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When the Stepmom Becomes the Teenager

One of my challenges in life is learning not to take offense to things. I think I’m improving, but there are times when I let things get to me rather than taking them for what they are and letting them roll off my back. Often there isn’t any offense intended, so it’s just my own sensitivity getting in my way.

As an example, this weekend my husband, stepson, and I went on a spontaneous ski trip. One morning as we were headed down to breakfast, my stepson was leaving the room without shoes and wearing a knit cap. I asked him to get his shoes and remove his hat. He whined about the hat and said he didn’t want to take it off because he hadn’t brushed his hair. (I think it was probably that he thought the hat looked cool, which it kind of did.)

My husband said, “Does he really need to take it off? This is a ski lodge. There are probably a lot of people down there with hats on.”

Though part of me agreed that he had a good point, the part of me that replied said, “Ok. Overrule me. Whatever,” and I started down the hallway. Real mature.

Sure enough, down at the breakfast buffet, other people were wearing hats. I cringed as soon as I saw it because I knew what was next.

On cue, my stepson said, “See? Lots of people have hats on.”

Grrrrr. I don’t remember now what I said, but I’m sure it was another “whatever.”

In a second I went from being the stepmom to being a temperamental teenager. Yikes. I was so frustrated that I didn’t know how to move on gracefully. Instead I focused on eating my breakfast and quieting my mind. Midway through breakfast, we were all smiling again.

How do you handle your own inner teenager? Do you have tips for (step)parenting with grace?


  1. Have you seen this link about not taking things in a stepfamily personally?

    The author at cafe smom has set up a 21 day pledge - I'm thinking it might be helpful for me and maybe you would be interested too?

  2. The parent becoming the teenager is not just a step parent phenomenon. From time to time, I find myself acting like a 7 year old. I do find that when I apologize for my behavior and talk with Sam about why her behavior wasn't right either - we both are better for it and the "maturity slip" happens less frequently.

  3. stepmumoftheyear- That post is great! I knew about the Stepmom's Toolbox show from the other night, but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I can't wait. It sounds like it was full of great advice. Thanks for passing on the post link.

    Alina- I have found myself having those same conversations with my stepson. It does help. If I could only nip it in the bud before it got to that point... :)


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