New Man

Want to receive New Man by email? Sign up here
Stepfather and stepson
(Stock Free Images)

Orville is about to become a stepfather, and he wrote to me with a question: The 8-year-old son of his fiancée minds his father very well but wreaks havoc at home. “What should I do?” Orville writes.

These situations are always more complicated than I can do justice in a few minutes. But let me give stepdads a few ideas to start with.

First, realize that you are naturally set up in competition with the boy’s father. It could be that the boy behaves better for his father because the father has fewer rules and lets the boy get away with whatever he wants. Or it could be that his father lavishes him with gifts and good times. Or it could be that they have a healthy father-child relationship and they both see you as a threat.

In any case, as the new stepfather, don’t get caught up in that competition. It’s a no-win situation. The child probably feels the need to defend his father—and that’s normal. What you need to do is make sure you don’t give him a reason to think of you as the enemy.

Say good things about his father. Honoring their relationship will only help you in your role as a stepfather. If possible, work at open communication with the father. Even if you don’t see eye to eye on discipline issues, you can be advocates for each other and send the message to the child that you’re cooperating in raising him.

Most of all, build your own relationship with the child. Listen; do things together; and, most of all, affirm him for who he is. That will pay off when it comes time to administer your own loving discipline.

Be united with your wife in your approach and work as a team, but make sure it’s clear that the child is loved through it all. You could say, “I know your dad loves you a lot, and he has his way of doing things. But we love you a lot too, and we’ve decided this is the best way to handle it in this household.”

And maybe that’s the key: love. You can’t force any child to love you, but you can love him or her first.

Dr. Ken R. Canfield is founder of the National Center for Fathering and served as its president and CEO from 1990 through 2005. He is the author of The Heart of a Father and numerous other books including the award-winning 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers.

All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. Their aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and, as a by-product, the hearts of the children with their dads. At, dads in any stage of fatherhood can find helpful resources to aid in their parenting. Resources include: daily emails, blogs, Top 10 Lists, articles, printable tools, videos and eBooks. From fathers can join the highly engaged All Pro Dad social media communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit