Becoming a stepparent can be both a reward and a challenge, though older stepchildren may resent a new authority figure in the house. Learning to bond, cooperate and negotiate with a teenage stepson may be an ongoing struggle. All relationships take time to form and grow, and a relationship with a stepson is no exception. Patience and sincerity can help a stepparent navigate the road to a better relationship with a stepchild.
Get to know your stepson's interests. Does he enjoy playing video games, writing or another hobby? Consider spending an afternoon gaming with him or take him to an arcade. If he refuses your offer, smile and consider asking him to spend time with you again a few days later. Enjoying a mutual interest together can help you both get to know one another.
Analyze your own behavior. Do you appear controlling or bossy of your spouse and children? A stepson's behavior may be a reaction to a stepparent's behavior. Calmly and firmly communicate your expectations or disappointments of the children living in your home. Acting as your spouse's support as he handles parenting his children, rather than being the disciplinarian, may also benefit your relationship with your stepson.
Know when to give your stepson distance. If you are having an argument, let him know that you will return after you calm down to talk it out. Remain willing to listen to his perspective -- does he feel overwhelmed with responsibility? Learning how to compromise with your teenage stepson, and give him some independence, will ease the tension between everyone.
Get to know your stepson's other parent. Fights involving ex-partners can also cause rifts between stepparents and stepchildren. Learning to get along with your partner's ex may earn you the respect of your stepson. Whether you dislike the ex or not, keep the criticism to yourself. A stepson likely will not appreciate criticism of his mother or father.
Speak to your spouse. Is your stepson rude, aggressive or otherwise hurtful toward you? Tell your spouse about each incident that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. She can talk to her son about his behavior and how she expects him to treat you. Set these boundaries together -- if your stepson cannot yell at you, yelling at him will likely fuel his resentment toward you.
Give all children in the house the same sets of rules, whether or not they are your biological children. Make an effort to enforce the rules fairly. A stepson may grow resentful if he feels a stepparent's children are frequently given a pass on poor behavior.