A Daily Blog on Creating Success

The Father/Stepfather Relationship

 

Oh this is an interesting relationship.  On one side you have a man who has a son that now lives under another man’s roof.  This man’s son will be raised, in large part, by another man.  Will be heavily influenced by this other man.  Not to mention the fact this other man now has a relationship with his son’s mother.  A woman that he may or may not wish to still have a relationship with.

 

Not exactly the foundation for a healthy relationship.

 

The “other man” doesn’t have it very easy either.  How many men do you know that are forced to have a relationship with a man that was at one time in a serious relationship with his wife?  Also, how much should he parent his stepson?  Is he stepping out of line when he adds his input?  Is he being too easy?  Too hard?

 

Quotation-Oliver-Hudson-dad-father-mean-Meetville-Quotes-262539

 

 

This isn’t Rocket Science!

I found myself in this very situation 8 and a half years ago the day that I was introduced to my stepson.  I met his mother, Clarissa, four months earlier and had been dating her for a few weeks when we decided it was time for me to meet her son, Reece.  It was December 26th, 2005.  He was eighteen months old.

At first things were a little difficult with Reece’s father.  A lot of arguments between Reece’s mother and father.  Things moved pretty quickly between her and I.  We were engaged within eleven months of dating and married one year to the day later. We also moved Reece to the suburbs, a little further away than his father would have liked.  Things were uneasy at best.

But there was one thought we all had in common, “It’s all about Reece.”

Everything we did was in his best interest. We never discussed it or came to any kind of agreement.  We all just had the same mindset.  The same philosophy.  Everything needed to be done with the best interest of Reece in mind.

 

The Melting Pot

It was Thanksgiving, 2008.  Clarissa, myself, Reece and his father just sat down for our feast.  Reece’s father was talking about some money issues.  I had very similar issues earlier in the year but had landed a second job at The Melting Pot as a server.  I told him I could try to help him get a job there if he wanted.  This conversation would change our relationship forever.

Within a few weeks we were working side by side helping each other out during our shifts and drinking beers together after work.  We bonded.  We formed our own relationship and now we didn’t just care only about Reece, we actually cared about each other.

 

The Present

We no longer work together but the relationship between Reece’s father and myself is still in a very good place.  Tatum, my daugher, who is now 3 absolutely loves him!  He treats her like a Princess just as I treat his son like a Prince.  We are an extended family and he is one of my closest friends.

 

Things to Consider if You are a Stepfather

  • Form a relationship with your stepchild’s father.  Some children do not have any male figures in their lives.  How lucky is your stepchild to have two!  This must be your philosophy.
  • Your wife and her ex WILL fight.  NEVER speak negatively of his/her father in front of your stepchild.  Defend him and say only positive things about him when they are present.
  • Treat your stepchild the same way you treat your “own” children.  Love them, teach them, discipline them.
  • Your opinion on raising your stepchild matters.  Allow the parents to make decisions but be comfortable with discussing thoughts and ideas with them.
  • NEVER BE JEALOUS.  Jealousy will kill you and your relationship.  You must have faith in your relationship with your wife.  You must allow her and her ex to have a relationship together.  This will benefit you and everyone involved more than you can imagine.

 

 

Good luck to you.  Remember, it’s all about the child.  Everything we do must be done in their best interest.

 

-Keith Laskey

 

Are We Overworking Our Kids with Sports

Things were a lot different 25 years ago when I was a ten year old boy.  Spring was for baseball, summer was All-Star baseball (if you made it), Fall was for soccer and Winter was for basketball.  Now, sports like baseball and soccer are year round.  Reece , my 10- year old stepson, played rec baseball in the Spring, All-Stars in the summer, Fall ball and then practiced every Tuesday during the Winter in an indoor baseball facility.  He hasn’t stopped playing since February of last year!

Stealing Home (A Series)  Explore #266 6/17/13Creative Commons License Linda Tanner via Comp-fight

 

Is it too much?

 

The answer is easy if they aren’t enjoying themselves.  YES!  But what if they are having fun?  Sure, they won’t always enjoy going to practice but once they are there every one of them seems to be having a good time.

So it’s up to us to decide when enough is enough.  How are we doing with this task?

This is Reece’s schedule this week.  At the moment he is on a recreation baseball team, a “Sunday” league baseball team and is also giving lacrosse a try for the first time.  He’s also involved in some after school activities.  School, you remember school right?  With so much going on sometimes it’s easy to forget.

 

  • Monday-Lacrosse Practice (cancelled due to rain.  Woo Hoo!!)

  • Tuesday- Reading Olympics at School (Did not go to scheduled rec Baseball practice)

  • Wednesday- Rec baseball Game

  • Thursday-Lacrosse Practice

  • Friday- “Sunday” league baseball pracice

  • Saturday- “Sunday” league game at 9:30 AM  Rec Baseball game at 1:00

  • Sunday- Double header in lacrosse

In talking things over with other parents that have kids involved in sports this is a common schedule.  Very few nights that are open.  It’s one thing to have this schedule during Summer when homework is not an issue but this type of schedule can cause many late nights during the Spring.  Nothing worse than trying to figure out 4th grade Math problems at 10:30 at night.

The argument against it is simple; it’s too much for the kids.  There is no time for yourself or the parents.  The kids are being over worked.

The argument for it will indicate that it is better for the kids to be involved in sports than at home playing video games.  It’s good exercise, get’s them involved with teammates and is good for them to be social.

My opinion is that it is good for the kids.  There have been times when things got a little too crazy or Reece obviously needed a break.  So we have given him breaks.  We haven’t missed too many games but missing a practice from time to time is absolutely ok.  Especially if he is need of some time away.  The last thing you want to do is burn your nine or ten year old out on any sport.

So if you do have a schedule similar to the one above, proceed but with caution.  Remember your little guy or girl is much more important than any sport or coach.  Encourage them to keep doing their best.  Chances are not many of the kids will go pro someday but perhaps times like this will help them develop a killer work ethic which will prove to be extremely beneficial later in life.

What do you think?  Are we pushing our kids too hard?

 

-Keith Laskey

Be Like Batman (A Note to my Stepson)

 

Reece Superhero

Deer Reece,

I was lying awake this morning when I heard you get up to use the bathroom.  I didn’t get much sleep last night as I had some things on my mind.  You know that.  I know you know because of the way you hugged me last night when I tucked you in to bed.  You and I may be the two most emotional people that I know.  We wear our hearts on our sleeves.  I’m not exactly sure what that phrase means but I know that it perfectly describes us.

 

After you were finished in the bathroom you came over to my side of the bed and asked me to walk you back to bed.  I grumbled some unrecognizable mumble  because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to get up.  Then luckily, after thinking about it for a second, I jumped up and said sure.  We walked back to your bed and I, for the second time this slumber, tucked you in.

 

It was the right thing to do.  I could have just told you to go back to bed yourself.  And you would have.  But that would have been taking the easy way out and it probably would have made you sad.

 

Reece, doing the right thing is often very very difficult.  Your peers wont always think you are “cool”.  And sometimes you will have no idea what the right thing to do actually is.  But if you search your heart and explore your thoughts in your mind the answers will come to you.

 

There is a golden rule to life.  A rule that those that are religious and those that are not should always agree on.  It goes like this…..

“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

 

You understand what that means right?  Basically, always treat people in such a way that you would like them and others to treat you.  You will find this rule to be very helpful today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.

 

Please don’t think that this note is in anyway suggesting you don’t already do this.  You do.  You are the most special person that I have ever met.  I have often told your mother that you are one of the main reasons I proposed to her.

 

You will be challenged many times in your life.  You won’t always make the right decision, none of us do.  It’s OK.  Apologize when you mess up.  Learn from your mistakes.  Try not to make the same mistakes twice.

 

You won’t be able to make everybody happy all of the time.  It’s impossible.  You will hurt those you love with some of your decisions.  That too, is OK.  We will forgive you.

 

Be respectful to others.  Show compassion.  Understand that the person or people you are speaking to have had a much different road than the one you have been on.  The way they look at life is entirely different than your perspective.

 

Be strong in your beliefs.  But realize that you can’t possibly always be right.  You will be wrong from time to time.  Also, be strong enough to say when something is not right.  Don’t be afraid to walk away from a situation that you know is trouble.  You will be a much better person because of it.

 

Be there for your friends.  Never be jealous of a friend’s success.  Celebrate with them.  And, just as important, always be there for them when life is beating them down.  Be the one to stand up when a bully has taken an interest in somebody, friend or not.  Remember, Batman is NOT a superhero.  He is just a man in a suit that always does the right thing.

 

Be like Batman.

 

The road ahead of you is foggy, extremely rocky and full of holes.  You will fall down more times than either of us would like.  Just get up and keep fighting.  Never stop fighting the fight for Goodness.  If you can do this than that very road will lead you to a place with beautiful rolling hills, the wind at your back and abundant warm sunshine shining down on your face.

 

Lastly Reece please know you are never alone.  You will always have me here to listen to you and to hold you.  As long as you promise to hold me back.

 

With Unconditional Love,

Keith

 

 

Our strong Family.

Our strong Family.

 

 

Listen to the post below….

 

How to Get Your Wife to Divorce You.

 

James Altcher wrote about this a few months ago in this post.   So the idea behind this post is inspired from James but the thoughts are my own.   I would highly recommend checking out Altucher’s site as well as his latest book, “Choose Yourself”, as they are full of fantastic ideas.

 

Divorce Jo Christian Oterhals via Compfight

 

Do you know how they calculate the divorce rate?  Basically, they take the number of marriages and divide it by the number of divorces.  So if 1,000 couples got married in 2013 and 500 couples got divorced in 2013 than the divorce rate is 50%.  It’s rarely ever the same couple that gets married and divorced in the same year.  So the divorce rate isn’t exactly accurate.

 

Having said that there are still a lot of people getting divorced.  So, it appears obvious to me that I need to help this large group of people.  I have come up with many ways to assist both men and women with ending their marriages.  Here is a list of ten that men can use to separate themselves from their wife.

 

1.  Never take her out.

Don’t do date nights.  Don’t take her shopping.  Don’t get together with her friends or go along on your kids’ play dates.  If she needs to go somewhere, tell her you just want to stay home.  This works especially well if it’s snowing or raining.

 

2.  NEVER surprise her with a thoughtful gift.

Flowers, chocolate, a latte.  Avoid all of these things.  If you are out and you see something you know she would absolutely love, just turn your head and walk the other way.  Do not under any circumstance buy her anything that would put a smile on her face.

 

3.  Don’t Clean Anything.

She made the dinner, she should clean up the dishes.  She washed the clothes, she should fold them. And the biggest one of all, the bathrooms.  Did you and your college roommates ever clean your bathroom?  Why on earth should you start now??

 

4.  Be as dirty and disgusting as possible.

Never shower or brush your teeth.  You may get a few cavities but it is so worth it.  Bad breath and bad body odor are great ways of getting your wife to not want to be around you. Don’t wash your clothes either.  This works great if you have been at a smoky bar.  You clothes will reek for days like smoke.

 

5.  Never compliment her.

It will driver her crazy if she spent two hours getting ready and you don’t say a word to her about the way she looks.  This is a good thing.  Don’t say a word.  If she says that you look handsome, just say something obnoxious like “yeah I know, you ready to go yet?”  This will set the tone for an awful evening which is perfect for your master plan.

 

6.  Saturdays and Sundays are for Football only.

The pre-game College football shows start at 10:00 AM.  And the last game doesn’t end until about 1:00 AM, Sunday.  You’re a guy, you need to watch football.  And make sure she knows to forget about you being around on Sunday.  In fact, if she has a desire to leave the house on Saturday then tell her to go to the store for snacks and beer for you on Sunday.

 

7.  The kids are her responsibility.

Bath time?  Please.  Bedtime stories?  You gotta be kidding me.  She wanted the kids so she needs to be on kid duty.  Besides once you’re divorced you’ll only have them once every other weekend anyway.  And you’re just going to be watching football when they’re with you so why start getting involved now!  Oh yeah, get an iPad or a second TV.  Something to keep them occupied for two days when they are with you so you can focus on the games.

 

8.  Talk, laugh, smile and flirt with pretty and younger girls.

There will be times when you are forced to go out with your wife.  Holiday parties, birthday parties.  Even, God forbid, an occasional dinner.  Find the most attractive girl at the party and strike up a conversation.  The younger the better.  And then talk about how much fun you had with the other girl with your wife.

 

9.  Forget everything she tells you.

You’re probably already good at this anyway.  This serves a few different purposes.  By forgetting what she says you will totally annoy her.  It also shows her that you just don’t care about her or what she has to say.  It shows you have no interest in her thoughts, opinions, stories or anything else regarding her whatsoever.  Keep up the good work!

 

10.  Never stand up for her.

This may be the most important.  Make her feel like she is on an island.  All by herself.  When there is an issue between your families or friends, don’t take her side.  It works even better if you can do it publicly, around the other parties involved.  Make sure everyone knows that you are not on her side.  Make her think she is crazy for thinking the way she does.

 

If, by chance, you are interested in having a happy and healthy marriage than do the complete opposite of everything I recommended above.  I for one love my wife very much and I know I will be doing just that.

If you like this post, please feel free to share it.  Comments are always welcome.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this list.  Also, check out James Altucher.  He is one of the most interesting writers that I know.

 

-Keith Laskey-

Toys for Tots Drop Location

 

I am thrilled to say that the Ron Black Agency is an official drop location for Toys For Tots this holiday season!!!

 

If you are interested in donating, please bring any new and unwrapped toys to the Toys For Tots drop box at our office!  Together we can make this season much more special for the less fortunate children in our communities.

 

Thank you!!

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Ron Black Agency

380 North Lewis Road, Royersford, PA 19468

 

-Keith Laskey-

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