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Stepdaughter Hates Stepmother

Hello, before I waste anymore time I thought I'd cut straight to the point and just ask if you cover teens loving in split homes with step-parents. My step-teenager lives one week with her Dad and I, and one week with her mother (and boyfriend). Issues seem to come from the fact that she all of a sudden hates me, even though I've been around for 8 years and she's 15. Do you cover anything like that because every book. Other therapist try to treat me like I'm a "parent" when she does not see me that way, so none of the tactics work. Just curious, as this teen is destroying my marriage and seems to be enjoying herself while she is doing it. Thanks for your time. Sincerely, B.


Hi B.,

I can promise you that you will benefit from my program.

You are more of a mentor than a mother. You are an adult male in your stepdaughter’s life, much like an aunt, a scout leader or a teacher, but you live under the same roof and sleep with her father. Being one family unit will require careful planning with your husband. 

Set rules and boundaries together, but try to disrupt the family karma as little as possible. Decisions about finances need to be made with your partner as well, and not in a vacuum.

One of the major roads to failure as a stepmother is to take on the role of disciplinarian. The teenager tends to resent this new gal with new rules who comes in to disrupt her family. Successful stepmothers and family relations experts suggest that bio-dad should continue his role as the dispenser of discipline when required to maintain some consistency with the children. 

Your job as stepmother is to support his role, to make sure he is treated with respect, and to show solidarity. If you disagree with something, discuss it in private and reach a common understanding with your husband so as not to undermine his role.

Don't take rebellion personally. The teenage years are the transition time from dependence as a child to independence as an adult. Rebellion in some form is to be expected from all teens, even in intact families. 

So don't get offended when your stepdaughter is rebellious; take it in stride and focus on the behavior exhibited. It is less likely to be focused at you than it is to be focused on their changing world.

If you are consistent, stay within your role, and show that you care about and love her and her dad, the barriers will eventually come down and a positive relationship will become the pattern.

All the above is easier said than done, but very possible none-the-less.



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