The only thing that is harder than being the mother of a teenage girl is being a stepmother to a teenage girl. However, the relationship is very important. Teen girls need powerful female influences in their life to combat the effect of peer pressure, the media and to make it through the difficult teen years all together. Being that influence to a teen girl, especially with one that may come to resent a stepmother, can be especially difficult.
Making It Through the Bad
If you're a newer stepmother, there is likely to be some resentment or negative feelings on the part of your new stepdaughter for a variety of reasons. Whether she thinks you're trying to replace her real mother or just isn't ready for a mother in her life yet, becoming a new stepdaughter can be difficult. Even if you have been a step mother for awhile, the hormones and problems that occur in the teen years can bring out a bit of resentment. On the side of a teen, it can be difficult to accept so many new things happening.
To get past these feelings, use the following tips:
- Keep trying to talk things out. Communication is perhaps the most important aspect of all types of parenting, but becomes most important to the teen girl/stepmom relationship. If there's a daily issue like problems with curfew, try to calmly and rationally talk things out. If there is a deeper issue, still try to work on it. If necessary, don't be afraid to begin therapy to make the problems in the family easier to deal with.
- Rely on others. Use the support of friends, other family, or co-workers to help make the situation easier. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on sometimes!
- Don't confuse money with love. It's easy to try and think you can buy someone's affections, but that's not the case in the long-term. Don't use money to make the problem go away if you're a new stepmom and don't fall for it if you're a new stepdaughter.
- Create family nights. Whether it is liked or not, you are a family. Create family traditions and events that honor any past families as well as the new family you are working to build on. Even further, do what you can to feel like a 'real' family and not like a replacement for having 'mom' and 'dad' be together forever.
- Be patient. Things are likely going to be bad. Some nights your teen won't want to talk and other nights he may not be quiet. Take all of it with a grain of salt.
Being a Stepmother to a Teenage Girl
Still think it's hard being a step mother to a teenage girl? Use these tips to be a great influence in your teen's life:
- Always tell her she's beautiful and don't let her brush the compliment away. Sometimes, just hearing something like that can make it feel true.
- Focus on the things your stepdaughter does well, not on the negative things. Try to help her build on those.
- Work with her to create a positive image of herself through empowerment events, films, and other outlets. Use your imagination to trigger hers!
- Bring her dad into the mix and create a positive image of what a great marriage is. Seeing these type of impressions can help your teen figure out what her relationships should be like.
Stepmoms and Teens
New families are always hard, but can be made harder with a teen in the household. Teens are at a wonderful crux in their life where the world is open to them. However, to a teen, it still sometimes sucks. Being a stepmom can be hard, but both will make it through these years.