I’m 14 years old and my mom and dad have been divorced since I can remember. I don’t see my dad much and that’s fine ’cause he’s not very good at being a dad. But now my mom’s been seeing this guy for a while now and tells me she’s going to marry him. There’s nothing wrong with the guy, but he’s pretty boring, and, well, I don’t want him and his two part-time little brat kids in my house all the time. I can’t move out yet. What do I do?
Lost In The Crowd
Short Answer: Ride it out.
Long Answer: The problem with moms is they’re really really good at looking after people. And some moms need to look after as many people as possible. This doesn’t mean she loves you any less. It just means that she feels like she needs something else in her life to make her happy. You sound pretty mature about the situation; play this right and it could work well for you. If I were talking to your mom, I’d be saying something completely different that what I’ll tell you. This answer is for your specific question.
As much as this is going to be a huge change for everyone involved, you (and your new step siblings) don’t have a choice in the matter.
So the plan for now has two parts:
One, don’t change anything you don’t have to change yet. Moving? New school? New neighbourhood? All things you have no say in. But you can control what you wear, what you eat, and to a certain extent, your schedule and hobbies. Focus on the things you can control and don’t have to change while the transition happens. Big fast changes are very stressful – and remember, it’s going to be quite stressful for your mom and new stepfather too; they might not even realize that yet. But for the most part, sit back and wait things out. Give them 6 months to a year to see how things are working out. Try to stay out of the way. Try to help out – babysitting could take a big chunk of your time – try to make friends with the newbs – they don’t know what to make of you either. You don’t have to accept everyone and everything with open arms, but try your best not to fight it. It won’t look like it from your point of view, but the whole situation for you is incredibly temporary. It’s just bad timing…
And two, and more importantly, find an adult you can trust and confide in. An aunt or uncle would be ideal, a teacher, pastor, family friend. Tell them what’s going on for you, and ask them if you can keep their number close so you can call or text anytime you need to vent and ask advice. You’re going to need an outlet that’s outside of your immediate family. (Even if you were close to your dad, he’s not a good choice here – he’d be trying to protect you too much and cause more friction with your mom.) A family friend will listen and then try to offer advice on how to best handle each situation as it comes along. You’re going to need that.
And down the road, you can always drop me a line or two with specific questions if need be. 😉
The bottom line is, everyone in your family is going to go through an adjustment period. While one person may be a little frantic for two weeks as everyone moves in together and then not seem to care, someone else may start having temper tantrums two years later. It’s a process. And one day might look pretty good while the next six weeks could go sideways. Bide your time. Start looking at plans for moving on with your life – consider what you want to do after highschool and start working toward that. Going away to college could be a great get away – and you’ll be surprised how fast the next four years are going to go.
Hope that helps,