How to Be a Stepmother to a Teenage Girl

By Gabrielle Nicolet

Being a stepparent can be difficult. If you understand your role in the family and are sensitive to your stepdaughter's feelings, it can make the process much easier and may lead to a close bond over time. Learn the best ways to form a healthy relationship with your stepdaughter.

Be patient. As with any relationship, developing a relationship with your stepdaughter will not happen overnight. You should be patient and allow the process to unfold over time. Your stepdaughter may be feeling anger, frustration and sadness regarding the situation with her biological parents and having a new person coming into the family. Adolescence is a notoriously difficult time, so being sensitive to her feelings will be very important in forming a bond with her. You should be understanding about the fact that she is going through major changes in her life.

Know your role. As a stepmother, you should play the role of ally and supporter in her life. You should never attempt to replace her biological mother. It is also important to maintain proper boundaries with your stepdaughter. You should seek to enforce the household rules that are already in place without overstepping your bounds by being overly authoritative. In time, you can make a place for yourself within the family and serve as something of a role model and mentor to your stepdaughter.

Communicate with your husband. It is important for you to be clear on the rules of the house and what the expectations are for your stepdaughter. You should respect your husband's role in the family and support him as her primary parent. Allow your husband to be the main disciplinarian in the family whenever possible, but also support his decisions regarding family issues, including punishments. As with any couple, you also should openly communicate any questions or concerns you may have regarding your stepdaughter so that those issues do not end up negatively affecting your marriage.

Support her relationship with her biological mother. Although you may feel anger or jealousy toward your stepdaughter's mother, you should support the relationship. If possible, you should try to develop a relationship with her mother, because you will be co-parenting with her whether you like it or not. It may be uncomfortable for you, but you should do anything you can to make the transition easier for your stepdaughter. By showing that you support and respect her relationship with her mother, you are also showing your stepdaughter that you respect and care about her and have her best interest at heart.

About the Author

Gabrielle Nicolet has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. Nicolet is also a certified nutrition, wellness and weight-management consultant with American Fitness Professionals and Associates.