Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances. Harder still, is parenting another’s children, even if those children belong to the person whom you love and trust most in the world.
But some challenges are more difficult than others. For a stepparent, dealing with rude stepchildren can cause resentment and tension not just in the stepparent/stepchild relationship but in the marriage.
While it is not expected that a child will fall immediately in love with their stepparent, they must know that they are not allowed to be disrespectful. You must not allow insulting or rude behaviors to become entrenched. Instant love is most often a myth. However, respect is a way of life.
It’s important to acknowledge the reason (or reasons) for the disrespectful behaviors. Children may still be grieving the loss of the biological family. Perhaps the time variable was not enough for them to work through their own feelings regarding the dissolution of their parents’ marriage.
Children may also feel jealous of the new stepparent. When couples marry, there is an added permanence not implied in dating or living together. Once the temporal nature of the relationship is left behind and the stepparent is a fixture in their lives, children are faced with the realization that they will continue to share their mom or dad.
Also, loyalty to the absent biological parent can cause hard feelings. A child may want to draw near to a stepparent but feels that desire may compromise their mother-child or father-child relationship.
Or, it could be normal adolescence rearing its ugly head.
Whatever the reason, the issues need to be resolved before they cause permanent damage to the stepfamily unit or ultimately, the marriage. To take on the trials facing your family, you must forge ahead with a united front, with the biological parent taking the lead and learn how to deal with rude stepchildren.
FAQs About Rude Stepchildren:
Is parenting hard for stepparents?
Parenting is hard for stepparents because it involves taking care of someone else’s children, who may be still processing their emotions and anger over divorce of their parents. When stepchildren refuse to accept stepparents it doesn’t only strain their relationship with you but in your marriage too.
How do I stop my stepchildren from being disrespectful?
You will not be able to have a functional relationship with your stepchildren instantly—let alone making them fall in love with you or making them show respect to you. Children need a lot of time to adjust to the new reality brought upon them by their parents. Where you would have to show a lot of patience, you should also make sure disrespectful behavior doesn’t become commonplace in your house.
Why are kids disrespectful toward stepparents?
Unless you find out why children show disrespect to their stepparents, you wouldn’t be able to rid the stres prevailing in your house. Major reasons for their disrespectful behavior relates to the fact that they require time to grieve the loss of their parents’ marriage. Perhaps they need more time to understand that their parents had their reasons for abandoning their marriage, and it has nothing to do with them. Children feel they owe it to their absent parent, a reason for them to reject their stepparents.
How to make stepchildren respect you?
You have to respect your stepchildren and understand the fact that they are going through a rough period in their lives. “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” – Robert Fulghum. Being stern and repeatedly telling them that they need to show respect to their stepparents will not work. You would have to show them what respect looks like by respecting them and understanding their pain.
Should I make rules for my stepchildren?
You should make rules for your stepchildren and treat all children alike if you want to maintain a good relationship with them. Rules communicate to children that they are all equal and no one gets preferential treatment. This promotes harmony and help resolve issues and ensure everyone’s needs are met. Be consistent with rules and the consequences that flow from their violation.
Are stepchildren disrespectful because they cannot express themselves?
Children act in a disrespectful way when they feel confused because of difficult situations and find no other way to express their feelings. When you help them process their feelings and teach them to communicate whatever troubles them, they feel cared for and loved. You should teach them to channel their anger, frustration and fear in an appropriate manner. Listening to their concerns and making them understand conflict in a loving manner goes a long way in fostering a healthy relationship.
How do I make my spouse and children get along?
Allow your children and spouse to develop their relationship at their own pace. If you lose patience and try forcing a relationship on them, it would only trigger pent up anger and frustration.