STEP DOWN OR STEP UP

 

I come to you today from a point of view that I don’t hear too much about, and also most biological dads don’t like to confront. I am the man that dates your ex, and she has your kids. I am the one who now sees your kids on a consistent basis and this worries most dads, especially the ones that care about their kid’s well-being.  But I am also a rare commodity with being a single man with no kids of his own.  This has given me a perspective that can benefit most men that are thinking about being in a serious relationship with a woman who has kids and with a dad that cares.

Here are three standard steps you should consider.In no way would I say this is expert advice, but could provide you with a sense of reasoning that most should contemplate.  And all that should be considered is not only your happiness but the overall happiness of all families involved.

Step One:  Decide

To you single guys with no kids and dating women with kids… If you’re just there for the fun, then don’t get involved with the children. Don’t feel obligated, just because you’re tapping that, doesn’t mean that you need to act like a dad.  Just because she calls you daddy doesn’t mean you are daddy.  And if you’re not ready, don’t force yourself to be ready because that will not end well.  You might think you’re a stand up guy, and you might be. But if you’re not ready, standing up to that fact will make you a real stand up guy. The reason they call a new man in the relationship a step father, is because you have to really step up to do the job. Now if you get her pregnant, ready or not here comes the responsibility.

Step Two: Know Your Role

If you feel that you can be a man that can take on the responsibility of raising kids and being a good role model, you best be sure the mom feels you are the man for the job.  It doesn’t matter how you feel about the kids, or even how the kids feel about you.  If she doesn’t like you for that role, then enjoy the ride because it’s just a matter of time before the ride comes to an end.  Now over time, she may change her mind, but how much time, effort and money are you willing to waste if it doesn’t pan out? You may never change her mind and you need to okay with that.  Because if it doesn’t pan out, you need to be able to walk away and accept that it’s over.  And you can’t hold anything against her or her reasons. That’s just how it is.

But let’s say you’re willing to take on the responsibility and she sees you as the man that can fill that role, but the kids don’t like you.  If they don’t like you because you’re not their father, she will see past that because she has already determined that you can handle that, or she doesn’t care.  Now if they don’t like you because you’re an asshole then that’s on you and her, because she should have seen that.  But you being an asshole is for another day.  But regardless of the fact if the kids like you or not, there are two things you will need, in my eyes to be a good father figure.  One, there needs be respect.  You need to have respect for her and the kids plus the kids and her need to have respect for you.  Of course you have to earn it and give it to receive it. And two, you need to have authority, especially from the mother.  You need to be able to have the authority to be able to say yes and no, along with the authority to be able to give and enforce discipline.  I’m not talking about abuse and or spanking but all levels of discipline will have to be discussed with the mother.  And if you cannot come to terms with at least both of these qualities with her to create a family philosophy, then you need to walk away.

Step Three:  Man to Man

This step is for both men going into a relationship with kids and for the dads that have to face the fact that there might be another man raising your kids.  First single guys, if you are serious about having a relationship with kids that are not yours and along with a father that cares about his kids, you need to have a man to man talk with the father.  You need to let them know that you are not perfect, just like he’s not perfect, but that you have the best interest for the kids in mind. Of course you’re going to make mistakes, of course things may be said or handle wrong, but explain that you will work hard to create an environment that will benefit the family as best you can.  You also have to be okay with all legal and or mother father accommodations that have been made.

To the dads, first you need to accept the fact that the relationship is over with the mother of your children and new life will occur for her and your kids without you.  You are not there for whatever reason and cannot control someone else’s life. If there is a disagreement with the new guy, talk it out. How does bringing more drama to the situation help both sides?  Get the facts first before you go too far off the rails, and then address the situation. Don’t always assume what the kids are saying to be 100% true, especially if they are not getting their way.  Because we all know kids, at times, can be manipulative and also don’t always hear or tell the entire story.  The main goal is to have respect between two men and their families for the hopes of a better life. The least you two can be is civil with each other. 

Subsequently these steps can also be considered for those men with their own kids going into a new relationships with other kids involved. Because those men have to take into account that three or more families can be involve with ex’s, new relationships and multiple fathers. Again I do realize that there is not a cookie cutter way of dealing with these sensitive situations but what I am trying to provide are some concepts to consider if you ever find yourself in these situations.

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2 thoughts on “STEP DOWN OR STEP UP

  1. Love your content!
    Question: How do you handle a teenager that does crazy stuff to get attention and immediately blows you off as soon as you give it?

    I remember being mad about not getting my way and acting out. However, I found an outlet to focus my frustrations (the gym). Both my teenage daughters haven’t even tried to figure out what’s really bothering them because getting grounded for breaking simple house rules doesn’t mean you go and start hurting your body.
    Question: How can you approach this situation other than a parent that can’t understand the logic behind the actions?

    1. Carlos,

      Thanks for your comment and questions. It’s hard enough to get into a woman’s mind and trying to get into a teenage girls mind can be even trickier. From my experience with women and teenagers, sometimes you have hear what’s not being said. That is hard for most us men when we like to know what’s going on with direct language. Now I can’t say what you should do, all I can do is speak to what I would do if I’m faced with the questions you posed.

      Lashing out for attention and then blowing me off would make me want to flip the script and give attention to them before they lash out. Being a part of the attention instead reacting to the attention would put me more in control. Talk and listen to them, find an interest that I can bond with, and spend some one on one time together. In their minds it may show them that I am interested with the person they are becoming and not just interested in disciplining and forcing them into what I want them to be. (Kind of like when you were getting to know their mother, I’m sure you did some things that you didn’t like to do to get to know and bond with her.) And while I get to know them, I would try to also speak with them to understand their logic. Ask why they feel they need to hurt themselves in order to resolve a feeling or an issue. At the same time maybe explain the logic that I have and come together with an understanding. But I would try not to make it feel like an intervention but more like a bonding experience. This would mean that I would have to share a little about myself with them too.

      For me logic is an order of events in a process. Everyone understands logic and reasoning differently. That’s why you get a list of instructions when putting something together so that you don’t have to think about the process. But even then those instructions and our own logic can disagree. So the better I understand their thought process, the better equipped I am to understand and maybe counter the issue.

      One last thought. A parent is to guide, teach, provide, protect, discipline and love. A friend is to talk, listen, suggest, share, encourage, understand and love. Most teenagers (hell people in general) confide more in a friend than a family member. I’m not saying I have to be a friend instead of a parent but to use my friendship skills when listening to what they have to say. I would try to find the balance when to be a parent and when to be a “friend”, but always having the parent outweigh the friend. And also for them to understand what you do as a parent is always from love. Communication would be the best practice for any relationship I would really want to improve and sustain.

      Here is an easy reading aid that can help people wanting to become a better listener and communicator.
      Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

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