You begin to ask yourself many questions such as; did I fail to bring these children up in the right way? Is this something they learnt when their parents were still with us? What message are they trying to communicate to us as parents? What message are they sending to our biological children? Are we being unreasonable in demanding the same level of good behaviour from them as we demand from our children?
We have found out that when we treat all the children equally in all matters it becomes a lot easier to discipline them using the same measuring stick. We have insisted that there will be no favouritism when it comes to discipline and problems of bad behaviour. There may be times when we will need to bring in other relatives to assist us when our inherited children misbehave.
In such cases, we have often told the misbehaving children that if they do not mend their ways we may have to inform the larger family so that the extended family can make decisions regarding the culprits. Recently, we had to threaten to send misbehaving inherited children to other relatives in the rural areas who may do a better job of disciplining them.
This they did not like at all. They wanted to continue to stay with us in an urban area. They therefore promised to stop playing the fool and we advised them that they had received their final warning. Any further acts of misbehaviour would result in them being sent kwaTete without further discussion. This seems to have resulted in them behaving well and we hope that this kind of behaviour will be sustainable.
Children are very shrewd observers of their parents’ behaviour. They know when they are being discriminated against; they know when they are being treated fairly. We found out that some inherited children have this ugly attitude that says you two are not our parents and so you must be careful how you handle us.
We dealt with this sort of negative attitude very quickly and put it to rest. If the parents who inherit children are not careful, they will find themselves being made to adjust their own standards when it comes to dealing with misbehaviour. In our cases the two inherited children came from both sides of the extended family.
After discussing matters on our own, we decided to invite a relative from each side of the extended family and together we dealt with the naughty children – making it abundantly clear to them that they were endangering their stay with us. What was even more amazing is that our own children had never behaved as badly as these inherited children did.
In fact, our own children had attempted to talk the naughty two out of their misguided behaviour, but all was in vain. We are talking about children that are now well over 21 years of age and so the situation can be quite serious. We hope some of these ideas will help you with your inherited children.Post published in: Opinions & Analysis