Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stepfathers and Father's Day

Father's Day is just around the corner. So, what's it ging to be? Will stepfather be honored in any way or will he be chopped liver?

One of the challenges for stepchildren honoring their stepfather on Father's Day is that it feels like absolute betrayal. "He's not my father!" Many stepfamily situations place the children in conflict as one bio parent lives with them and one doesn't. This post is for the kind of stepfamily where the children struggle with the conflict of living with a man who is not their father and not living with a man who is theri father.

Typically, the stepfather is not going to require or expect anything on Father's Day from his stepchildren because he knows his place as "not the father." However, he is investing time, money, his heart, his emotions, sharing a house, supplying everyone with resources etc. He is being fatherish in some ways.

How can stepchildren honor their stepfather without betraying their own father?

1. Certainly honor the bio father appropriately.

2. Honor the stepfather as a stepfather, not as the father.

It is a major step in the minds of children to make the distinction that a stepfather is one role and father is another.

3. Mom, do not force the issue. It is not the end of the world if the child does not choose to honor the stepfather on Father's Day. Merely planting the seed, the idea that stepfather can be honored without it being a betrayal of father is a good start.

Holidays like Father's Day are good opportunites to create psychological space for a stepfather to become part of the new normal.

No comments: