Below are some real-life stories we've written to help young people who are dealing with parents having new partners. They are based on our personal experiences and what has happened in our lives.
We hope our stories will show you that you're not alone in what you are going through. We understand how you might be feeling about your parents and step-parents, and the difficult position you are in, as we are in a similar situation.
The story of a step-dad
When my parents split up, suddenly a strange man was helping my mum move in to our new home. He would stay for hours drinking with my mum and he would be known as Uncle ***** - the actual uncle of my best friend at the time. My mum would laugh at everything he would say. Everything.
Eventually, they came clean and later in life I found out they had been having an affair behind my father's back. My mum and this man (who is due to become my step-dad later this year) moved in together about two years ago, and now he lives here on weekends and is away at work during the week. He can be okay sometimes, but my opinion on him changes quite frequently.
The story of a step-mum
When I first met my step-mum I liked her, but within the first year of her moving in I realised I hated her, as my whole life had changed and I was spending less time with just my dad. As she was trying to get to know me, I thought she was trying to be my mum and replace my real mum. But she wasn’t, she was just trying to be my friend, and then my STEP MUM - NOT MY REAL MUM!!!
So, I told my dad what I didn’t like about the situation. This really helped, as now when my step-mum goes out, me and my dad do stuff together like go to the movies, play video games or visit the park. Little things like that mean a lot, as before my step-mum moved in, me and my dad watched a movie every Friday night. My step-mum understands that sometimes I just want to spend time with my dad and she respects that!
Now my dad and step-mum are getting married and I can’t wait!!! When my mum got a new partner, I knew what to expect. I knew he wouldn’t be evil like the stories I thought I knew! I realised he’s not bad, he’s more like my friend and so we get on really well.
What feelings might you have towards step-parents?
The main thing to remember if you are having trouble with step-parents is to talk to someone about it. If you feel comfortable, then you may want to try talking to your parent one-to-one about their partner and explain what is bothering you. Hopefully, your parent will listen and take what you have said into consideration. They may then go on to discuss the situation with the step-parent concerned or may organise a family discussion. Even though talking about these things may make you feel awkward or angry, it is important to try and remain calm. This will make it easier for you to explain how you feel and for your parent to listen.
The way you feel towards your step-parent depends completely on how well you get on with them. If you get on with them quite well, the chances are you'll be happy to be around them; whereas, if you are constantly arguing with them then you may become frustrated or even angry with them. All the feelings you are having are totally normal and ok - whether it's anger, upset, jealousy or confusion. Often, trying your best to get along with your step-family can make things much better. This can take time and means you have to accept what's going on, but making an effort to get to know your parent's new partner or your step-siblings can make a real difference.
The good and the bad things about having a step family
1. More money in the household
2. More presents for Birthdays and Christmas
3. More Attention
4. New family members to get to know.
5. Happier family
6. Cool new sibilings
7. More parents to care about you
1. Knowing your parents may have been unfaithful
2. Sharing things with step-siblings
3. Over keen step-parents
4. Less/divided attention
5. Having to share your parent(s)
6. Over-crowded home
7. Family decision making becomes more difficult