Everyone has their own way of parenting; tried and tested means of getting the best out of life for both yourself and the child you’re responsible for. Everyone does it slightly differently and, because different doesn’t mean better or worse, everyone ends up with different results. So long as your children are raised with love and raised with kindness I think everything else comes second.
I was responsible for deciding on Miss Rose’s parenting style. When her bio-dad was around he respected that, as the primary care giver and (let’s be honest) the more likely to have a strong opinion on the subject one, that it was my final say. After he left it was entirely down to me. We have together worked out routines that have come and gone, changed and adapted, until we have a system that works for us. We have well established rules, patterns and life styles. Miss Rose and I had our life together worked out.
When The Boy came into the mix he had to fall in line with how she is raised. In the time we have been together the changing and adapting has continued, but the basic structure and rules have remained. This was over two years of work between mother and daughter which has to be allowed to continue and, because he is understanding and patient, he slotted in without question. Opinions were offered when asked for but basically he stepped back and unquestioned me as leader.
Now it’s my turn.
Because we spend more and more time with Z, and the children are expected to function together, the differences in parenting styles are often quite apparent. It’s easier when you’re stepping into an already functioning household, but when two collide and two differently raised children with two different routines and different expectations are expected to function simultaneously it can be tricky.
As this is Miss Rose’s only home, and Z’s second, there was a degree of Z having to fit in with Miss Rose as she is here full time and thrives on cosistency. But still, I have to stand back from the situation and allow his mother and father’s parenting style to take the forefront.
It works but it’s tricky sometimes.
For instance, Miss Rose’s fixed bedtime had always been a priority for me. As I am with her all day, every day, I get to bedtime and crave adult time. Alone time or time in the company of other people with a firmer grasp of the english language who enjoy watching American Horror Story more than Peppa Pig. My mother never had that with my brother and I. She worked full time so evenings were her child time, her time to be with us and be “mum”. Because Z’s mum works full time she has the same attitude, and he is used to staying up until she goes to bed, so suddenly finding himself put to bed at a child friendly time with Miss Rose was a shock to the system and is a rule he sometimes accepts with a degree of irritation, and at other times fights in new and creative ways. Part of me wants to do what I would do with Miss Rose in that situation, but I can’t, it’s not my child. It’s their child.
I’m a bit of a control freak and like to be in charge of my home. Outside the home not so much, but here I am a bossy cow. I know full well that how Z is raised works for them and is just as good as how Miss Rose is raised, but because it’s under my roof I have urges to take charge and do it my way.
The Boy managed this back seat taking with Miss Rose with grace. He is an active and involved parent, takes responsibility for her, disciplines her, reassures her and loves her, but all within the existing structure of how I have set out. I am following his lead with Z, allowing Z’s parents to decide how and why things are done they way they are done, but being the non-bio parent of a child you are partly responsible for the caring and raising of is hard! My house but not my rules. A kid I love and care for, but not a kid I choose the rules for.
Fortunately The Boy and I are both respectful of both one another as people and one another as parents. Respecting that choices are made different to our own is easy, and we have two pretty awesome kids to show the successes of different parenting styles from.
This is still all new and everyone is still getting used to the blending of families and lives. In time everything will be the new normal. The way things work for us now. Until then we adapt, we develop and we learn.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!