If you think step-children are difficult, wait ’till they turn into teenagers.
Ok, that’s a generalization, and it’s not something I would ever wish on anyone, but it seems that teenaged step-children act out, rebel, and push away from their step-parents much harder than towards their biological parents.
I wanted to give some encouragement to all you step-parents out there, that it probably is a phase that teenagers are going through, and you are the most convenient person to lash out at. In fact I think they only lash out at the step-parent if there is a solid step-parent-child relationship, and deep down inside they know that the step-parent will put up with the lashing out. My sense is that there are less teenager issues when the step-parent and the step-child are, and have always been, not very close to each other…. but that’s just my theory.
Most importantly, if a teenaged step-child is causing a lot of turmoil and distress, with the biological parent feeling that they are stuck in between, and the step-parent is heart broken that the step-child is acting out towards them, DO NOT let this damage your marriage. Always stick together as a team, be understanding and considerate of what the other person is going through, and show them support.
A good rule of thumb is always have the biological parent deal with the teenager. The step-parent can back off from enforcing the discipline and just maintain a pleasant, positive relationship with the teenager, as if you were just their aunt or uncle. I hope this helps reduce the stress in the marriage and allows you two to enjoy each other despite the teenager going through their rebellious phase.