I think of one of the most challenging aspects about being an bonus mom is communicating with your bonus children. I can only assume that the communication flows differently in families whose bonus children live in the house with you. My bonus children do not live with us.
Communication can be challenging for many reasons but in for this post, I am only addressing two. 1. Opting to treat the other parent based on who they used to be or what they used to do instead of whom they’ve shown themselves to be now. 2. The households involved preferring not to have their in-house business shared with the other(s).
On the surface, this may seem harmless. It may even seem acceptable. However, here is the problem. 1. Treating someone based on how they used to be and not who they have grown to be now because that is most comfortable for you is not right regardless of the circumstance. 2. Having in-house business places the ones who dwell in two different households in a state of confusion.
I have two challenges currently before me regarding communicating with two of my bonus children. One child lies to us on a regular basis and the other does not think that they can express their feelings to us. It hurts me that my children act and feel this way. My immediate thought is how can I fix this? Typically, in our household, correcting a lying child is very easy. However, bonus children require some delicate hands because their may be other reasons why they feel they can and should lie to you about something. What we have found is that if the bonus child knows something that one parent does not want the other parent to know, the bonus child will lie to the other parent. The child may think they have to lie in order to protect one parent from the other. They may also think that in order to be obedient to one parent about what they can share with the other parent, they think their only choice is to lie. We have also found that when we correct a child during one of their visits, that child has a longer time to internalize and process what happened in that isolated incident. Because that child does not live with us, we don’t have the days in between to make loving assurances to that child which can make them feel like they cannot share their feelings with us.
Daunting isn’t it. Sometimes it seems like whichever path you choose, you are wrong. But that’s just a feeling. It’s not the truth. The truth is, conceiving a child out-of-wedlock is a sin (2 Cor. 12:20-21). The child is not a sin but the act that brought the child into existence is a sin. Because of that, the situation is going to be more difficult than raising children that are born and raised in wedlock (the covenant of marriage). Just like with all of the other twist and turns of life, you must submit yourself and your will to the Lord and let Him direct you in where ever He wants you to be or do (Prov. 3:5-6).
This situation is so delicate and can cause you to feel so inadequate that you must cling to the Word of God or else you will get eaten up by all the propaganda out there telling you that all your efforts are crap. Bonus moms already have a bad rep. Cinderella set us up; not to mention the old saying of “being treated like a red-headed step child”.
I have a good Christian girlfriend whom I chat with about my bonus children. She herself is a bonus child and has really help guide me in what my children might be thinking. She is a great sounding board. Recently, she gave me a piece of advice on how to handle the lying. I am so grateful because, what she said allows me to discipline the lying but does not cause the child to be disobedient. WHAT A RELIEF! I am so grateful.
I had to commit to prayer and I am still waiting on God’s guidance about how to deal with our child feeling that they cannot share their feelings with us. Once I was made aware that this was an issue, I immediately wanted to fix it by reassuring our child that we love them, they can tell us anything etc etc etc. As I was thinking about when was the best time to have this conversation that may be awkward for a child to hear, it was as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Why don’t you ask me?”. DUH! I mean really! When am I going to grow up enough to know that praying first is a requirement not a friendly suggestion? So, as I seek God’s face on when, what, and how to address this, I will keep you posted on the progress of both of these challenges as they unfold.