Being a source of entertainment will never create a real and lasting bond between a father and his kids, it is a false and short-lived bond. That kind of bond can be broken by the first demand being refused! For that matter, it will be broken by ANY demand that isn't met. It's the same old story of money not being able to buy happiness. It only buys it for as long as it buys it! Being the father who buys presents instead of building skills, good habits, and tight bonds with his kids also causes friction between the kid's mother and him. Nine times out of ten the mom spends her week with the kids denying those things that they want because she can't afford them and it sends the wrong message to them only to have Dad be the “good guy" on the weekend by giving in to their demands.
What about the stepfather's role? He is the male head of the household, just as the mother is the female head of this household. The difficult part for the new stepfather is establishing his position. This is a very delicate and extremely important matter. If the stepfather moves into his position too quickly and forcefully, the Mom and stepchildren may rebel. If the stepdad doesn't make his authority felt he may be disregarded completely. If the stepfather leads rather than commands right from the start, his authority will be more easily accepted. The stepdad needs to make his feelings known by giving his opinion, not using heavy commands or orders. Many stepdads are starting off with a relationship that the single Mom and son have had to themselves for a long period of time so their rules and ways are already well established. The stepfather needs to understand that with the previous arrangement, the son was probably vested with all of the masculine duties, therefore causing an invasive feeling to occur when the new man comes into their lives. This may cause some competitive feelings and resentment in both the stepdad and the son. The best way to handle any of these feelings is to bring them out into the open by sharing them.
Whether you are a Dad or a Stepdad, construction is your job! There is no question that building and maintaining a healthy relationship with your children is the most important job you have in life. Building a good foundation and then having the flexibility to set a good example to those children that you are only just getting to know will only strengthen the new marriage between their mother and you. When that foundation has an equal amount of love and discipline it is going to support the new stepfamily with less effort. All Dads need to practice the same balance whether it is a new construction job such as the Stepfather's, or an old construction project such as the father with his biological kids.