Ask Amy: 'Stepmonster' from hell makes teen's life tough

FresnoJune 21, 2013 

Dear Amy: I am a 15-year-old girl.

My dad married Satan, and now I have the "stepmonster" from hell. She and my dad got into a fight last week, and she has ignored me for an entire week. When I try talking to her, she gives me the arctic shoulder.

I want to confront her about her behavior. She's speaking to my dad now but acts like I don't exist.

So what am I supposed to do?

— Cheesed off

Dear Cheesed: I'm sorry you are having this experience at home. Frankly, I also feel sorry for your father and stepmonster from hell. Stepparenting is the most challenging form of parenting, and you sound like an angry teenager.

All the same, it sounds like the adults in your household could (and should) behave differently.

For instance, I wish one of your parents had written to me for help. My take is that just underneath the tough outer shell you present there is a confused and tender teenager who really wants to live in a peaceful, happy household.

Unfortunately, I cannot help your stepmother to be more mature and a better parent.

For now, stop trying to confront her. Aim for a conversation instead, and ask your father to help you to have it. You need some alone time with your dad, and your (new) family needs to have some positive experiences together to build upon. Getting through this rough patch could ultimately be one of those good experiences.

If you know you have done something specific to contribute to these problems, you should admit it. Write down your experiences and feelings, and consider using your writings as a guide when you're talking.

Share this Q-and-A with your father and tell him I think your family could use outside help in order to blend successfully.

Dear Amy: I am responding to the letter from "Toker," the writer who described himself as "an old hippie" addicted to marijuana. He said he got laughed out of 12-step programs because people didn't consider his addiction "real" or serious enough.

I had the exact same experience when I sought sobriety from my daily pot habit. Fortunately, I found Marijuana Anonymous, which is oriented toward pot users.

— Also addicted

Dear Also: Dozens of people have responded with stories of being "laughed out of chairs" in recovery programs. I find this shocking but not surprising. Marijuana Anonymous (marijuana-anonymous.org) uses a 12-step model for recovery from pot.

 

Send questions to askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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