Step parenting teenagers brings its own special problems as new step parent is often caught in the middle between the child and the biological parent. How much of a problem to find depends on a variety of factors, no less than what will be the degree of cooperation that it receives from the biological parent and the age of the children concerned.
The secret to successful step parenting of teenagers is the first to clearly establish his role with the biological parents because it will no doubt have a fight uphill if the two are not fully agree from the outset. As with any change in a relationship although you should be given also that adjustments will take time and is necessary to adopt a “step-by-step” approach. Any attempt to rush things, or to force the situation, without a doubt will lead to frustration, if not confrontation. The biological parent well may feel threatened, if only unconsciously, by the need to share parenting and needed time to adjust and develop the confidence and trust in as father to his children.
Then it clearly needs to establish his role with the children, unless they are very young, often resent by an ‘outsider’. You must take things slowly and accept that children will need time to adapt to the situation before that it would accept the role of a step parent. Once again, you will need the help of the biological parents for the consolidation of its relationship with the children.
Any success of the transition step parenting of teenagers must begin with a open conversations with the biological parents, during which each party must communicate freely and honestly about how they see their role and the other party, and both must reach consensus clear on just how must share the responsibilities of parenting. This discussion should also establish clear boundaries, but should be flexible enough to be able to make adjustments, especially in the critical first few weeks and months after the creation of this new relationship.
This initial discussion of course will not be the end of the issue and several such discussions should take place before any truly meaningful and lasting change in child-rearing responsibilities.
At this point it is important to emphasize that this should be a genuine debate and not simply a case of parents ‘established law’ children. It is vital that children contribute to the discussion and that their thoughts and opinions on has agreed it to hear. Children, adults, the should be given a sense of control over their own lives and they need to feel comfortable with the situation in which they are now. This is not to say that children must have control of the situation, which must remain firmly in the hands of the parents as the manufacturers of final decision in the household, but must do everything possible to ensure that they understand the situation and are happy with what is possible.
The mere fact that children can see that their parents have clearly considered the position carefully and agree, will go a long way to avoid that children playing one off against the other parent, and its inclusion in the process will also help considerably in bringing them on board.
Arriving at the scene as a new step parent can be difficult for not only the main step but for the biological parents and children and all parties must work together slowly and take some time to establish an environment in which all people can live happily together.
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