Two Parenting Styles

The thing I can probably say I enjoyed the most about having full custody of my son was the ability to parent alone. I would have loved help in the day-to-day, but I truly loved calling the shots and developing a parenting style that fit my son perfectly.  Sure, I encountered his dad’s varying ways of parenting now and again, but for the most part I was able to parent how I saw fit and it seemed to work just fine for my son and I.  I was blessed with a wonderful child who is very mild tempered in nature and is a genuinely good kid.

One of my main reasons for saying in the past, “I never want to be in a blended family” is that I saw the effort it would take. I honestly wasn’t up for the energy it would take to mold two families into one.  Learning different parenting styles, ways of living, habits, quirks…none of that seemed attractive to me so I had resorted to staying single at least until my son was grown and out of the house.
God had other plans. I met my husband, Duane and quickly I knew that there was more to this man than just a friendship. I had resolved to be single, but I quickly found that I didn’t want to be anymore.  Duane had never married or had kids.  He had taught kids who were in my son’s age range and he had 3 godchildren. This was the extent of his “parenting” although he was very involved and it definitely counted as experience. When we married, he was faced with joining the routine of my son and I but some of my parenting techniques were challenged and some of my son’s habits were not accepted as okay. To be honest, some of the things that Duane saw as a need for change were areas that I never even noticed because of the constant go-go-go that I encountered daily. For example, my son would eat dinner and leave his plates on the table and I’d clean up.  Duane saw this as lazy but I just saw it as “quicker if I do it”. So, now my son clears the entire table each night after dinner and then Duane or I (or both) clean.  It’s one step towards him learning independence that I was missing. He’s more capable than I was giving him credit for simply because life was always in a hurry.

We do have our moments where correction is made and Duane and I don’t agree and those times require grace and flexibility.  Duane isn’t wrong in his direction but sometimes I feel like I know my son better and wouldn’t have handled it the same way. We are all learning each other and it takes time. No one is more right than another, it’s developing a style together that works. If we continue to each parent in our own way, we’ll always bunt heads.

Something for a stepparent to remember is that a new relationship with stepchildren is fragile. It can be easily made great or it can easily create bitterness. Be on the same page with your spouse as to what discipline will look like regarding your children but the delivery will be smoother when it comes from the biological parent. I’ve read books and listened to podcasts giving this advice and I can tell you in my own situation that this is completely true. My son knows that Duane and I are on the same page and often Duane is in the room or nearby during delivery, but being disciplined directly from the parent he’s been used to discipline from creates less conflict for he and Duane and is better received. 

You have to learn through trial and error unfortunately for what patterns work well with your family. As you grow in understanding your blended family better, the key word to remember is GRACE. 

-Meg


“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’
springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”

Hebrews 12:15

1 comment:

  1. With grace and lots of understanding, the two styles shall become one. :)

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