Stepparent: Friend or Foe?

Latinitas, Mother Daughter Workshop

Latinitas, Mother Daughter Workshop

When some people are born they are conceived into a world with two wonderful people as parents. You grow up thinking they love each other, are role models, and believe they will stay together and live happily every after while helping you through  every big moment in life. What do you do when you find out their love for each other has faded? Even bigger, what do you do when you find out they now love someone else? How is that even possible?

Some people refer to their parent’s newfound love as  a stepparent. “When I first found out that I was going to have a stepmom I felt so confused and disappointed. I thought that my new stepmom took my real mom away from my dad, and for that I didn’t like her at all. I love my mom and no one can ever replace her,” said Celeste, 14.

She didn’t take the divorce well. She considers her real mom like her sister, which made the whole idea of having a stepmom a little harder. It is common for marriages to separate and find a new love with someone else. Celeste isn’t the only one going through tough times dealing with divorce or a stepparent. Stepfamily.org found that over 50% of U.S families are remarried or re-coupled. In addition, 50% of the 60 million children under the age of 13 are currently living with one biological parent and that parent’s current significant other.

According to Teenshealth.org, dealing with a stepparent is challenging, but is more challenging for teens. Feeling like your world is crashing because your family is being split apart is common, but what makes the situation more difficult is because of “of all the other changes that take place during the teenage years — everything from the emotional growth involved in becoming an adult to the hormonal changes triggered by puberty.”

Bringing in a new adult to the family isn’t always bad, but teenagers, especially pre-teen girls, are more affected by a divorce because they tend to be more emotional and more attached with their real parents.

“Girls have a tendency to act emotional and are considered to be more attached to their parents because girls are often treated differently and sometimes better than boys, and when a new adult comes into their lives to become their new parent, some girls often feel threatened or angry towards them,” said Dr. Estela Rodriguez, Psychologist.

“My dad never really paid attention to me when I was little, or even now. So no, I don’t mind if I’m getting a stepdad because he treats me good; he asks how I am and he cares. I don’t hate my real dad, but it’s nice to feel like someone cares about me again,” said Samantha,15.

Some teenagers might think having a stepparent is the end of the world, while others think it’s the beginning of a new one. A new adult joining your family does not mean they are a replacement of a new parent; sometimes marriages do not work. A new parent joining your family is an opportunity for you to learn something new, give you advice, and treat you differently or make your life better; you just have to give them a chance.

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