Issues With My Stepparent

Published: March 01, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,

Has a step parent the right to shout at me and control me if I don't want him to and am still in contact with my dad?

Signed: Issues With my Stepparent

Dear Issues With my Stepparent,

TeenHealthFX understands that building a relationship with a new parent can be difficult. Some strategies that you may want to consider include: 

  • Speak with a trusted adult. If you are not comfortable speaking with your biological parent about this situation, identify another trusted adult, such as a coach, teacher or school therapist. Speaking with this person  will allow you to get the help you need, so you do not have to deal with this situation alone.  
  • Identify a friend or peer who also has a stepparent. Talking with him/her may help you work through difficult emotions, and allow you to recognize that you are not alone in the situation you are currently dealing with. 
  • Keep a journal. Writing down the various changes in your life, as well as the emotions that come along with those changes, may help you cope. 
  • Find a way to get to know your new stepparent. It may not be easy, but by asking your step father to engage in an activity together, such as going for a walk, playing a sport or watching a movie, you can get to know one another better and may begin to feel more comfortable around each other.   


You mentioned that your stepfather shouts and can display controlling nature. Next time you find yourself in a disagreement with your stepfather, keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Explain how you feel calmly.  
  • Ask for help from another party.  
  • Be willing to make compromises.  


If, at any point you feel that you stepfather is behaving abusively, you can call the Child Abuse Hotline, available 24/7, at 1-800-422-4453. 

Ultimately, building a relationship takes time, especially with a new stepparent. Change is difficult, however, resources, coping strategies and trusted adults are available for you.  

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area. 

FX recommends the following resources for additional information:

Signed: TeenHealthFX