photo by CarbonNYC
I know there are all kinds of “blendings” out there. Please don’t think I’m ignoring your situation in favor of focusing on another. I believe the unique challenges in witnessing the gospel to stepchildren can be universally applied.
I think stepfathers must have the tougher job of step parenting, if they’re to follow biblical guidelines for raising their children. Expected to be in authority, the hand is often played against them from the start. If too much authority is assumed from the beginning there is often an immediate backlash of rebellion from the child. If too little, a scenario is set up for disrespect (my observations have been primarily of stepfathers with their daughters).
However, the father is to lead his family in all things spiritual. How does a step dad find the proper middle ground in order to be a vessel for God’s message of salvation for his family? I asked my husband this question, and he lent me some of his insight.
Lead with a vision. Determine that your role as a stepfather is as a missionary to your children with all the incumbent goals that come with that. Any missionary who goes off to the field does so with a plan and an end goal in mind. The process is what counts, but first a vision must be in place to guide the process.
Lead with a servant’s heart. This doesn’t mean allowing the child to rule the roost, but rather that you see yourself as a humble conduit for the Lord. Everything you do will be for the benefit of your family.
Lead as a facilitator. Come alongside your stepchild as a guiding force rather than calling out encouragement or instructions from the sidelines. Make things happen more as a supporter than as a manager.
Lead by example. Let your stepchild catch you reading your Bible, praying, talking about how God has revealed Himself to you lately. Let your stepchild know you are praying for him or her. Ask to pray with him. Honor your wife with respect, repent when you are wrong, forgive when you’ve been wronged.
Lead with patience. In all honesty, all the above points would apply to any father, but none more than this one would apply to the stepfather. Time will be needed to make the transition into a role of authority. Time will be needed to connect in relationship with your stepchild. Time will be needed to let situations play out and trust and confidence to develop.
Stepparenting, above all else, is a process. Peaks and valleys may be exaggerated until finally arriving at the plateau, but if biblical principles are at the core of the process and if it is Christ at the center of the home, the relationship between you and your stepchild will be blessed.
Thursday, coping with a hostile or opposing ex-spouse. Let others know about this series. Please email a link, post about it on your blog site, or let your friends know through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. There are a lot of blended families out there who need this information and encouragement.