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Do things change when they become teenagers?

Sian's picture

I was hoping to talk to other step parents and find out how the dynamic or relationship might have changed with their step children when they became teenagers. 

I've been with my SO for 7 years now when his twin boys were 7. We are now firmly in teenage years and it feels like I don't know them anymore? They fight and argue with me all the time and challenge me, no end. 

Has anyone else experienced this shift and how did you deal with it?


On the out

ESMOD's picture

A lot of teens' relationships with their parents (and step parents obv.) will change as they move towards adulthood.  It's not unusual for them to start questioning and forming their own viewpoints.  As they feel closer to adulthood, there is a natural desire to break with the boundaries of the family unit.. to live as independant beings vs part of the nuclear unit.  It's a natural process.

That doesn't mean that outright disrespect is acceptable.  It's fine to have different opinions and ideas but presenting them in a civil and respectful way is key.  

tog redux's picture

Yes, things change when they are teens. It's developmentally appropriate for teens to begin questioning authority and pulling away from parents. With stepparents, they begin the "you aren't my mother" stuff, especially if you want rules that their bio parents don't want.  Even with bio kids, the teen years are very tough.

Rags's picture

Regardless of kid biology.

I will say that if your partner is not an engaged quality parent and the foundational standards of behavior and performance in your home have not been in place from nearly the beginning... you are screwed.

Get your emotion out of it and purely enforce the standards of behavior and performance, and apply escalating misery inducing consequences for non compliance.  It is purely a binary situation. They comply or they don't.  They don't suffer, or they suffer. Both conditions are entirely their choice. Compliance = A moderately pleasant existance.  Non compliance = A state of escalating abject misery.

KISS, don't over complicate it.

Good luck.

Good luck.

Good luck.

& Good luck.

Thisisnotus's picture

all i have noticed with SD14 over the years is now she acts like she is 7 years old instead of 2 years old.

Loxy's picture

Your issues, although obviously challenging, sound more like general teenage issues as opposed to step-children issues. That being said, you may be copping it worse because you are not one of their biological parents. It does get better (most of the time) as they get older, you just have to hang in there!

On a personal level, I don't experience those sort of issues with my two teenage skids (but my relationship has changed quite drastically with SD. I have a great relationship with SS15 and really love him but have just never bonded with SD17 (despite being her SP for 14 years now). We have absoloutely nothing in common and I just can't find a single trait I like about her. Even DH is so dissapointed and distressed about how she is turning out. I've always tried to hide my dislike for SD but she has become more aware of it as she moved into the teenage years and I also started being more honest with her about the things I find challenging with her behaviour and the way she treats me and others. 

In short, this has created a distance between us and I've semi-disengaged from her to minimise my stress. I do think (and hope) I can pursue a better relationship with her when she's older and no longer living with us.