It’s tough being a father figure to children that aren’t yours…especially if you haven’t been the best father to your own kids.
I mean, don’t get me wrong…I’m a pretty decent dad and I’ve learned over the years how to be better at my job as a parent. I’m constantly changing and evolving and am doing whatever I can to repair any damage I caused with the relationships during my “younger years”. I’m far from perfect, but I think my kids would say I’m doing alright.
My stepdaughters would also agree with that. They have seen my changes over the past five years. In the beginning, I wasn’t much of an affectionate person when it came to kids. They’d both talk a mile a minute at the same time and I’d start having panic attacks. It all seemed so overwhelming at first because they were only used to their father as a male role model…I just wasn’t sure how I was supposed to act.
When I moved in with Sunshine, it was another major adjustment for me. I was probably a bit more snappy with them that I needed to be. I was probably more annoyed by the little things that didn’t matter than I needed to be. At the end of the day, I needed time to find a good rhythm so that we could all get on the same page as a blended family.
I think we’re at that stage now, which is awesome. At this point, the 9-year-old (Mo) doesn’t remember a time when I wasn’t in her life…and that type of relationship is important to me. I made a lot of mistakes with my own two daughters, so I certainly don’t want to make the same ones again going forward. I want to be as good of a father as I can be: stern when necessary, open and honest when required, and loving at all times.
Right now, I don’t think they’re getting that from their biological father. He’s not abusive or anything like that, but he’s not acting like a father should…at least in my opinion. I can’t go into details, but I know that his attitude and his narcissistic behaviour lately has really been affecting them. They’re unhappy when they visit him and they are beginning to question their own self-worth (you would, too, if you were told at ELEVEN YEARS OLD that you constantly had “your head up your own ass”).
At this point, there is nothing Sunshine and I can do to change her ex. He is who he is and nobody is going to tell him otherwise. But what we CAN do is do whatever we can to be the best parents that WE can be.
If the girls ask a question about something their father said or how he acted or a conversation they had that made them feel uncomfortable, we’ll be there to help them by answering in an honest way without continually beating them down with words until they only see our side of things.
Bottom line is that when he’s being a douchebag, we’ll let them know. The last thing we want is for their future relationships to be tarnished because they feel they should be treated a “certain way” by men. It’s just not right and it won’t happen as long as Sunshine and I have anything to say about it.
I’m not trying to push him out of their lives, though. I’m not trying to turn them against him. This isn’t a battle to me. This is simply doing what’s right for the girls. They need to know that they have a voice and, as they grow older, a choice in what they do in life.
I wish the guy would change. I really hope that he can see that he’s pushing his daughters away. I’ve done that myself by simply being distant…I’d hate to see that happen to another father, regardless of my personal feelings for him.
He won’t change, though. His ego won’t allow him to see anybody else’s point of view on anything, much less on how he’s raising his kids.
So as time passes, I will simply keep doing what I’m doing…and I’ll keep trying to be an example of how a male role model is supposed to act around their kids. It’s the only thing I can do.