Some time last year, I did a blended Families Series but never got to talk about one of the most challenging aspects of a blended family. Discipline. Allowing a stepfather to discipline the children is something I found to be challenging in a blended family dynamic, especially at the beginning of my relationship with Nino. Children will always be children, they will push boundaries and be naughty, so discipline will always be a big part of parenting, and it can be very tricky for a step parent.
I was blessed to have Nino’s aunt play a role in advising me on this very important topic. She told me something which really changed me…
“If you want Nino to be the children’s father completely, you can never say to him that they are only your children when it comes to discipline. Allow him to be a father, allow him to love the children, but most importantly, allow him to discipline the children too. Make it easy for him to father the children. He can’t be their father if he is not allowed to discipline them.”
I took her advise diligently, it was medicine to my soul because I am a very over protective mother. I struggle to discipline my own children, never mind anyone else.
But Nino doesn’t joke with discipline when it comes to children, he is very strict and I am always trying to negotiate with him on behalf of the children. The children will have their way with me, but when I say, “I will tell Nino”, they start to behave.
He provided that balance to the family, and the children fear and respect him, yet they love him dearly too, because he is also funny and playful.
Well over Easter Holidays, there was an incident with my first born son. He is a normal 12 year old who who doesn’t quite like doing homework or any school work. If he had his way he would be on the X-Box twenty four seven. He always gets excited when its half term because for him it means more hours on the X-box. Well, at the beginning of the Easter break, we found out that he had been so behind in his homework, and Nino gave him a very hard punishment. He was banned from playing the X-box for a whole week, even I felt sorry for him. If he spends even a day without X-box, for him it is the ultimate torture. So a week without the X-Box was very harsh.
My punishment for him was to write an essay, as he doesn’t like writing. I told him to write me a 500 word Essay which was titled “The Best Day Of His Life”.
He chose to be more grumpy with me and said, “500 words! I dont even have a best day of my life, so what on earth am I going to write about! Can I write about my worst day instead?”
I was so angry with him, and kinda hurt that he was saying he has never had a best day since he was born, lol, so I couldn’t help but use the opportunity to preach to the boy!
“How dare you be so ungrateful at life! So are you trying to tell me that you have nothing to thank God for? Even me, who didn’t have the best childhood still had best days of my life! When I was in High school, I won an art competition and was awarded $100 which was a lot of money back then. I beat white boys from Private schools who had better art training and equipment. That was a very special day in my life. In primary, I also won a cake in a ruffle, after dreaming that I was going to win, so that was very special too. Then you sit here and say you have never had a best day of your life! What about the day you won the first prize at school for designing a Flag in your whole Borough? So many children wanted to be in your place, but it was you who won. Surely you can think of something positive which has happened in your life for the last twelve years! I am giving you till tomorrow afternoon! And I want that essay done, not the ‘Worst Day Of Your Life’, but ‘The Best Day Of Your Life!”
With that, I stormed off his room, leaving him looking miserable on the bed.
The next day, he came into my bedroom, I was lying on the bed, and he handed me the paper with his Essay. I was expecting some sarcastic disaster of an essay, but my heart melted away as I read the topic, and tears started flowing down my face. I was so moved because I had never read anything like it from my first born son, especially how he saw Nino’s discipline from his own eyes…his essay went like this…
” The Best Day Of My Life, By Shingi-Dave…
The best day of my life was when my dad came to live with us. He made things better for us. We always used to play FIFA 16 and 17 and he always used to win. He would also win mortal combat too. He also bought us a car as well, he sells a lot of stuff to make money.
Before my Dad came to live with us, me and my family used to take long walks to the park for picnics. Most of the times we were just at home or eating. Life was boring. But now we live in a new house and we go swimming which is really nice because I love swimming.
I have two little sisters who are sometimes naughty. I also have one big sister, two little brothers and a mum and dad. Sometimes my Dad goes to the park with everyone and plays football with me and my brother.
My Dad loves smart clothes and watches and Gucci. He likes African food and rice and fish. He really helps out in the house, it is so useful.
He makes everyone in the house so happy, and makes my mum laugh a lot. He is a great dad to everyone who is in the family.
He also loves singing, smart clothes and Netflix. Even though his punishments are more harsh than my mum’s, he is still nice to have around the house.
That is why having my Dad come to live with us was the best day of my life.
I called Nino and showed him the Essay. His eyes welled up. Nino is very strict with his punishments, he never lifts a ban on anything and he doesn’t pardon easily. But he called Shingi thanked him for the moving essay, and told him that the X-box ban was lifted with immediate effect, if he finished all his Homework off course, which he did, and that very day he was back on the X-box.
And we had the most amazing Easter Holiday ever, probably the best time we have had since Nino came to live with us. And it was truly amazing, how my son’s Essay bore witness to the blessing Nino is to our family, especially when it comes to disciplining them, he is the most strict but loving Daddy.