DEAR CAROLYN: I’ve been with my companion and her two kids, 13 and 11, for 3 years. We not too long ago purchased a home collectively. The 13-year-old daughter has been at odds about my relationship along with her mom for the reason that starting. The 11-year-old son and I’ve a fairly good relationship. He not too long ago traveled with me, and my prolonged household loved him.
I’m making an effort to be affected person with the daughter. She says I annoy her, and after I ask for examples, she’s going to say I chuckle too loud or I chew with my mouth open. I’ve labored on chewing with my mouth closed and laughing much less loudly.
My companion would really like me to take a extra lively position in parenting her daughter, nonetheless I’m reluctant as a result of setting limits or making affordable requests is often met with indifference or hostility. I’ve attended household counseling in an effort to resolve the issue. Do you might have any options? I’m dedicated to creating this work for all of us.
DEAR STEPPARENT: My predominant suggestion is to say, welcome to the magical world of dwelling with a 13-year-old.
Each guardian of a human that age chews mistaken, laughs mistaken, units the mistaken limits, and makes the mistaken requests no less than as soon as day by day, and is intimately accustomed to indifference, hostility, detached hostility and hostile indifference.
Being or having a stepparent provides a layer of awkwardness that can require additional delicacy, however in any other case it’s the job of the 13-year-old (or thereabouts) to begin to differentiate and stand other than household, and as essential and wholesome as this transition is total, it’s no bag of giggles whenever you’re in it.
So my options are on just a few fronts: (1) Speak to your companion about limits you each agree on and wish to set persistently. Have a lightweight contact. (2) Recede into the background the place you may. All dad and mom want to do that when youngsters hit this age anyway, to be the place they will discover you if wanted however in any other case out of the way in which. Save intervention for the few areas of agreed upon limits. In any other case, attain for humor. “OK, I’ll drink my lunch to any extent further.” (3) Play the lengthy sport. When you don’t demand to be cherished at this time, there’s a greater probability you’ll be appreciated tomorrow. Give attention to listening. (4) Be the mature one. Make certain the children have a protected and wholesome house atmosphere, and fear concerning the particulars later.
You sound invested, good for you. Be affected person for it to repay.
I’m a stepparent of two youngsters. I didn’t agree with every part mentioned, however “Parenting Teenagers with Love and Logic” actually helped me perceive that habits I assumed was aimed toward me was actually fairly typical for many youngsters. It helped me to keep away from taking issues personally, and gave me steerage for proceed. Additionally, it helped me have extra empathy for the children, who’re attempting to determine the growing-up factor in addition to the divorced-parent factor and the stepparent factor. It’s not simple on anybody. Good luck and hold in there.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: “Keep away from taking issues personally” ought to be the guiding gentle of anybody on this place. And most positions. Thanks.
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