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 singlesuperdad
Joined: 8/26/2009
Msg: 2
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Step -ping into it with teenagers ! Page 1 of 1    
Sounds like your on the right path. You took your time getting to know her and now you are together. Just be their friend but don't let them walk all over you.and you'll most likely earn their respect.
 singlesuperdad
Joined: 8/26/2009
Msg: 3
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Step -ping into it with teenagers !
Posted: 12/8/2009 6:17:25 PM
sorry church, I agree in some cases but not all. I've had a few teens in my houses but my house my rules and some of them have come back and thanked me for keeping them in line and stopping their foolish ways.
 Notdesper8atall
Joined: 6/27/2008
Msg: 5
Step -ping into it with teenagers !
Posted: 12/8/2009 6:38:41 PM
Its not all wine and roses , but it isnt as bad as some make it out to be either. It does sound like your off to a good start and things are meshing well but you will hit road bumps along the way and not all issues are black and white. Being a step parent means being able to see and take the gray even when you make not feel its the way to go.

There are times when you SO wont be around and it sounds like you have had a few of those and came through it unscathed. Discipline issues will most likely be your biggest hurdle, but as long as you and your SO have agreed on how to handle them it wont be a major issue as long as they have made the kids aware that the rules havent changed just because they arent here to enforce them.
 justwant2no
Joined: 11/14/2007
Msg: 6
Step -ping into it with teenagers !
Posted: 12/9/2009 6:42:04 AM
This is touchy. My SO moved in about 2 years ago - and in the beginning took more of a back seat, laid low, unobtrusive. In the past year or so, he's gotten more vocal - usually in backing me up - as in 'Didn't your mother tell you to ...?!' He also started paying her for good grades, encouraging her to get invovled in sports and activities. It's funny because hers and my relationship has always been more pragmatic (What do you need? Lunch money? Clothes? Help with homework? A ride?) whereas they play around all the time. . . they're both rough-housers, and he's just an overgrown kid himself. I'm usually the one yelling 'Keep it up and somebody's gonna get hurt!'
I'd say the best thing you can do as a pseudo step-parent is be honest, be consistent - and keep your word. Those are the things I most appreciate from my SO. My daughter knows if he says he'll do something, it gets done.
 Notdesper8atall
Joined: 6/27/2008
Msg: 9
Step -ping into it with teenagers !
Posted: 12/9/2009 4:42:41 PM
"In my case , when I was asked permission for something , by being a little stricter than their mother , they would tend to ask their mother beforehand , rather than me. Helped to avoid situations like the above mentioned. Just don't go overboard , too strict - then you're an a$$...lol "


I never had to use this approach but I could see how it would work. Like I said in my earlier post the OP and his SO need to be on the same page before the kids start running through the chapters or writing their own. If you have the ground rules set most other things fall into place. Sometimes you will be the ass just because they don't like the rules even though you werent the one to make them...lol.

As for the kids on the phone to get permission from the bio dad scenario..In my eight years as a step parent I never experienced this but I am sure in some situations it could happen. Then again I never had any problems with the kids biodad we got along well when he was around ( he lived 8 hours drive away). He once told me that since he wasn't able to be around all the time that he was glad someone like me was there to fill in the empty spot. I didn't need to hear the comment but it was nice to know that he felt that way.

Edit : I forgot to mention that with her 3 and my two and our one we had 4 teenagers a pretten and a new born all under the same roof. I got my fair share of dealing with teens of both sexes in that chapter of my life. While it wasnt all a picture perfect story it was definately one I wouldnt have missed being a part of. Good luck to you OP.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 11
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Step -ping into it with teenagers !
Posted: 12/11/2009 8:28:42 AM
OP, it sounds to me like you are off to a great start and realistically, when you do actually move in you will be a step-parent whether you are wed or not and I think when people try to see it like they aren't really a part of the family, that's when there is a problem.

You are being respectful of the fact that this is the children's home by slowly being more of a staple not just in their lives but in the home. My stepson was 11 when I met his dad and I did have a conversation with him fairly early on. He was 150 miles away from his dad and as a railroad engineer, with his crazy schedule, when we had his son it was the three of us and I asked him if it bothered him that I spent so much time with his dad. He told me (as his mother had left him for her sister's boyfriend, yes quite the functional family) that he was happy his father had found someone to do things with. He was around for 8 years before he moved away from home and only once threw it in my face that I was not his mother and he actually started calling me mom a couple of years ago and he has a good relationship with his mother. I don't think it is that hard to be a parent to a child that is not biologically your own but still respect the boundaries that exist because you aren't a biological parent. It sounds like you have good instincts for knowing where this is, that's a good thing.

I think if you are in a situation with either of the boys and an opportunity comes up to sort of naturally have a conversation like that, I think the boys would appreciate it. 13 and 16 are difficult ages and realistically, you have been around long enough that with boys, I think you are over the worst part of adolescence for them. 6th grade seems difficult for boys but they sort of are whacked for a year or two and then there are at least most of the time, normal. But if is good for them to know that you respect them, recognize that it is your home and they are essentially because their mom cares about you, inviting you into their lives to a greater degree. I think at this stage most parents do their children a service is they start shifting to more of a friend in some ways so that kids do talk to you and you are already doing this, I don't perceive that they would get kind of pissy about you trying to "be a parent."

It is a hard line of starting to treat them like adults but still being an appropriate guiding force. I think many people have problems relating to teenagers because they don't really share their own lives with the kids so why should the kids tell them anything. I would have a talk with your girlfriend. I imagine that she trusts you and knows you well enough that if the boys ask you questions about various issues, that you know what her values are and can give them answers that are honest and yet back up the values she wants to instill. It sounds like you are establishing the type of relationship with her kids within which some of these difficult conversations will arise.

For me, I have been honest about when I became sexually active and I truly do wish I had waited longer, not necessarily chronologically but from the standpoint of the type of relationship I should have been having sex in, if that makes sense. So I told them well I was 18 but I don't think I was emotionally ready and at the time settled for sex when I really wanted the good relationship. I have been honest with them about drinking and that I smoked pot in high school and quit because I decided it was stupid.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 12
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Step -ping into it with teenagers !
Posted: 12/11/2009 8:34:43 AM
OP, I didn't read through all of the reposts but with what I skimmed when the little disagreement started, the one big favor you can do yourself is to stop thinking of yourself as a step-parent from the standpoint that when these boys do wind up giving you and your girlfriend trouble, you have to remember that they are not doing anything they would not be doing if they were in an intact biological nuclear family.

My stepson and I had some knock down drag outs and I think his father never really realized that we fought because we cared about each other, and his son knew that. I don't think he remotely saw me as occupying the evil stepmother role even when he was uber pissed at me. He knew that I was butting heads with him because I cared about him and how his decisions were going to impact his life, even if he didn't want to listen to what I was telling him or asking him.

I think there are times when people attribute motives to the children that don't exist, like they are purposely making your lives hell and that it is because you are a step-parent (that thought truly never entered my head) but they are making your lives hell because that is their job, to drive you crazy. You have been around a long time and they are already used to spending a great deal of time with you. I don't see your transition here being that difficult, particularly the way you are managing it.

And one of the things that might be helpful in reinforcing your instincts is reading a few books about teenagers. Much of what they do is textbook teenage stuff. It sounds like maybe yours are a bit different because boys are supposed to like go to their room when they are around 13, 14 and not come out until they are ready to leave for college. If the kids are still interacting with mom and you, you are ahead of the game, lol.

The biggest thing you two need to remember is to communicate and pay attention to your relationship in addition to the deal with the kids. Dad has them some of the time so you have alone time that you two can keep connected. Even though you aren't their dad, when raising children one of the most important things is the quality of the relationship that the parents have and you will essentially be a parent when the kids are with you. Stability and a loving home will help you weather whatever oddities they go through, knock on wood, maybe they will spare you.
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