been there since he was 6 months old

Recently, my stepson let me know that he thought of me only as a roommate, and not an authority figure. He is 17 & 1/2. I have been in his life since he was 6 mos. old. I have been married to his mother since he was 1 & 1/2 yo. When he told me this, I took 3 days to think, then said I still think of him as my son, and feel like his father. Now it is worse than ever. What can I do?

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May 03, 2012
Stepson Hurt Stepdads Feelings
by: Laura Ramirez

I know that it's hard to hear words like this from your stepson, especially since you've been there for him since he was young. Try to understand that in an attempt to individuate from the authority figures in their lives, teenagers often say things like this ... things that are mean-spirited and are designed to hurt the parent or step-parent. While this is tough to hear as a step parent, realize that birth parents are subject to this treatment too. Try not to take this personally and understand that with time, development and reflection, your stepson will probably develop a sense of appreciation for all the things you've done for him and for the many ways that you've been there for him, but don't expect that level of appreciation now. You've probably been through a lot with him, so recommit yourself to getting through this rough patch too. Although he's 17 and probably looks like an adult, realize that in many ways, he is still a child, so you have to be the adult in the situation, the person who has the bigger perspective (which you've illustrated by your response to what he said). Continue to be there for him. Show him through your good example that a real father doesn't leave his kid.

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