Do you remember what it’s like to have a 14 year old around? Or maybe you, like me, are in the throes of parenting in your midlife. What a joy it is to be able to be a Step-Mom in a blended family with teens!
Here’s what made it so fun for me. As the Step-Mom you get communication, hugs, cooperation, a fun-partner, intelligent conversations, books to share, and a friend in the kitchen, etc.
Unlike their real Mom or Dad: They get frowns, the “push-away”, arguments, non-cooperation and “I know what I’m doing and I don’t need your help!” UGH!
What surprised me as a parent? I remember the struggles I had with my own son at 14, who is now away in Chicago and out of college. I spent a lot of those years trying so hard to get through to him and worrying about his behavior, when all I needed to do was just love him. Not so easy when it’s your own!
But, when you have a step-child, like my step-son, it’s so much easier to just love em. It’s easy to see the pattern, to know that he’s going to react to Dad then to just watch and stay available when he needs to talk or release his frustration. I helps when they really enjoy your company too, but that’s easy for JJ and I.
I can see now how easy it is for parents to get so triggered with teenage behavior—it’s so triggering! But the kid is just trying to assert themselves, show you they are real people, and can make their own contributions. Even though you know their brain isn’t fully developed and they can’t plan ahead intelligently, they can surely show you their expertise in the moment and live it out totally. So, I just try to keep open in my heart and my head and go with the flow of the moment. It can really be joyful! By staying open to the experience or the next possibility, I never would have imagined could happen.
Now that he’s 17 and on his way, I can look back cherishing my the years I had with Joren. What a special young man he is. I have written a special letter for him when I see him all grown up to tell him how special it was for me to be his Step-Mom. Being his has been one of the unexpected blessings of my life that I’ll share with anyone who cares to listen.