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6:44 AM EDT, June 14, 2012
Joe D'Eramo met his wife ten years ago when he was 37 years old. He was a bachelor, no kids...she was a single mom with a 9 and an 11 year old. "Everything really clicked," he says. They were married in 2004 and had a baby in 2006: "We were already a tight unit and then we had something that connected us all."
As a freelance copywriter in Plymouth, MA, he always wanted to write his own book but was never sure of the topic. Then, a friend suggested he write about his passions...and he realized he was truly inspired by his blended family and how they've all figured out ways to make their dynamics work.
So, D'Eramo has self-published an e-book called "25 Ways To Go From Stepfather To Stepdad" which features helpful tips for newly or soon-to-be married men who are becoming husbands and fathers for the first time.
D'Eramo says that more than 29 million parents are also stepparents. He states truthfully: the role can be a challenging one. "You are not 'the' father but you are a parent. You can't get caught up in being their buddy - you have to be respected." And, when it comes to holidays such asFather's Day, which can cause uncomfortable and conflicted feelings, it's important to realize that the children need time with their biological parent, as well as you, so go ahead and be creative to work it all out.
Here are D'Eramo's tips:
*Make the holiday your own. It doesn't have to be a Hallmark holiday.
Joe and his stepkids actually celebrate "Dad's Day" on the Sunday before Father's Day. That way, everyone has fun and gets his own special occasion with the kids.
*Don't compete for the kids' time.
"One of the worst things you can do is use the kids as the liaisons," he says.
*Adults should find a way to communicate well around the holidays.
Making plans clear will help the children with transitions.
You can also connect with D'Eramo via Facebook.