Helping Your Teen Accept & Embrace A Step-Parent

Moving on after a divorce or break-up can be hard on your teenager. The family dynamic that they’ve known for years is now changed, and there is nothing that they can do about it. This can be very stressful for them to deal with, and in most cases, teens are known to shut down. Once a new person enters the home, it feels as if you are trying to replace their mom or dad with someone new. Helping your teen to accept and embrace a step-parent is unfortunately not something that you can force to happen, but with these tips below, you can be well on your way to creating calm in your home:

Don’t Give A Title

Whether you’ve married this new person or you are simply dating them for now, don’t provide them with the title of “step-dad” or “step-mom.” This title is something that your teen has to want to give the person, and until they are ready for that step, you should support their decisions. Allow them to stay on a Mr. or Mrs. First name basis until they feel better.

Gradually Introduce Bonding Time

Your teen should get to know their step-parent for themselves. You want to allow them time to bond with one another both when you are there and when you are not. Start slow by allowing the step-parent to come up with fun things that your teen likes to do. Have them invite the teen out for a fun-filled day. Do not punish the teen if they do not want to attend; instead, allow the step-parent to try again in the future.

Do Not Allow Step-Parent To Discipline

By no means whatsoever should you start off a new relationship by providing too much authority to the step-parent. This could be a serious mishap that tarnishes the rest of their relationship with your teen. You should stick to providing the discipline with your teen until they feel more comfortable with their step-parent.

Do Not Force It

The last step to helping your teen is to remember you cannot force a relationship. As bad as you want your new family to get along, that is not always going to be the case. It could end up being a case in which your teen simply does not warm up to your significant other as their “step-parent” and only embraces them as your significant other. Whatever the outcome is, just show your teen that you love them and care for them just as you always have before. Sometimes all they need to know is that mom or dad is always in their corner.

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