This weekend was a tough one. My middle child turned 15 years old. She didn’t ask for much, just some fun with nerf gun wars with our family, and a coconut cream pie instead of the traditional cake. We started “Nerf Assassin Wars” this Christmas thanks to my dearest friend Heather.
The hard part was my niece was with us for two days. She is a head strong 8 year old. Her Daddy is my half brother..and we didn’t grow up together, so our morals and values differ a bit. Discipline in our homes is different also. He is a product of my Dad’s military style up bringing. Not at all God focused, my Dad was a Marine Corp Sargent. All my brothers, being 10+ years older than me..really didn’t know me much. Many of them find them selves addicted to some type of substance. This particular brother has made something of himself, even through his mistakes and wild hairs(he loves the ladies).
He is a single Dad, working as a contractor for construction, roofing, etc. He does pretty well, but as every contractor knows, you have your tight spots when work is slow. So it’s feast or famine for him most of the time.
All in all, he is learning to be a better and better Father to my niece..but boundaries is a super hard subject to discuss with him. She is a bit spoiled. She hates discipline and rebels often. (**note here: have more than one child..raising a single child often creates a spoiled child that never learns compassion or generosity toward others. )
This weekend was tough with several rebellious instances, but I learned if I don’t allow her to argue, with a stern NO..and move on with my task or conversation..she won’t buck it. But there was one issue I think we had that really was hard for me as it is the backbone of our family health policies. “Eat your vegetables”..my brother specifically said to me before we took her home from Pueblo to our house in Colorado Springs, that he is not really high on giving her vegetables. This meant..he doesn’t really advocate it. He said it was due to all the chemicals they put on our vegies. OK..so organic?
Here is the interesting and most difficult for me to understand. He gives her soda. Wha? OK..so you know about chemicals on commercial vegies..but not chemicals in soda? So when it came time to have lunch and dinner, we always, always have vegies with every afternoon and evening meal. (My husband has cancer and I have thyroid issues) She sat and cried..and hid her face in her arms, folded on the table. At least she didn’t have a crying fit on the floor. Progress was made in the last few years, obviously.
Well, normally, any other child, especially in my house hold, would be FORCED to eat their vegies. But my brother specifically told me not to make her eat them. Yah, I know..you are thinking what I am thinking. But here is the thing…..
She is not my child, niece yes, NOT my child. As much as it pains me..her rules for life are set by her parents, that does not include me.
Yes, two bites are not alot to ask, but here it is again..he is the rule setter for her life, not me. So in respect for him as her father, I must respect what he has set down for her..or not set down, as it were. My kids understand that, so there were not some issues with them. I have explained the concept of good health if you eat vegies, and my 9 year old gets it. She still hates most vegies, but she gets it.
Many people, including my hubby, would debate on this as my niece is at our house, under our care, under our roof, staying with us, under our rules. But! I had to let go of that maternal need to control her life, to mother her, as it were. I had to say no to my flesh and accept the set of rules that her father put down for her. It doesn’t matter if I agree.
It’s about control..and letting go. I know that talking to my brother will be useless. He is stubborn..hence her stubborn behavior(she is like her Dad).
See, her behavior for disobedience is not JUST about getting away with it. There is a deep gap in her life since her mother left when she was little. She has holes in her heart and her spirit..and I’m not really a constant part of her life yet. So I don’t have a say..yet, for those things, no matter how strongly I believe in those principles for good diet and life. Her hole, is more important right now..and she needs to see she is safe with me first..then, later, we can influence her with good diet as she spends more time with us.
Letting go for now, opened up an opportunity to get past the glass wall around her heart. Nothing worth doing is EVER easy. Ever!
*Once again, I am thankful for my well behaved children and that they see how NOT to behave.