As everyone with a step parent can tell you, it can be difficult accepting someone new into your life. It can be especially difficult accepting a person that has come into your life in a position of new authority. Whether you like it or not though, who your step parent is ultimately will not be your decision. Because this decision has been decided by others in your family, it is something that you are going to have to deal with in the long run. Here are some of the top compromising steps, personality tools, and overall relationship step you can take in order to help make this transition and change run a little more smoothly.
General Scenario, Background, and Play out
Acceptance can be the most difficult thing to do in any part of the situation and often comes with a pattern. Usually increasing age and lack of new parental acceptance tend to positively correlate until an age and level of dependency begins to be sought by the child. A.K.A. The younger a child is put in the position to accept a new step parent into their lives, the easier it usually is for them to adapt or even acclimate to the current situation.
While a lot of this can depend on the circumstances surrounding the absence of the original parent, the outcomes and situations usually play out in an eerily similar manner in every scenario.
A very young or infant child will have no care in the world when it comes to this change. While they may miss the absent parent and express accordingly, it usually plays out that children are very accepting at a young age and will look at any figure as a parental or authority figure without question. If the introduction of the new parent comes at such an early time in the child’s life, the situation may arise that the child is not even aware of the replacement situation. In this case, it is completely up to the parents how they wish to go about raising the child, whether the child be aware or not aware of the circumstances comes completely up to the choices of the parents. (It is often better that this news comes from the parents as it may be exceedingly devastating to hear news like this randomly from a third party perspective and any given random time in a person’s life)
The teen years are where a lot of step parent situations run into trouble. For some reason kids tend to carry with them the “I know everything” mentality at this age. This level of thinking can become magnified and expressed rather harshly when dealing with an authority figure that isn’t actually your parent and this is where tensions begin to escalate out of control.
As a teen attempting to accept this sort of thing into their lives, they tend to want to rebel against everything in order to try and prove a point whatever it is that may be. Because a teen may feel that this person is a stranger and has no authority or business in telling them what to do, they may begin to take on socially unacceptable behavior as a way to express their anger, resentment, pain, frustration, or whatever other types of alexithymic feelings they may be experiencing do to the situation.
It can become very difficult for a teen to accept this type of situation sometimes and they may often express it in strange ways. The feelings do not always stem from the authority figure themselves. Rather, the feelings may be stemming from a series of deeper questions that this vulnerable teen figure is asking within. It can often play with a teens head as to why his/her parents are separated in the first place. A teen will often find reasons to blame the situation on themselves and express this as hate, anger, resentment, rebellion, avoidance, or any other choice of coping behavior in the direction of the incoming step parent.
It is important to know understand and discuss clearly with you child or parents that what happened is in no way the child’s fault. This is often on of the largest dividing wedges that lead to a lack of healthy relationship qualities long down the road. You will be surprised at what healthy bonding benefits may stem from the reassurance of this issue.
Assuming the relationship had no solid repair mechanism throughout the teen years, as a teen begins to develop a sense of independence it is common that they will look back at the times spent with their step parent and finally begin to look past all of the bad. While, if nothing was fixed, they may still hold some skeletons in their closet about past issues, it is most common that the emerging adult will begin seeing that in most cases there was actually good in the heart and in the intentions of their step parent whether that person was good at openly expressing it or not.
While this is usually the most common of scenarios through step parent/stepchild relations, it can often be too difficult to say. Each and every situation holds its own set of circumstances, scenarios, and partnerships that can make it extremely difficult to place a blanket definition on all scenarios. Whether you think this scenario sounds like yours or not, below are some strategies, tips, tricks, and rules for getting along with your step parent.
Changing to Adapt
While clashes may arise, it is important that neither the step parent or step child changes the person that they actually are in order to please one another. It is important that each person remain their own personality type and character for this relationship to work. It often leads to an unhealthy and non-functional relationship if a person holds one personality in front of the step parent/child and holds a completely different personality elsewhere.
Do something together
Yeah, this one can be difficult, but guess what? Out of all the things out there to do in the world and no matter how dissimilar you two seem to be, odds are that you have at least one thing in common with each other. Figure out what that one thing is and do it together. This will let you two meet on a common ground and may help you get to know each other a bit better.
Although this is easier at a younger age, trust me, there is something out there for teens and parents to do together. Just search for it.
Do what they say when they say it
This is seemingly the most difficult part of any scenario, especially during the teen years. The fact of the matter is though that this person is here to stay. There is no changing that. It is important that you listen to what they say and you follow through with it. It may be difficult to realize now, but you will look back later and realize that this may ultimately be a life lesson for you. Stop arguing and bitching about every little thing they tell you to do. Suck it up once in a while and realize that you have to take on some responsibility once in a while whether given by your parent or your step parent.
Try putting yourself in their shoes
If you think you are the only one suffering, think again. Not saying that you step parent doesn’t like you, I am saying that it may be just as difficult to give you orders and directions as it is for you to take on these tasks. Imagine yourself suddenly being placed into a parental and leadership role of someone. It may come as a challenging task for them as well but you need to realize at one point or another that what they are doing is for good.
Don’t use the “Your not my mom/dad, you can’t tell me what to do.” Line
This is just ridiculous for you to say something like this. It is well aware that your step parent isn’t your real parent. They are however your chosen authority figure who has been appointed by your real mother/father and is doing the best they can to help raise you. Saying things like this can often be hurtful toward the entire family and cause a wedge to be driven deeper into the relationship. There is never a need to say this line and it should be avoided and even removed from ones thoughts all together.
Overall, you have to realize that there is a way to make your relationship with your step parent work. Half of the relationship is up to you. Even if you say you have tried in the past with no success, keep employing these tips and make small amounts of progress at a time. Having a positive relationship with a step parent can be an extremely difficult thing to do, but realize that if it is done correctly that it can turn into one of the most beneficial relationships out there.