In today’s day and age, blended families make-up a larger percentage of families than ever before, in comparison with the typically “traditional” family dynamic.
While every family and every marriage has their fair share of problems, it cannot be argued that being a stepparent comes with a set of very unique obstacles, especially when you are trying to stepparent a teenage girl.
Not only do these obstacles impact the relationship you have with that child, but often they will also weave their way into your relationship with your spouse.
There are many reasons why your marriage may be suffering on account of your stepchildren, but it is important that you and your spouse remember you are a team, and work through the obstacles together.
What Are the Problems?
As mentioned above, the scenarios here are endless.
Perhaps your stepdaughter is jealous of you, feeling as though you have your new spouses attention away from her.
Perhaps she feels she cannot get close to you without feeling like she has betrayed her biological mother/father or maybe she is still angry that her parents are no longer together.
Perhaps you have different parenting techniques than the biological parent she spends time with outside of your home, which translates into her bringing unwanted behaviours into your home.
Perhaps your spouse and yourself have different parenting techniques, and cannot agree on how to handle certain situations that arise with her.
Or maybe, just maybe, she is simply acting out in a way typical to most teenage girls do, unrelated to blended family situation.
How to Keep These Problems From Affecting Your Marriage
First and foremost, identify the problem.
Is the problem something that truly involves you? If not, step back. This may be difficult, as you want to be an active role in your stepchild’s life, but if it is doing more harm than good, simply remove yourself from the situation and let things cool down.
This is also important to remember if the problem occurring is related to boundaries. If your child, your spouse, or the child’s other parent feel that you are crossing boundaries, especially in terms of disciplining your stepchild, the best thing to do is to pull back.
If removing yourself from the situation is not an option, the most important thing to do is communicate, and communicate effectively. You must make sure to keep a level head and to speak logically and fairly, both when communicating with your stepdaughter and with your spouse.
Let your spouse know how you feel about what’s going on, why you think the situation is present, and you must work together on a solution that will work for everyone.
There are many possible scenarios for why or how you stepdaughter may be causing problems in your marriage, but it does not have to stay that way.
By identifying the problem and taking an objective look at what you, and your spouse, could be doing different, and by calmly and logically discussing these potential solutions, the weak spot forming in your marriage could transform into something that pulls you together.
Remember to act as a team, remember how much you love each other, and remember: no parent is perfect, especially when dealing with teenage daughters.