step-parenting a teenage boy

by Teri

My step-son is 13. I've been around him since he was 6. In the last couple of years we've been clashing a little bit. Mostly trivial stuff. However, some things that are changing dramatically are his need to always sit next to his dad while watching tv and if I'm there he will sigh and make subtle gestures that he doesn't like it.

Other times he will step in front of me while walking down the street and push me aside so he can walk next to his dad. If we are planning a family event, he'll ask me if I'm going to attend. And today, I was in his room and I found a photograph of his family prior to me. It was folded in half so that his mom and his dad were pictured together, happy, smiling at him while he sits at his desk playing video games.

My reasoning says this is all normal, but what's bothering me is that he is becoming increasingly disinterested in me being there. I've been married to his father for 3 years now. I was not the cause for a breakup his my husband's first marriage. Please, is there any light at the end of the tunnel. What can I do to help turn this relationship around? thanks for listening, teri

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Aug 15, 2012
Step-parenting teenage boy response
by: Anonymous

The situation has taken a turn and now I have a better understanding of why he is acting this way. He wants his mom and dad to reunite. We had a meltdown last night and I had had it. I went into the other room, wrote down my thoughts and feelings. Once I calmed down, I called him in. At this point, he and I began a dialogue where I found out several key points in all of this. One being that his parents have never talked to him about their divorce. He was young but now that he is a teenager, he has lots of unanswered questions. I encouraged him to begin this dialogue with both mom and dad. I've had a gut feeling that he felt this way, but I was denying it. I was honest and direct with my feelings too. I think we both walked away from this conversation with a better understanding of the problem. We have work to do and I am committed to trying to help him understand that being a blended-family is ok. Having a step-mom is ok. His circle of people who love and care for him is greater and really could work in his favor.

Aug 04, 2012
Stepson Pushing away Stepmom
by: Laura Ramirez

I am sorry for how your stepson is treating you. Just keep reminding yourself that he is just a 13-year old boy who wants to spend one-on-one time with his father. Although it may be hurtful, this is a good thing because as he starts to go through the individuation process, he will want to spend more time with his friends than with adults.

What needs to happen here is some communication and compromise. Perhaps you can take the time to identify a few favorite father/son t.v. shows and find something else to do during the viewings to give them time to be together. This shows that you respect their desire to spend time with each other. The other thing that needs to happen is that you need to be shown respect. Talk to your husband about this. Next time, you're watching t.v. with your family and your stepson indicates that he doesn't want you around either through words, sounds or body language, your husband needs to affirm your right to be there.

Hope this helps.

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