your face.  Every now and again we search for videos that we have not yet seen and it ends up being such a wonderful part of my day.  Do whatever you can think of because laughter and smiling plays a major factor in everyone’s lives.

Step Father Tip #3: Get Interested In The Kids Activities

All kids have activities that they enjoy.  My step kids love soccer.  Right now they both practice twice a week and have at least two games each on the weekends.  Whatever your step kid’s interests are, make sure you learn about them and take part in these activities.  If you pretend to take an interest it will not work because the kids will read your body language.  I went from never watching a soccer game in my life to honestly enjoying watching every game they play.  I can see it in both kids that they greatly appreciate me being at their soccer games and are proud that they have a step father that is genuinely interested in their activities.

If you want to be a successful step father please do whatever you can to steer the kids in the best path possible because you will have an impact on their lives.  Let’s make that impact positive!

Effects Of Divorce On Children

effects of divorce on children

Below are four effects of divorce on children that I have experienced.  There are probably many other effects of divorce on children, but I will be discussing the four that I have experienced: sadness, attitude, withdrawal, and temper.  I will also provide solutions to solve these effects of divorce on children.

Effects Of Divorce On Children #1: Sadness

Sadness is one of the effects of divorce on children that I have experienced.  I mean, how can it not be.  Just think about how difficult it is that the two most important people in your life are splitting up.  How is it even possible to not cry yourself to sleep every night.  After a few years, the sadness will either get worse or get better.  It is the job of the parents to make sure that the sadness gets replaced by happiness.  To be honest this is one of the easiest of the effects to fix.  All you have to do is to show your child more times of happiness than sadness.  It’s that simple.  The more happy times your child has, the less time he/she has to think about sadness.  It is time to buck up Mr. or Ms. parent, take charge and show your child what happiness is!

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Effects Of Divorce On Children #2: Attitude

A child’s attitude is the second effect of divorce on children I am writing about.  The children’s attitudes will change because the divorced parents attitudes change, plus if they gain a step parent, the step parent will also have an effect on the children.  It is up to you, the parent, to change the child’s attitude.  Lead by example is what I was always told.  A bad attitude is a characteristic that can be changed very easily by leading by example.  You cannot fake attitude and you cannot pretend to be positive, because body language speaks louder than words.  First you must change your attitude to a positive attitude and then your children will follow your lead and do the same.  A positive attitude is essential to succeeding in life, so please, start today if you haven’t already and BE POSITIVE!

Effect Of Divorce On Children #3: Withdrawal

Here is the third effects of divorce on children, and one that is not as common as the others, but just as important to change immediately.  The kids your child plays with is a factor. If all the child’s friends parents are not divorced, your child will withdraw him or herself because he/she will not think the friend understands his/her situation.  I honestly believe this is another situation where a child counselor/therapist/coach would help, but is not necessary.  There are some good books that you can read that will help but essentially someone will need to talk to your child and determine the cause of the withdrawal and then talk through how not being withdrawn is better than being withdrawn.

Effects Of Divorce On Children #4: Temper

Temper is the last of the effects of divorce on children that I will be writing about.  Temper, in general, is usually caused by bottling up issues that are negatively effecting us.  Just think out it, if dad does something that a child doesn’t agree with, it will be difficult for that child to talk to mom about this issue.  Especially if mom and dad are not getting along.  Can you see a problem here?  A child trusts mom and dad, but after mom and dad the trust level drops off considerably.  The end result is the child will decide to not talk to anyone.  The longer a child holds in these feeling, the more frustrated he/she will feel, and after being frustrated all the time it will lead to a temper.  Of all the effects of divorce on children, this is the one that can be long lasting if not put in check.  The best solutions for temper is to talk to others.  Here are my suggested options for talking to others in order: a counselor or therapist, a school counselor or a “kids in the middle” group.  Unfortunately a lot of parents do not believe in having their kids talk to others because they feel they are admitting their kid has problems.  They do if they have a temper, and they need someone to talk to where they can talk openly about anything and everything.

I hope my suggestions and insights help you.  Even though there are many negative effects of divorce on children, they can be changed to positive with a little hard work and understanding that and all starts with you, the parent.  Be positive, understand if your child needs additional help, and keep smiling.

Have a great day!