1. They don’t force love
Good stepdads understand that no matter how kind, nice and completely awesome they happen to be your kids did not choose them – you did. It’s tempting in stepfamilies for the adults to want the kids, step-siblings and stepparents to all love each other. But, successful stepdads know you can’t require relative strangers, who did not choose each other, to love each other and they don’t have any expectations that this will happen.
2. They enjoy the back seat
Research (lots and lots of research) shows that part of being a successful stepfather is being willing to take a back seat with respect to discipline. Over time and depending on the age of your children, you may begin to share the discipline load. However in the beginning, successful stepdads accept that you, as mom, need to remain the primary disciplinarian of your children.
3. They are kind and firm
Children do best with authoritative parenting. The type of parenting that is ‘kind and firm.’ In fact, ‘kind and firm’ parenting has been shown to be a major factor in helping children adjust to things like divorce and remarriage. Finding a partner who already has this type of parenting style before you meet them is a big bonus in the stepdad department.
4. They like to stand out from the crowd
Stepfamilies aren’t the same as other family types and won’t fit into a first family mold no matter how hard you try! The general public’s understanding of stepfamilies can also be downright miniscule. Stepfamilies are often times seen as atypical or second best by neighbors, coaches and teachers. Smart stepdads accept that stepfamilies play by a different set of rules and are happy to stand out from the crowd. Great stepdads help support you in bringing your family together in a way that is comfortable and safe rather than trying to become a family that others think you should be.