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Parenting Stepchildren/My caretaker doesn't show affection or love

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Question
I am a 15 year old guy. I have lived without any parent figure for a long time now. I now live with my first cousin. She has kids of her own, 2 around my age & one 5 year old. I see her show them affection at times. She will hug and kiss them before school, and such. She never shows me any kind of love or affection. She never even talks to me. I try to sit next to her on the couch or at the table, but she just ignores me. If I don't say a word she won't. She always talks to everyone else; its hard to get her to stop talking sometimes. But never to me; and half the time when i talk she doesnt even respond. And she scolds me for minor mistakes but lets her kids act however they want. I just want her to sit with me and talk sometimes. She never spends any time with me or shows any attention at all. I need some affection too; just a big hug sometimes. Physical affection helps me so much since i never had it from my parents; it always makes me so happy.  I guess im seeking that kind of love from her that my real mom never gave me. I don't know how to tell her all this. Ive triee but she didnt get the message i wanted; she kinda made me feel stupid. How can i tell her i feel this way; how would i even bring up the subject? I want a close relationship with her, but she keeps pushing me away. I need to tell her that i feel starved of love and affection, but its difficult for me to express my deep feelings. What can i do or say to express these emotions to het?

Answer
Hello,

It can be difficult to adjust to the experiences that you are having. I advise that you convey your feelings to your caretaker while understanding that the affection she shows to her children may not readily translate and mirror the affections she is showing you. Perhaps you can find a good time to talk with her and express your feelings. Be sure to use your "I" messages when speaking as to not to ascribe blame to your caretaker. Be patient. It sounds as if the living arrangement is an adjustment for everyone. Also please note, that you can express yourself to her without having to wait for her to always do the overt expressions as well.  

Parenting Stepchildren

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KaRae' Carey, PhD

Expertise

I can answer questions that pertain to challenges stepparents face, as well as challenges with adjustment and integration of the stepfamily. I can answer questions about psychological, emotional, and social changes that affect adults and children in stepfamilies. I can answer questions that have to do with the emotional and psychological impact of stepfamilies pertaining to child support, visitation, or divorce.

Experience

I am a stepmother to one boy and one girl. I have been in their lives since they were about 8 years old. I have first-hand "real life" experience with 'baby mama drama' and strains in marriage due to the complications and challenge that being a new stepmother presented. Bio: Inspired and motivated by her experiences as both a stepdaughter and stepmother of two children, Dr. Carey founded the Triangle Stepfamily Institute and is committed to empowering stepfamilies. She has first-hand experience both personally and professionally, with the difficulties people may experience when adjusting to stepfamily life. Dr. Carey believes that with the right support, and armed with knowledge, living harmoniously within a stepfamily is possible. She has dedicated countless hours to understanding the delicate functioning of the stepfamily and has produced several articles related to stepfamily relationships and functioning. Dr. Carey has studied with research pioneers and clinical leaders in the field of stepfamily life. She has also conducted independent research about stepfamilies with a focus on the concerns of the stepmother. She has also earned certification as a stepfamily counselor. Dr. Carey has also earned seven specialty certifications. Dr. Carey’s specialty certifications include being a nationally certified professional counselor, an accredited clinical supervisor, a credentialed distance counselor, board certified health services professional, school guidance counselor, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and a certified stepfamily counselor. For more information on services, or to request Dr. Carey for counseling, interviews, or speaking opportunities, please contact her through her web site, www.strongstepfamilies.com or by calling 919-454-7857.

Organizations
National Association of Professional Women American Counseling Association Licensed Professional Counselors Association of North Carolina

Publications
ezine.com, expert author http://ezinearticles.com/?Parenting-Through-The-Distance&id=6864611 http://ezinearticles.com/?Three-Strategies-for-Building-a-Better-Relationship-With-Your-Husbands-Ex&id=6752660 http://ezinearticles.com/?Stepmother-Challenges:-Part-One&id=7079719

Education/Credentials
Oakland University, Rochester, MI Ph.D. in Counselor Education 2009 Dissertation: “The Experience of the African American Stepmother: An Exploratory Investigation ” Honors: Dissertation nominated for 2010 Outstanding Humanistic Dissertation Award Cognate Concentrations: Child and Adolescent Mental Health & School Guidance Counseling Major Advisor: Robert Fink, PhD Madonna University, Livonia, MI M.S. in Clinical Psychology 2002 Madonna University, Livonia, MI B.S. Psychology 2000 Cartified Stepfamily Counselor, Stepfamily Foundation, 2011 • Licensed Professional Counselor, State of North Carolina, (6893) • National Certified Counselor, NBCC, (234907) • Credentialed Distance Counselor, CCE, (966) • Approved Clinical Supervisor, CCE, (ACS01058) • Board Certified Health Services Professional, CCE, (1472) • Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist- Provisional- State of North Carolina • Licensed Bachelor of Social Work, State of Michigan, (6802084095) • Limited Licensed Psychologist, State of Michigan, (6301012018) • Social Worker Registration, State of Michigan, (6803075415) • School Counselor license (K-12), State of Michigan, (SC000554) • School Counselor license (K-12), State of North Carolina, (XXXXX2200)

Awards and Honors
•Kappa Gamma Pi, National Catholic College Honor Society, inducted 2000 •Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, inducted 2005 •Robert Brown Memorial Fund Scholarship, 2005

Past/Present Clients
Step family members, children, adults, teens

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