Sunday, December 8, 2013

On "Keys to Successful Step-Fathering" by Carl E. Pickhardt ***

This is a basic primer on stepfathering, denoting a number of issues that stepfathers are likely to encounter. Its very simplicity made it a bit less than surprising. I can't say that I learned much from it. However, it is a good basic reminder of the issues and feelings that stepfathers face.

For example, the author begins by focusing on how such fathers necessarily feel about entering a marriage that involves this responsibility. It's perfectly normal, Pickhardt assures such men, to feel ambivalent. On one hand, stepparenting is a great opportunity that can bring much joy to all parties involved, but on another, the children are a constant distraction from the relationship one is trying to forge with one's spouse. There are ambivalencies on the part of the children as well, who might compare the new dad to the old or view the new one as an invader of sorts. Pickhardt says that feeling out the new roles in a family take time, and that as long as everyone is "just getting along" then that's good enough.

He denotes advantages of being a stepfather to a son and to a daughter, as well as the disadvantages to each, provides various strategies for dealing with conflict, establishing authority, dealing with discipline, and so on.

As a straight read, most of the book came off as common-sense information. However, I could see its use as something to dip in and out of when situations present themselves. Sometimes, we need refreshers, even with common sense.

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