A major part of that commitment is working out how to navigate their newly blended family. While Steve has four children, Brianna, 21, Ella, 12, and Jack, 9, and Axel, 4, from his relationship with former partner, Michelle Bridges; Harika has two: a boy and a girl.
As the newest ambassador for the non-profit organisation, Karitane, leaders in parenting services, Steve is passionate about being a good dad.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few years addressing my behaviours and how I cope with things and realised that I don’t have to parent how my father parented. I’m better at listening and I really enjoy giving my kids cuddles and telling them I love them,” he reveals.
Having such a big age range means Steve’s parenting style has changed over the years.
“I was young when my eldest daughter was born and I was in the army, so that was a different kettle of fish – I was pretty much focused on the army and doing my job,” he explains.
“I also fathered in a different way back then to what I do nowadays. I guess a lot of that comes with life experience. I’m a lot more patient and understanding.”
But the 44-year-old admits the demands of mixing families and the needs of children can be hard to balance, especially the part which includes, in his words, “compromises with exes and the challenges that come with all of that”.
He adds: “That can be hard when sometimes you’re quite upset and angry or the other parent in the circumstance isn’t doing things the way you’d like them to be doing things.”
But Steve says it’s important to remember that with time, things always get easier.
“I find sometimes with my own experiences, you tend to have a better relationship with the other when you’re not in a relationship,” he says. “You learn to communicate more and be respectful of boundaries. I think as time passes, that understanding grows.”
When it comes to quality time with his children, Steve is a fan of keeping things simple.
“Pack the car and go to the beach. It doesn’t take much to have some fun,” he says.
And it seems like Steve’s idea of carving out some romantic time for him and Harika is similar.
“It’s about finding time for yourselves – sometimes you just get in the truck and go to the beach and just sit there. We love that. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.”
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