Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Reconstructed families and relationships

The diplomacy of relationships in reconstructed families is a minefield of politics. Huh? Too much of a mouth full, but that’s what we are dealing with in the combination of new family units. Divorced parents with your kids and my kids and our kids. Recipes for conflict situations…
In our situation it is only my kid, and our kid, but it is still… I should call it, ultimately difficult!
There was an altercation between the teen and her stepdad (we never call him that, he is Pa Dries – something which Arnia herself decided to call him a year ago). The teen got upset about a small little word “Please” which was not used. And then it exploded. I usually try to stay out of the altercations, but sometimes you have to step in for your children. Although I am being called “undermining”, I feel that I can’t leave her to fend for herself.
A big star goes to Dries for being the adult and sometimes saying sorry when it is needed.
I was thinking that in reconstructed families you learn more about respect for each other, and taking each other’s feelings into account. It is something which would not always automatically happen in normal families (if there is such a thing as normal). We have to be more diplomatic towards each other. Not a bad thing for a child to learn when they are growing up.
The question is: How far do you let it go as a parent when the other parent tries to discipline the children in a manner that is alien to your own way of discipline? I have read that the other parent is supposed to leave the discipline to the biological parent. I think it has got some merit, but I also like the idea of a united front which the parents should have. What do you think about discipline in reconstructed families?


  1. I can totally relate to you and your post. I'm a 41 yr old with a 15 month old son and a 16 yr old son and a second marriage. Hubby is Dad to the 15 mo old, and called Dad by the 16 yr old. We have this issue in our house... when Hubby decides to set his foot down about things that I wouldn't be so firm on. We talked about it a few times, and basically what we worked out came to this: Always, we should present a united front, so that there's no second-guessing, or playing one side against the other by the children. We're still working on creating an easily recongizable signal, so that if one of us has issue with what the other is saying, we can stop the conversation (or disagreement), and the parents can go discuss the problem before sticking ourselves up to our necks in a solution that doesn't really work. There have been times where I'd have liked it if Hubby had left the discipline for particular problems to me only, but in the end, I'm glad he hasn't. We're a much better family as a result.

  2. The sign idea is a good one! Thanks!

  3. As a single mom I found your article so interesting Karen because I know I'm going to be there one day!


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