Regular readers here know I put a great deal of emphasis on the importance of family bonding. Bonding is one of they greatest key’s to Stepdad success. But it’s not just about bonding with the kids. For Stepdad’s whose wife’s ex is still in the picture, bonding efforts can extend beyond the walls of the home.
Stepdads willing to put in a little extra work can build or strengthen the working relationship with the biological father. The holidays create a flurry of activity but this busy season also offers a great opportunity to remind the bio-dad you’re not the enemy.
Look for opportunities to invite him along on your family outings during the holidays. The fun things we do with the kids, like ice skating, holiday programs at school or a trip to see Santa are a great way to include him. You can also ask him for his input when you’re gift shopping for the kiddo. Ask him to go the the mall with you. Guys, the truth is most of us don’t like to shop. Misery loves company! He’ll appreciate that you value his opinion abut his kid’s likes and dislikes.
Look for things you can do away from the home. It’ll be easier to relax if these events are out in public. If you avoid your homes no one will feel the other guy has a home-field advantage. When you invite the bio-dad to events with the kids, the kids gets to see the parenting group working together in a friendly way. They’ll see you in a positive light. And the bio-dad’s reminded you aren’t the enemy.
Don’t worry if he doesn’t accept the invites. He’s busy this time of year too. Extend another invite if you see the opportunity. He’ll appreciate the gesture and he’ll see you’re a good guy who’s not out to replace him. Your good intentions will probably help you skate into a better position with him. When the parents have good rapport the kids win.