Being a stepmom to teenagers is a difficult job and can add to marital stress if the wrong approach is taken. The stress of being a stepmom and step parenting is evidenced by a high national divorce rate for marriages involving step children.. Although being a stepmom has its challenges there are methods to ease tensions and minimize problems. Following are helpful questions and answers to common step parenting problems for stepmothers.

Understanding that teenagers naturally resist authority in an attempt to become their own person can make being a stepmom less confusing.

There are no distinct boundaries to being a stepmom which adds to the variety of problems that have to be dealt with.

Being A Stepmom

Take a Look Below At Three Being a Stepmom Tips

Q. What to Do About Teenage Stepchild Rebelling Against Step Mother’s Rules?

A. Being a stepmom often means that teenage stepchildren view as stepmom rules and not being the father’s rules which can be a problem. Potentially good relationships can spiral out of control if the child thinks the step mother is attempting to control them without the fathers input. Teenagers may see any attempt to enforce rules by a step parent as an attempt to undermine both of their biological parents’ authority.

Matters can be made even worse when in situations where the rules between custodial and non custodial parent homes are significantly different. The teenage child may become confused and resentful towards the individual enforcing unfamiliar rules. In many homes the rule keeper ends up being the stepmom. Since being a stepparent requires adjustments for the entire family it is important for any stepparent to occasionally step back and consider if their approach to conflicts is the right one.

Getting the husband involved so that it is clear that rules/expectations are coming from both dad and stepmother rather than stepmom alone is crucial. Where possible it would be helpful to make a sincere effort to have similar routines for children in both the custodial and non custodial home.

Q. How to Handle a Difficult Step Child?

A. Difficult step children can be a huge challenge and require a combination of patience and strategy. First it is important to see how the child perceives their relation with the step mother. Once there is a better insight into what the child is thinking the chance of success in improving the relationship gets increases.

The teenager may see the stepmother as an outsider trying to tell them what to do. They might become uncooperative at perceived attempts to exert control over them. It is important to remember that the teenage years is when children begin pushing for independence. They often resist being controlled by anyone, especially a stepmother who they feel is taking there father from them.

The fact is that step kids don’t really know the step mother in the beginning and don’t know if there is a threat to their relationship with their father. Successfully being a stepmom means finding a balance between spousal needs and allowing the father to have a meaningful relationship with his children.

Each child is different so no one approach works on every child. Some steps to take with a child who refuses to accept step mother authority in the home is for stepmom to stop trying to openly control them but try other common strategies to move children in the proper direction. That is not to say they should be allowed to run wild.

It is imperative that husband steps up and supports the stepmother. Supporting his spouse means that he demands that the child (children) treat the stepmother with respect! Husbands and spouses must follow-up when disrespect happens and present a united front. Having a united front helps minimize arguments that may arise between spouses that can have a negative impact on the marriage.

Sometimes attempting to exert control over a teenage stepchild may bring unwanted responses. Often times children especially teenagers find it hard to accept their stepmom. Children may reject a stepmom out of loyalty to their biological mother. There may be feelings of anger because their biological parents divorced and they feel the stepmom is keeping their parents from getting back together.


Being a Stepmom means learning to prepare for several possibilities

1.    step children accepting stepmom immediately
2.     step children warming up to step parent over time
3.    step children growing to love stepmother
4.     step children who will never fully accept step parent.

Q. How Do I Get Respect From My Step Children?

A.  Getting respect from teenage step kids can be influenced by various issues that will effect how they behave. Some issues that result in showing disrespect to their step mother is the following:

•    Stepchildren may consciously of subconsciously feel is that their parents will never be together again because of the stepmother.
•    Children may be angry because they feel abandoned by the father.
•    They may resent seeing dad for only a limited amount of time and feel that they are not a priority in his life.
•    They feel as though the stepmom is trying to take the biological mothers place.

How does knowing this help get respect? Children commonly show insecurities about parents divorcing by disrespecting a step parent. If a stepparent knows what they are dealing with it can be easier to handle step parenting problems.

The relationship children have with the father will have a huge impact on how they treat their stepmother.  Being a stepmom can be made easier when the father shows that he and his spouse work together in making rules and setting expectations for children’s.

Step Parenting Steps to Take

•    Invite step children to participate in activities they really like that require them to interact with the stepmom.  If it is more than one child choose activities that can done individually and as a group. Make sure the activity is something they will find hard to resist. Participating in activities together promotes bonding.
•    Make it clear to children that rules are set by both their father and stepmom together. Be consistent with children. Don’t say one thing today and change it tomorrow.
•    Being a good stepmom means having a positive attitude towards children, even when they have stretched your last nerve. Don’t put them down or engage in negative attitudes with them
•    Get husband involved.

When working with husband please keep in mind that parents who do not have primary custody often have substantial feelings of guilt.  They frequently feel they are failing their children and may be hesitant to do anything that will upset his kids or risk alienating them.

This makes being a stepmom more difficult because she may not receive the support that she needs from her husband. Getting support from the husband is a key factor in solving the lack of respect problem.

Being a stepmother does not require putting up with abuse but does need substantial patience and ignoring some (not all) negative teenage behavior.  Conducting oneself as the adult is the preferred response to dealing with teenagers. Stepmothers should never allow childish behavior to pull them into immature responses or spiteful behavior towards a step child. Step parents should stand their ground and never allow an unruly teenager to believe they can drive them out of their own home with their behavior.

If difficult teenage step children make being a stepmom difficult for you and harming your marriage you may want to take advantage of  online and local resources  to help get things on track.

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