Our immediate environment and the health of our relationships play a crucial role in who we become and what we will do in life.
Children are more concerned with the following:
- Do I feel safe and protected?
- Do I feel loved and appreciated?
- Do I feel welcome and accepted?
- Do I feel valued and included?
- Can I be myself without fear of judgements?
- Am I free to express my thoughts, feelings and opinions?
- Is there an understanding of who I am and what I need?
- Am I getting gentle guidance and correction?
- Am I being treated fairly?
- Am I happy?
How to handle the Instant Family
- Get to know the children. Try to find out what they like and do not like, what their favourite things are and how they like to have fun. The more you talk and share and partake in activities together, the closer the bond! This also lets them know that you are accessible.
- Discuss with your partner how you will be raising, disciplining, and rewarding the children. Where possible, use the same strategies as your partner so as not to be seen as being a lesser parent as well as not to give the children reason not to take one of you seriously.
- Establish family traditions and values that are unique to who you are and what you envision for the future. These don’t have to be adopted from anywhere else, create your own new family which is a mixture of your different personalities, backgrounds, languages, life experiences and dreams.
- It matters how your partner treats other people including women, his previous romantic partners, his family members, his mother, the cashier at the grocery store etc. This gives you an indication of who he is when he is annoyed, stressed, under pressure or afraid, how he communicates and how he handles conflict. This will give you a clearer indication of who he is and if he can be relied on when the going gets tough. Relationships are all about the good times and the bad times.
- Encourage transparency. Openly discuss matters affecting each family member and what resolutions will be taken to avoid misconceptions and assumptions. These regular family meetings are important as it encourages the family to tackle issues together as well as to bond.
- Maintain open channels of communication with the biological mother or previous guardian of the children. This gives children a sense of security if the one who they have known all their life, has access to you. Such historic background also helps give you a clearer and more detailed picture of who the children are and how best to raise each of them.
- Trust your mothering instinct. Whether you are a new mother or not a mother, all women have that instinct to love, nurture and protect children. Do not feel less of a mother because you seemingly have little or no experience. All mothers face new challenges and adventures each day with growing children, they all learn as they go. Forgive yourself for not being perfect.