Raising a Blended Family


on June 8, 2011

Holy blog posts, batman!!! Now that the un-challenge has gotten going, blogland has exploded with blogs. It’s great and they’re all fun to read, but it’s also hard to keep up! So sorry if I’m a crappy blog commenter now or in the future… I’m trying, honest!

Anyways. So the last post was very gloomy and I was honestly in a hurt place when I wrote it… and then I got all of your comments, and can I just say- you’re all amazing. All of you. Your comments made me realize that this isn’t just something that I’m going through, it’s something every parent goes through and deals with at one point or another. I think that, because I am already very aware on a day-to-day basis of being the non-birth, non-legal parent, that it’s easy for me to feel isolated, like things are only happening because of our unique family structure and not because they’re normal behaviors of a boundary-testing five year old.

However, Shorty and I have talked and we do agree with several of you that our discipline strategies need to be more unified. Sure, we’re great at backing each other up and reinforcing the other parent’s disciplining, but the difference in the frequency and likelihood of discipline coming from either parent is what’s allowing (and possibly confusing) T1 to try to play us off each other, so to speak. We’ve talked about it and come to a rough agreement of what our standardized discipline will be (and I say “rough” agreement because, with kids and the varying unique situations they present, it’s impossible to have a one-size-fits-all discipline strategy). But from now on, we’ve agreed that when T1 starts to push boundaries and has unacceptable behavior, she gets one verbal warning that includes something like, “[Insert action here] is not okay, and you know better. The next time you choose to do that, you will be going to time out.” That way we’ve clearly outline the consequences of that particular behavior, and then next time she does it, she’s in time out. One warning, no more and no less, and timeout progresses to time in her room in her bed if she doesn’t stop said behavior after a couple time outs. Hopefully, this unified strategy will be less confusing for her and help her to understand that there are consistent, constant disciplines for misbehavior and that she should redirect her behavior accordingly… and also help her to understand that she can’t expect sympathy from the non-disciplining parent when the other parent punishes her, and that neither I nor Shorty are in any way “mean” or “meaner” to her than the other one, since we’ll both have the same discipline strategy.

Whew. That was a long explanation… I’ll definitely keep you updated. In other T1-related news, we’ve also decided that this is a good time to introduce more responsibility, as she’s about to be six. She doesn’t really have any “defined” chores, but we do ask her to make her bed and pick up her dirty clothes, things of that nature… so we’ve decided to make a chore chart, with stickers for days she completes her, and a reward for so many stickers. T1 has been known to say “why do I have to clean my room, why don’t you clean it for me?” and to throw fits about making the bed, etc… so hopefully this style of chore chart will help her to start to understand “responsibility” and will give her incentive to want to do these things. Her rewards will be anything from “movie night with us” to “trip to the park” to “painting” or something… not candy or some other unrelated treat but something more substantial, to show her we appreciate the time she’s invested and as a reward we’re willing to invest more quality time with things we don’t always get to do.

…and now, I feel like I’ve spent this whole post harping on my daughter (not my intention) so we’ll end it on a happy note, with pictures of our recent family afternoon outing at the local creek. T1 had a grand ‘ole time, and was absolutely adorable doing it. 🙂

T1 sporting her self-trimmed bangs and her three missing teeth!

...and posing with every ounce of sass her five-year-old self could muster!

Shorty (who hates water, kinda like a cat ;-)) stayed nice and dry on the shore.

and of course, Shorty and I had fun too (Shorty left, me right!)



2 responses to “So…

  1. prettyisa says:

    Chore Chart! That sounds so fun–I’ve always been highly motivated by stickers. I think your approach sounds good–you’ll all know what your roles are, and how the consequences will play out, so everyone will be able to relax and not think about discipline nearly as often.

    • lezbemoms says:

      Yeah, hope so!!! The funny thing is it’s not that we (or I) are/am discipline freaks… it’s just kinda been a flare up issue these past few days, that I’m hoping can flare right back down again now that we’re addressing it.

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