It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men – Frederick Douglass
Part of a blended family means you have no control over what your bonus kids (or your own kids) hear or what they are being taught in their other parent’s home.
I learned from the very beginning to allow your kids to be kids. What that means is to not involve your kids in your personal issues with the other parent, to not speak negatively about their parent, AND allow them to speak freely about their parent without reacting.
Sometimes we think just because we don’t talk negatively about the other parent that we’ve done our part. However if we don’t allow our kids to talk about their other parent freely in your home it is actually more detrimental to the kids then you may actually know… and I would know because we dealt with that for many years and saw the effects on them.
By staying quiet about one of their parents, kids lose who they are. They feel forced to deny half of themselves. Or worse yet they feel forced to lie about the other parent to make their other parent happy. To put it into perspective; the kid is made up of both their mom AND dad… So by not allowing them to talk about their mom or dad while in the other parent’s home or even allowing them to speak negatively about their other parent just because they think it’ll make their parent happy forces them to disvalue a part of them, literally half of themselves! And mentally how is that not damaging? It is! Greatly so.
So when my bonus kids have told us they try not to talk about us in their other home because of the reactions they receive but when asked to talk about us they tend to lie because that’s what they believe their other parent wants to hear was disheartening. But as I said earlier that is not something I can control. What I can control is how I act and react in my own home.
Allowing our kids to talk freely in our home creates trust and safety towards how they feel towards us. Without interrogating our kids as some parents are known to do, our kids freely tell us how they are doing and what’s been going on. While it doesn’t always happen, mind you again we cannot control what they are being told to withhold from us or how they are trained on what “story” the other parent wants to hear, but again creating that safe home where your kids feel free regardless of what they are being told will help them in the long run.
And maintaining consistency actually works. Our kids disclosed us many private issues they were having which ultimately led us to getting those issues resolved.
So let’s build strong children and kids… so they don’t have to be repaired when they are older. Love on them and let them love their other parent as well, despite how you feel.