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Why Won't My Stepdaughter Let Me Be Her Mother?

Building Blocks

Behavior that is uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward parents or other authority figures to the extent that it interferes with daily functioning is called an oppositional defiant disorder.

Stepfamily advocate and president of the Stepfamilies Association of America, Dr. Margorie Engel's reply to the question is, "That's not the right expectation to place on either the stepmother or the stepdaughter. If the stepmother's intent is to replace the mother, she is going to create a lot of friction between herself, her stepdaughter, and her husband. The most you should hope for is to become friends. A stepparent functions like an adult friend and confidante."

"No one should expect a perfect relationship," Engel continued in her interview. Reality is somewhere between what you read in the tabloids about the wicked stepmother and what you see in idealized programs like The Brady Bunch. She cites the confusion over roles as one of the major issues that face stepfamilies.

Engel does think that stepmothers who don't have biological children of their own deserve a special hug. "They have the hardest job of all, pour in all that attention but will never be their stepdaughter's mother. They have built up this fantasy over the years that simply can't come true."

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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