suntimes
LABORIOUS 
Weather Updates

Taking time to make sure potential stepdad’s a good guy

Updated: September 5, 2013 4:33PM



Today’s column is about stepfathers, potential stepfathers and a famous flasher.

About stepfathers . . .

RON: I raised my three children for 23 years. (There’s no step in this family.) I never crossed boundaries, because I’m a gentleman first. But did I take my daughter to skating lessons and after-school activities without my wife? Did I attend my boys’ ball games and band concerts? Damn straight I did.

I refuse to be regarded as a second class citizen, just because of biology. I had the opportunity to experience the highs and the lows. Oh, and did I mention I got the honor of keeping the kids fed, clothed and educated?

WARD: It’s essential that a woman spend significant time alone with a man before introducing him to her children. This gives her time to assess his personality and credibility without distraction. She must pay attention to any gut feelings she has.

Then she should slowly engage him in public outings with her kids. She must never leave them alone with him at this point, especially in a private place. She should integrate him into their lives slowly, paying attention to anything, verbal or non-verbal, that would indicate a problem.

Children may not verbalize their concerns in a specific manner. They may say things like, “He’s weird.” A mother must be sure to follow up on those statements. A child should never be forced to hug, kiss or show affection to a boyfriend. Many children are reluctant to rock the boat if they feel that it will cause mom to be unhappy or that it would have an adverse effect on their family.

A woman should never allow a man to use emotional or financial blackmail. She should never marry or move a man into the home because of financial or emotional desperation. Once he realizes that he can get what he wants by threatening to move out and/or end the relationship, both she and her children are vulnerable. She should never rush into marriage.

A mother should always take her children’s concerns seriously. Comments to a daughter about her bust size are not jokes. Calling a son names or picking on him is not “manning” him up. When kids believe that their mother cannot or will not stand up for them, trust is destroyed.

About Anthony Weiner . . .

DEB: I think he must have a great deal of hostility and contempt for his wife and maybe women in general. Although many married men have affairs and behave promiscuously, their discretion isn’t necessarily just out of a fear of getting caught. I think that it can, in many cases, demonstrate a respect for their spouse and an unwillingness to publicly humiliate her.

But this jerk is making his wife’s humiliation at least 50 percent of the whole scenario. In private, she may be perfectly OK with her husband doing whatever with whomever, but she has a right to not be harmed by it. His actions have affected her physical health, her public image, her extended family relationships, her relationship with her child, and on and on. In this way, I think he’s an abusive husband.

Do you and your partner watch TV together? What are your favorite shows and why? Send your thoughts, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com. And check out my new website askcheryl.net. Creators.com



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.