Can I call You Daddy: My advice to step-parents & my happy 18th birthday wish to my daughter.

brady bunch
Mr. Brady may have not really loved Mrs. Brady, but he loved all the kids!

I can’t believe that it has been almost 16 years, since I met my oldest daughter Laikin.  Legally she would be called my step-daughter, but I have never for a second thought of her in that way.  I tell people it was love at first sight.  I was sitting in our little dirty radio studio in Wichita Falls, Texas and I heard the door open and in came this cute little blonde headed girl.  She was absolutely adorable with her little white shoes and socks, and a big red bow in her hair.

And from the day that Amy and I got married I knew that she was my baby girl.  When Amy and I had Libby and David there was not a feeling of “these are my real kids.”  No, they were my other two children.  I know that many blended families have difficulties, because a step-parent can’t get to that place where they truly love or accept their spouse’s child.  I don’t say that to be judgmental, because there are some kids that can make it very tough to love them!  This can be especially true if you marry someone with teenagers.  When I do premarital counseling with people before I officiate their wedding I always ask if one or the other has children.  If the answer is yes then I have one big question for them.  How do you feel about them?  And yes I know that many are going to lie like an old rug so I follow-up with many more questions.  And often times I will ask them to come back and bring the children with them.

In my opinion, if the children are young then don’t marry mom or dad until you can say that you truly love the children.  If you can’t get to a place where you love them as your own then at least love them as if you do.  If you are thinking, “I don’t want to use my money to take care of them” then don’t get married.  When you marry someone with children it is a package deal, and trust me my little love birds…if you don’t like the children then you are going to be miserable, and you will make everyone else miserable as well.  I hear someone out there saying, “But Tony the kids will only be with us every other weekend.”  So, if I came to your house every other weekend and made you miserable then you would be okay with that?  Hell to the no!  Love may build a bridge, but a horrible relationship between Step-Monster & Step-Dracula will burn it to the ground!

I’m not trying to be negative or discourage you from getting hitched to someone with children.  I simply want you to build a very strong and healthy foundation with them before walking down the aisle.  My relationship with Laikin has been incredible, and I am so thankful for her.  It has been extremely rewarding, and I want the same for others.  And last but not least, remember how much power you have in a child’s life.  You may not think they don’t care what you think about them, but trust me…they do.  Choose to make a positive impact by showing them they are worth loving.  You can do this!



15 thoughts on “Can I call You Daddy: My advice to step-parents & my happy 18th birthday wish to my daughter.

  1. Dennis February 13, 2014 / 7:08 pm

    Amen Tony! I myself married 3 children and their mother 10 years ago. And its been the most incredible, rewarding and fulfilling journey of my life. They were older and all accepted me with varying degrees of skepticism at first. Never for a moment have i thought of them as anything less than my children with never a “step” in front of that. I say you are absolutely right….the only way for this type of relationship to work and to be fair to everyone is to love the children not “like” your own but to accept them “as” your own then and only then will they accept you and your family will flourish. Thanks for your words of wisdom Tony.
    A loyal P1-Dennis


  2. Lauri February 13, 2014 / 7:29 pm

    That’s so awesome and great advice. My daughter was 10 when I married her Dad (I refuse to use the word “Step”) and he raised her from that point in her life. She is now 25 and adopting a child. The agency wanted her to make sure extended family members could love a child that wasn’t biologically related to them. My daughter called me and this is how our conversation went…

    “Mom, do you think Dad could love his Grandchild if it’s not biologically his?”

    “Honey, I’m not EVEN going to answer that!”


    “I’m just going to sit here and wait for it to sink in!”

    Silence for a moment…

    My daughter finally realized that her Dad wasn’t her biological father. She was 9 when they met, old enough for her to remember, but that’s how close they have become. It never even dawned on her Dad wasn’t biologically related. As silly as she felt it was the biggest compliment my husband ever received!


  3. Anna Smith February 13, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    My husband met me when i was 8 months pregnant with my second baby, he moved in with us a week before i had our second child 😉 he took on the daddy role with no hesitation and has been there for all three of our babies since that time almost three years ago. We got married a little over a year ago and couldnt be happier. Our son is 4 he is the oldest then our first daughter almost 3 and our second daughter almost 2 but severly disabled and at about a 8 month olds age. 🙂
    We have never really used a step or reference like that my childrens bio father is not in the picture nor will he ever be. I have sole custody and my husband hopes to adopt them but we want them to make that choice so it will come when the day comes. But he has beeb the man to support and stand by our children and the only man they know as daddy. And might i say at 21 and 20 we did and have done pretty well. 🙂 our birthdays are coming up in a week i will be 22 and him 23. I am glad to have his support and comfort.


    • Tony Russell February 13, 2014 / 8:03 pm

      Wow you are very responsible in your young age! At 22 or 23 I was…well…until I was about 35 I was a moron! 🙂


      • mommy2three12 February 13, 2014 / 8:36 pm

        LOL we are still learning just now we added 3 kids with it! It is an adventure for sure, but in the end i wouldnt trade any of it for a thing in the world. I also take care of my 53 year old mother 😉 having a mixed family is awesome though because. We have a huge support system, my exs parents take our kids for months at a time and it is a great break and help to get our disabled daughter the youngest the most attention.. we have our reasons for being mature lol my husband went to afghanistan for 18 months when he was 18 years old and lost 8 battle buddies in one of the most gruesome attacks in afghan war history. But anywho enough with my story hehehe 🙂 god bless and have a wonderful … well night for you lol day for me.


  4. Chrissy February 13, 2014 / 8:26 pm

    When my husband and I married our daughter was 12. He stepped up from the day they met. We don’t use the step word in our house. Her bio dad is apart of her life so she doesn’t want to offend him by calling my husband dad but she’s told us numerous times “Mom, I wish Jake was my dad for real.” I’ve told her that he is her dad in every way that counts. When she started in Jr high there was a boy she liked. She didn’t come to me for advice. She went to my husband. It put him on cloud 9 that she would come to him when she needed help, advice or even just a hug. We now have a 6 month old son as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better man to love our kids. People say blood is thicker than water. Well, I say love is thicker than blood and your post has proved it once again.


  5. jenny February 13, 2014 / 9:41 pm

    My husband and I got married almost 2 years ago and both had children from our previous marriages. I had a 12 yr boy and he had a 12 boy, 11 girl and 8 boy. We have since had a baby girl 8 months old. Both of our exes are still involved in the kids lives ( his more then mine) It has been challenging at times with our oldest boy because he was raised in a very different household then what we live in now. We love all of our children equally. If someone asks me how many kids I have, without hesitation, I say 5. I get some pretty funny looks as I am 29 but don’t look it lol


  6. Lisa Maestas February 13, 2014 / 10:06 pm

    I know what it’s like to be that step-child, I have a Dad who signed my birth certificate, not biologically my father, I lost contact with him for 15 years, found him 4 years ago and he accepted me into his life as if it was Apr 24, 1989 again, I have a father who has been married to my mother since I was 16, I don’t call him dad, but I consider him as one, he’d do anything for me, and last but not least I met my biological father summer of 2012, and found I have a sister a few years younger, we look so much alike, it’s amazing, thank you for being an awesome dad!


    • Tony Russell February 14, 2014 / 5:21 pm

      Thank you Lisa! I hope that meeting your biological father helped bring some healing.


  7. Kevin Cruz February 14, 2014 / 3:37 am

    I hooked up with my soon to be wife when my oldest son was 4 months old he just turned 12 February 2 and from the word go this kid stole my heart I have 3 boys and a daughter and I have never considered him a stepchild this kid has exceeded any expectations I have had he just received two pop warner scholastic awards and one is a national award his biological father has never been around and the last few years he has had my last name Cruz on the back of his sports jerseys two years ago we were in Missouri visiting my dad and for the first time he had asked when he his goin to be a Cruz my dad looked at me and I don’t know why but I just teared up and realized how much a dad can love his child regardless of the circumstances I lovey son with all my heart and I am very proud I was more thanhalf the man I didn’t have to be!!!!


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