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I remarried in April and now have two step daughters ages 11 and 13. Their mother passed away from cancer in 2003. When we were dateing the girls and I got along great, they really needed a woman in their lives especially at this age. But now that we have bought a house and live together they seem to shun me. How can I get them to trust and respect me?

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Asked by MandyBNT at 8:16 AM on Jul. 6, 2008 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (6)
  • A friend of mine is going through a similar situation. I thought it was really cool, when one day she sat down with her new step daughter and brought out all of HER old school pictures (embarrassing and otherwise), family albums, and mementos she picked up along the way. She then told went on to tell stories that related to each picture...the good, the bad, and the ugly, and just really showed her that she was once a teenage girl, and while the times may be different, the feelings are often the same. This opened up all kinds of dialogue...feelings, secrets, fears, goals, etc. She and her step daughter have been very close ever since. I think it was great showing her SD just how human and humble she was, as she didn't come off as a "know it all" or a replacement for her biological mother.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:05 AM on Jul. 6, 2008

  • It's hard. Before you were Daddy's girlfriend. Now you're the Step Mom. I had a hard time with my step father when my mother remarried. It wasn't because he was a bad guy or anything. It was just that I resented his trying to be my father when he wasn't.

    My advice would be to give them time. Talk to them, offer to do things with them, etc. Don't jump right into the Mommy role. Oh by all means be a parental figure but don't give them the idea that you're in any way replacing their mother. That will just make them hate you.

    I like what the above person said about the photo album and whatnot. That sounds like a wonderful way to bond with them. Stuff like that is what will bring them closer to you. The respect will come, it can't be forced though.

    Answer by amethystrse at 11:20 AM on Jul. 6, 2008

  • They're teenagers... don't take it too personally. Just try to connect with them, but don't let them walk all over you.

    Answer by crazysocks830 at 2:24 PM on Jul. 6, 2008

  • Wow this must be tough. Talk to them about their mom. They'd never want to think you were replacing her ot forgetting about her, you know? You could even rent that movie with Susan Saranden and Julia Roberts, you know the one?

    I'd say find out the girls' love language (like if they love getting gifts or affection). Also do small things and start traditions that you think might brighten their day.

    Answer by TXdanielly at 8:33 PM on Jul. 6, 2008

  • ps
    I liked the photo album thing too. I remember when I first saw a picture of my mother-in-law as a teen, at the beach. It was like, oh she went to prom, too. She was a new bride once, too...

    Answer by TXdanielly at 8:35 PM on Jul. 6, 2008

  • They are teenagers. Life is a struggle.
    Be there for them and always be consistant with them.
    Don't ever let their mom's memory die (help them to keep it alive)
    They may feel that you are her replacement (maybe you can help them to understand you will never ever replace their mom but you will be the next best thing)
    I wish you good luck
    I am a step mom also and sometimes it is just hard.
    I have found honesty and consistancy to be my key to happiness with all of us.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:57 PM on Aug. 23, 2008

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