Teenagers Dealing with Remarriage

Updated on March 19, 2010
L.B. asks from Canton, OH
19 answers

How do you deal with daughters between the ages of 14 and 20 (4 of them) who have very little respect and consideration for the new stepparent? My husband and I have been married almost 2 years and none of them are acting any better than they were 2 years ago. The girls do, however, get along great. My husband has 1 daughter and I have 3. Flexibility has worked well when dealing with my ex but my husband's daughter and ex are rarely flexible which causes conflict between my husband and I. Our family doings always have to work around a strict return from visitation which frustrates me because she is 18 and should realize she is not the center of everything. I have tried to accommodate the various schedules but it feels like I'm the only one trying.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Sounds to me like you need to stop being so accomodating. If they are not being respectful to you, maybe it's because they know they can walk all over you and you will not do anything about it. It's time to demand respect. If they are misbehaving, ground them or punish appropriately.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I pray that you read all of my response. I am a child of divorce. My parents divorced when I was 14 and I chose to live with my dad. Little did I know this would make him feel as if he needed to find someone and get married so I would have a "mother" (my real mom spent most of her time with her new boyfriend, so I did not talk to her for quit awhile as a teenager). Anyway, I had a hard time with my stepmom. I hated her (or so I thought at the time). I felt like she had taken my father away from me. I had a new "mom" telling me to change the way I had done things for 14 years, everything from dipping my toast into my oatmeal to how I was suppose to greet her when I walked into a room. Looking back now she did not realize what she was doing was so wrong. Every time she corrected me it made me "hate" her even more. It would take me forever to tell the whole story, but I do want to tell you how you and your husband can make things easier. I do love my step-mom now and have apologized for treating her so badly. Her and my father both have also admitted they could have done things better too. 1) Allow the children to spend alone time with their REAL parent. My dad did not do this and to this day I yearn for that alone time. I take an extra long time cutting his hair, just so I can get some time back. 2) Do not take the attitude as a personal attack. Step children are hurting and will usually always hurt and because of this they are going to have an attitude toward the step-parent. Listen to the child and try to understand where he/she is coming from. It is hard to do this if you are not from a divorced family yourself. 3) Do not try to change the child. Allow them to be themselves, but not let them be disrespectful. 4) Always treat your children and the step-children the same (never show favortism). My step-mom always treated me, my brother, sister and step-brothers the same. To this day I truely believe she loves me as much as her own children. 5) Always have respect for them and think about every decision you make before you make it. 6) NEVER speak poorly about the other parent. Neither of my parents did this and I am grateful for that. 7) LOVE them no matter what and make sure they know that.
I hope this helps. I could go on and on, but I think that is good. Being a step parent is a hard job. I actually broke off an engagement with someone I truely loved with all of my heart, because I knew I would not be a good step parent. I am married now and as I look back I am happy with my decision. Please be patient. My step-mom had no idea I would care for her like I do now. I am honest with her and she knows that if I could have anything in the world, it would be to have my parents back together again. I would never be deceitful and try to get my parents back together and she knows that, but she respects my feelings.
God Bless!



answers from Indianapolis on

Hi L.,

I hope not to offend you but well, when you choose to marry someone with children, you just have to deal with it.
Children don't ask to be in step-parent families. You guys chose to make a family with them and it is very hard to be a step-child.
I don't care how you look at it, you as adults married, had children, divorced and remarried, the kids are along for the rollercoaster ride and then they have to be the "bad ones" cos they act out? Cos they have strict schedules? Cos the moms can't get along? cos the parents can't do things without involving the kids?

Sounds like you took this one and it sounds sadly unfair that the one getting blamed is his off spring. The parents should work this one out, she's not the center of the universe to you, but she is to herself and she should be to her FATHER.
Let the biological parents deal with it if your not willing to see her as your own child. If you don't see her as your child also, she KNOWS it and therefore owes you nothing.

A step-child has to be respectful and obedient, beyond that, the hard situation is nothing but a problem the parents created and need to deal with privately and never stop treating the kids equally.

Somebody else mentioned telling a 15 year old she or he wasn't destroying the marriage and leaving them alone???


Sounds like that step-parent was completely out of line, the parent is the PARENT FOREVER, boyfriends.girlfriends, wives and husbands are the ones that are TEMPORARY. Even if only for 30 yrs, after a spouse dies, you can find another, after your child or parent dies, you will NEVER find another.

And to have the attitude that they're gona grow up and move on hahaha
That's one of the most selfish things I've ever heard, if you think its over now, wait until you start fighting over the GRANDKIDS hahaha.

Better tackle this one now by not seeing her as a step-child, that's unfair and wrong.
She either is your daughter or you don't desrve the blessing of having her in your and your girls life



answers from Terre Haute on

I have found that when I was 21 and my mom and her new husband got together that I did NOT want a new man in my moms life that was going to try to act like MY DAD. could this be the problem? I have found that if he just acts like a friend to me and not as a FATHER figure in my life that we get along much better. He loves my kids but my kids know him as Corey. Sometimes they will call him Grandpa and that is okay. But he has two younger children now they are at the ages of 14 and 12. These two children have not had a mother figure in their lives for a long time. Chasity (14) has had major problems with my mom. My mom has told her she does not want to take the place of her own mother she just wants to be friends. Someone that is there for her and will help her when she needs it. Now they are like best friends. Dan (12) he has never had a problem with it.

My mom lets the children know that she will not let them run her over but their father is the one that will do most of the groundings, taking phones, radio's ect. away when need be.

To this day I have hard times kinda uderstanding why MY mom has to ask Corey if she can go out to the store with me. Just to have a Mother, daughter time away. It gets under my skin at times. But I also know that She is just checking to see if he has planned anything during this time. I feel a little selfish with my mom and my dad. They both got remarried after I moved out. But Having your parents together for 20 years and then having to share them is a hard thing to go through for a child. (of any age, I think).

I hope you husband is just trying to be a friend and not step in and take over Dad's place in the childrens lives. This could be why the children are feeling the way they do.

I have another thing also. I never refer Corey as my Stepfather. It is not out of disrespect to him and he knows this. I just say that He is Corey my mom's husband. I feel like if I would say this is my Stepfather I am stepping on my own dads toes and disrespecting him. Because my dad has always been there for me as a child and as an adult.

Just wanted to share my view point of a "Stepparent"

I feel the same way about my dads wife as I do my mom husband. If you were wondering.



answers from Atlanta on

Well I understand where you are coming from,however the kids if not adaults are still trying to understand.Those kids still have their mom or dad that they love and no need to go above and beyond to make it right, just let the kids know you are there when needed and keep your same rules and love you had before the seperation.(With both side's)The kid's will thank you later!!!Just remember what they go through as well!!!Every kid want's thier mom and dad.Just it dont work like that all the time!Good luck and happy ending's



answers from Indianapolis on

They say that one of the primary deal breakers in a re-marriage is the children-new parent relationship. How was all of this presented to the childre? Was it dumped on her without notice, was there any dialogue before you got married? Where is the mother in your relationship with your husband? Is there an issue of loyalty for her? If you didn't take the time to sit down and have some honest dialogue and give all them opportunity to express how they really felt, even if it made you uncomfortable, then you have allowed years to go by with the lack of communication kind of being cast in stone. But, it can be repaired if you are interested. The biggest mistakes people blending families make are 1)Believing that putting people in the same house makes a family; your children and his child aren't siblings and you shouldn't expect them to behave as though they are. Which brings me to the second issue: Your way of raising children probably differs from how she was raised. If you don't respect the who that they are and how they were raised, if you minimize, trivialize, criticize, marginalize how they grew up, I guarantee you she knows it. She's 18, and will soon be on her own, so don't make more of it than you need to. And why do you need to accommodate schedules of an 18 year old; if she doesn't get back in time or can't meet you for a family event, then she misses out; that's her choice. If it's something she really wants to do, she will soon learn that time and family waits for no one. The center of everything comment sounds really resentful. But perhaps you should do an internal self-check about being a bit controlling. It takes too much effort to try and control everyone. There is a really good book out there about blended families, written by a man whose name I cannot remember. Check Amazon for the most popular one,



answers from Washington DC on

get some paxil or some nice red wine...ive been there ..it was not pretty..ended in divorce..they will never change..its just a matter of how much torture you can take..good luck to you honey....



answers from Fort Wayne on

My parents got divorced/remarried nearly 11 years ago and I still have to work at being nice to the stepparents. They may not ever got along. It's not necessarily anyone's fault...it might just be as simple as personality conflicts. If she's 18 you won't have to deal with it for much longer perhaps.



answers from Muncie on

L.....wow, that is a tough one! :) I would say (or scream) to you COUNSELING because in my personal as well as my professional opinion it will get worse before it gets better.

My 18 yo son and his sd (my husband of almost 9 years) haven't spoken to one another in months. It's "grunts" or simple "yes" or "no" and I walk on egg shells every day. I have to continue to function like we are a "normal" household because I have 4 other children, but the tension is horrible.

I wish we would have received counseling when it first started 6 years ago...it's only gotten worse as my son has become older.

It doesn't help that they are just very different interests, personalities, etc...no "common ground".

Just do it, no matter the cost....get an outside intervention before it's too late! GOOD LUCK!!!



answers from Lafayette on

I was the step-daughter. I did not like my former step-mom and she didn't like me. I was about the same age as your step-daughter was we they got married. It is a tough age to have someone added into your family. Things are never the way they were. She may feel as though you are in the way of what she and her father had. Suggest to your husband to have a father/daughter night out. Who knows, she may open up to her father when they are alone having fun. Continue to be as loving and understanding to her as you can. Continue treating all the girls equally.
Have your husband speak with his ex about the flexiblity. If she is still not willing to be flexible, then you have to accomidate or let her drive home when it is time. (Assuming she has a car.)
The girls getting a long is definately a great sign, and one less issue to worry about with blended families. Good luck.



answers from South Bend on

Unfortuantely this may take them more time then what you and your new husband hoped. Sometimes it takes longer for teens and younger adults to adapt to this type of situation. The kids were used to you and dad for so many years and now there is a new man and they may be afraid that he may try to over step boundaries and try to be dad and not just the step dad. It took me almost 3 yrs. before I got used to my step dad and I was 10 when my mom remarried. I hated him for the longest time and wouldn't listen, but then I sat down with him and got to know him better. After that we started talking more and we got along better and now I love him to death and I call him dad. Try getting your kids to sit down with him and get to really know him. It sounds like they just haven't given him a chance yet. He needs to make it clear to them though that he understands he is not their dad and will not over step any boundaries that should be dealt with by the natural parents. As far as your step daughter and the scheduling deal your her dad needs to deal with that. You are the step parent and that needs to be dealt with between the dad and the mom. Kind of step back from that so you don't get yourself in a bind and get stressed out. Tell your husband that your family's doings are first and that his daughter needs to understand that it isn't all about her and make him step up and deal with it one on one with his daughter.
I am 31. I have been married going on 12 yrs. this Nov.. My husband and I have 3 beautiful boys ages 10,7 and 4.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I have no wonderful advise! sorry, I am the step parent of 3 boys, 17,14 and 8. frankly, it is a thankless job. I am unclear as to who is the step parent -- or are you both steps? How your husband or you (whoever the birth parent is) handles or doesn't handle the disrespect has a huge bearing on the outcome. If he (or you) allows them to treat you poorly then they just got permission, and things will never improve. though if he steps up to the plate and handles them, there is a chance of improvement. I do wish you all the luck and patience in the world. NEVER ALLOW DISRESPECT- GROUND THEM FROM EVERYTHING - BUT DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT!!!!



answers from Cincinnati on

Hi L..

What a tough situation to be in. First of all it is huge that the kids are getting along! As far as how they treat the "step parent", I guess I would pose some questions.
How do the parents treat one another? Is there open "bickering"? Do you support one another's parenting styles and rules? Are the same rules being followed for everyone? Is there one on one time with the step parent and child? Are there activities done as a group where everyone participates?

It may seem trite, but a lot of times in situations like this, there is resentment and fear. It is not going to change overnight, but small improvements are good ones! Make a date with your blended family. This could be anything from pedicures with the girls to a day in a canoe.

More importantly, take care of yourself and your marriage. You can't give what you don't have. Yes, the children will always be a part of your lives, but sooner or later it will be just the two of you, and you want to make sure your marriage lasts long enough to enjoy the silence!



answers from Cleveland on

I know what you mean. My boyfriend and I met 1992. We had a daughter in 10th grade at the time. She would not even give him the time of day. I tried to correct her behavior all the time. She was not going to give him any respect. I told her I was not going to break up my relationship. She was 16 at the time and I know when your 18 you will be going your own way. I choose not be be alone. Well time has passed and she did go her own way when she was 18 and I am not alone. Things are ok between my boyfriend and my daughter. She has the kind of personality that doesnt talk to most people I guess she is quiet most of the time.
Now I am with my boyfriend even after 5 years now his 15 year old son has deceided not to treat me nice. This is after all our special times together. He sat on my lap and hugged me all the time. Now I am the invader. I dont like it and am very hurt to have to live this one more round.
Good Luck.
My advise is to look to YOUR future they will grow and go on. Dont be left alone.



answers from Dayton on

Hello L.,

I really feel for you as I am going through this as well. In reading the answer's you got so far one thing made my head turn lol. That someone didn't want to share their parent and /or parents with the new step parents. I find that kind of amusing actually, since they had to SHARE their parent with the other parent, before the divorce. Now, its a problem.. to share?? Weird.
Anyway, I have 4 kids ranging from 15 to 22, three of those are girls. My older 2 children are from my first marriage, when I was young. My husband and I have been together for 17 years and my son (one of the 2 older ones) and him STILL butt heads. I think its just a phase, as they would do this to their real dad too. I just DEMAND respect from them. In turn they get respect. I would tell yours that I am sorry they don't see eye to eye with him, but they will respect him. The 20 yr old needs to learn to go with the flow, or move on.
Its not fair to you, to put you in a position of being in the middle or that you may feel like you have to choose.

Be firm, demand respect whether they like him or not. They won't like something he says or does regardless of how he does it, and thats ok. But they will respect his wishes anyway, and yours.

Good Luck.. I know its rough.



answers from Fort Wayne on

They have to come around on their own. The only thing you can do is remind them that they are under his roof, along with yours, and that because of that, they MUST respect him while they're there. They will come around, trust me. My mom brought in a new step parent when I was in 7th grade, and we all HATED him!!! As a matter of fact, about 2 years later, I STOLE HIS CAR!!!!! So, nothing you can do. Believe me, it's harder on them than it is on him. Now, the 20 year old, I would tell her to grow up. There comes a time when it's time to start acting like an adult, and I'd say she's reached that age. That was about the time that I started establishing a closer relationship with my stepdad. Now, I'm closer to him than I am to my real dad, who isn't very involved. I'm 31, and we've come a LOOOOOOOOONG way. But now, I think he's great! And consider him my "dad". You can't force a relationship on anyone, but you can demand respect, so start there.



answers from Chicago on

first off don't let the kids run your house and your the parent you make the rules also give repect and it will always be given okay now you let her know if show keep acting like she three you will start treating her the way she act then she start acting her age



answers from Fort Wayne on

I can say from personal experience that I was a teenage girl of a step parent. I hated my stepfather. He had a daughter the same age as me and he took money and bought her a brand new car. Then on top of that he went through my personal things and letters and read them and told my Mom what they said. Mom mother was furious when she found out he was doing this. I had no privacy with this guy around. I know all situations are not the same but you can not just expect a teenager to exactly trust a strange man in there home. Girls like there privacy and if they are between 14 and 20 they are going through all kinds of different stages in there life. As for a step mother I don't know but I would think it is better to be there friend at this age then a mother figure. Just make sure they know that you are there for them as a friend but the rules still apply. Just remember 14 to 20 are the ages of attitudes for girls. It will be a little while for you all to connect. I would try to take special alone time with each of them so that they know how you feel. Honesty is always best.



answers from Indianapolis on

I'm not going to pretend as though I have a solution, although I do wish to say this to you. If a stepparent comes into a child's life beyond the age of four or five, they tend to not respect the stepparent as an authority figure and rarely will they see them as a parental figure. It's a pretty natural kid response at that point.

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