Comments and Advice from Teens
This is the general advice I’d give. It’s ok to feel worried or out of place or uncertain now that you have the new stepfamily living with you. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable at first, most people do. Don’t worry if in the first few months things seem unbalanced. When you have different people, living together everything isn’t going to fit together perfectly right away.Don’t worry if it seems your parent is paying you less attention. Suddenly your parent’s attention is divided amongst the stepparent and family too. One thing to always remember is that regardless of whether you feel as if your parent is not paying you as much attention anymore, it does not mean that your parent loves you less or values you or thinks about you any less. It does not mean that your parent is devoted to your stepparent and has forgotten about you. Your parent loves you unconditionally and that hasn’t changed. What has changed is that your parent now has someone to share their life with and it’s very exciting for them and I think just after the marriage it can seem like your parent and your stepparent are joined at the hip and you can never have your parent alone. But remember that it’s not personal; they’re not deliberately ignoring you or anything like that. They’re just enjoying each other’s company because it’s a new experience for them as well as you. They’re not used to having someone around to talk to and you’re not used to having someone around your house all the time.Also, there is a tendency for stepchildren to immediately feel as if they don’t like the stepparent or stepfamily. In most cases, it’s not because you genuinely don’t like them as a person, if you’d met in different circumstances you’d probably get along great but it’s because they have the status now of your stepparent or step family and sometimes you’re programmed not to like them. The one thing that runs through a stepparent’s mind most of the time is whether their new stepchild likes them or not -and sometimes they worry that you don’t. Maybe you do like them but they keep thinking that you don’t, but just remember that your stepparent is still getting to know you and they’re not as good as reading you as you parent is.
Another thing to remember is that you can call your stepparent by their name and they know and you know that they’re not technically your parent. Maybe you don’t need another parent but all they’re asking from you is to be your friend and you can never have enough friends.
Your parent may keep pushing you to get along with your stepfamily but it’s because what they’d love the most is for you all to get along because your parent loves and cares about all of you. And your parent always worries about how you feel about the stepfamily. You can tell your parent that it’s going to take time to adjust – no one can force you to feel a certain way and it takes everyone a different amount of time.
The most important thing to remember is that your parent always loves you the same no matter what.
I’m 20 years old. I was 19 last year in September when my dad got married. I’m still learning and adjusting to the situation. Therefore, I haven’t even been a member of a blended family for a year yet.
From R.M.: Remember that everyone else in your blended family is experiencing the same thing. Although you may feel lost and forgotten when your mum, or dad has remarried, remember everyone is adjusting to the same situation and has similar feelings to you. Be honest with how you are feeling to your parent and most importantly to yourself and you will begin to see your new family as a fantastic opportunity for change and love in your life.
R.M, age 11 when both her mother and father remarried.
by Josh Shipp
I think it’s great that you help blended families. I was also reading some of your articles and advice. I have a stepfamily as of last year when my dad got married. My stepmom already had a son and daughter in their 20’s and I have a younger teenage sister. It did take me a long time to adjust to having a stepfamily and I still wouldn’t say I’ve adjusted 100% but as you said, it does take time; however, it’s much better now. I think the way for any family to move forward is to have communication and talk about the issues.
Also, I didn’t grow up with a mother as my mother died when I was 9, so I think that would be a further adjustment for some people to get used to having someone else around. You grow up with your family and they’ve known you your whole life and when a parent gets married and you suddenly have to live with people you don’t really know, it can be difficult. You’re also used to your own habits and way of doing things and things change when you’re two families in one house. It’s a journey that you have to take together in order to become one family and some journeys take longer than others.
Nicola H, age 19 when her Dad remarried.
Looking back on the last year, I really wish I had gotten to know my step mom better instead of pushing her away. Ever since my parents got divorced 2 years ago, by Dad was not the happy and fun Dad he used to be. Even though I didn’t want to admit it, I could tell that having a girlfriend made him happy. Then getting married to her made him even happier. I wish I were able to be the one to make him happy again...I thought he would have enough with just his kids. But now I realize he needed someone to marry, in addition to having us kids.
R.W., age 17 when her Dad remarried.