Sometimes all you can do is just be there for your husband as he deals with his difficult child. “If you’ve got older teenage kids and there’s extreme conflict, the only role a stepparent should have is to support their spouse,” says counselor Bonnie Rudden.
“Let the biological parents take care of it if the kids are really acting out. The parents have to come up with a plan for that child, if possible. The kid doesn’t want the stepparent to be there in it. The most you can do is be there for your spouse. As a stepparent, you don’t have to feel like you need to fix it. If you get involved, you’re going to get blamed.”
Stephanie knows what it’s like to get blamed by a rebellious teenager. “It never got better with my stepson. Sometimes I thought I would die—there were so many horrible things. I counted the days until he would leave for college. And you’re not supposed to take things personally, but it’s still hurtful. I knew I was never going to have children and so this was the only child I would ever have.
I was so disappointed. I’m sure he saw me as controlling and screwed up because he’d had no boundaries. All he’d had was total indulgence.” When this out-of-control kid moved in with Stephanie, a professor, and her husband, Luke, for six of his most tumultuous years, Luke asked her to be an active parenting partner.
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