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Teen Health

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Living With a Stepparent

What if My New Stepparent Has Different Rules? continued...

While you may think some of these new rules are worse than the ones you're used to, most likely they are just new to you. Your stepparent may even have some rules that you like better.

If you don't like a particular rule, it probably won't help to tell your stepparent that it is a bad rule. It may be helpful to tell your stepparent that the rule is different, and you are having trouble adjusting to it. Try to work out rules on which both you and your stepparent can agree.

Remember, throughout your life, you will have to adjust to new rules from time to time. This will happen when you live in a college or military dormitory, with roommates or a spouse. Learning to adjust to others and their expectations and to negotiate with them is an important part of becoming an adult.

What if I Don't Like My Stepparent?

It is normal to initially feel some dislike or resentment of a stepparent, especially when you are first adjusting to the new situation. As with anybody you meet, you will naturally like some people more and some less than others.

Although you may feel you dislike everything about your stepparent, there will probably be some things you do like. Chances are, you have a few interests in common. Try focusing on the things you do like about your stepparent. This can be a starting point for building a better relationship.

It can also help to talk about your feelings with an adult friend who has an objective perspective.

If you talk to your parent, (the one married to the stepparent you don't like), don't say that your stepparent is all bad. Instead, tell your parent specific things you don't like about your stepparent. This way, you can avoid hurting anyone's feelings. It may also prevent fights between your parent and stepparent.

Coping With Stepfamily Transitions

A new stepparent means change. Feeling a bit unstable because of a new stepparent is normal.

It may help to focus on other, stable areas of your life during this transition, such as school, sports, or hobbies. This may make things seem a little more normal.

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