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Living With a Stepparent

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.

Be aware that your parent and stepparent may want you to spend time with the family to help everyone bond. This is good, but if you feel overwhelmed by all the new things in your family, let your parents know. You may want to tell them that focusing on the stable parts of your life helps you cope with the family transitions.

Another way to cope with stepfamily changes is to talk with a school counselor or professional therapist about your feelings. This way you can get support and maybe learn some ways to adjust.

Make sure to discuss more than just the bad things. Talk about the good, funny, different, and interesting things about having a new stepparent. Over time, most teens learn to accept stepparents and enjoy spending time with them alone and with their biological parents.

If you have persistent, severe anxiety, or feel angry or depressed as result of your relationships with your stepfamily, ask for help from a therapist or your primary health care provider.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on March 04, 2014
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