Be that authoritative, loving parent

Disciplining children in general can be tricky, especially a non-biological one. I have heard cases of orphans misinterpreting scolding from their guardians. Neighbours, relatives and spectators often, too, criticise the spanking of an orphan, claiming it to be abuse. The orphans, too, capitalise on such situations to misbehave.

Sometimes there seems to be a dilemma of a stepparent in disciplining a daughter. Clearly, this is a case of communication breakdown between the couple in the interest of the girl they are raising. I may understand the mother’s seemingly inadequacy in addressing the stepdaughter’s apparent indiscipline and it might be that the issue has risen between her and the father before, but to no avail. With time, I assume that the constant nagging about it leads to their own strain in the relationship. Admittedly, it is difficult to raise a child that is not yours, in particular when the child has been raised differently elsewhere as well as when they are a product of a broken marriage.

However, experts argue that proper mechanisms need to be put in place when divorcing. I believe that these mechanisms must not end at divorcing couples. Those intending to re-marry must also be counselled in terms of raising children from previous relationships. Nothing is ever perfect and all hope is never lost when rebuilding one’s life. There have been, and still are, success stories of stepparents and stepchildren.

All children, step or otherwise, need to understand the responsibility and authority of parents. They need to be told the need for adherence to such without undue resistance, let alone interference from biological parents. Working together can go a long way in achieving proper upbringing. There is need for adequate communication between parents before deciding to raise non-biological children for consistency.

Of course, there will be those evil parents who capitalise on the fact that the child (or children) may not be their own; hence, exert undue pressure and abuse. That, too, must not be tolerated and all concerned parents and relatives must bring it to the attention of relevant parties in stamping it out. What we need to realise at the end of the day is that controversies and mishaps will always arise with biological as well as stepchildren. Efforts towards their upbringing must be the same.

 In short, we need concerted efforts in raising children to avoid misunderstandings. n

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