On your mark”, is a signal to competitors on the track that the race or competition of excellence is about to begin. Many parents who live apart and have remarried to others, treat the parenting role as a competition. Some mothers may ask what the stepmother cooked for meals on their child’s weekend visit in order to compare the meals and judge which was better. Some fathers may make their non-custodial child’s every visit into a mini-holiday filled with some type of unusual special occasion activities such as trips and special restaurant visits and lots of expense on high end toys and electronics. Some stepparents may utilize conversation of the biological parents of their kids by marriage as opportunities to openly criticize and critique their parenting skills. All involved use these “activities” to verify their excellence in whatever individual roles they serve. However, the need for competition or measuring of parenting skills in unwarranted, unnecessary, and invalid. Furthermore, the kids don’t care. I will reiterate, the children DO NOT care. If the children don’t care about the “competition”, what is it that matters?
Love- Love the child or children in your care. Demonstrate that love by providing for all of their needs and some of their wants; keeping them safe; offering guidance where it is needed.
Consistency-Children need to know that there are people in their lives that will be there regardless of life situations. Being a constant figure in the child’s home, school, church, etc. shows the child that they can depend you.
Safety-Teaching the child right from wrong and how to follow rules such as buckling seat belts, locking doors, avoiding strangers, and to older children providing information on STD’s/AIDS and teen pregnancy are all important things to do to keep the child or children safe.
Spirituality-Giving your child/children a strong spiritual foundation is a paramount life skill. It will enable them to cope with life’s ups and downs even in your absence.
So put away the cleats and racing shorts. Parenting, even in a blended family is not a competition. Quite simply parenting in such a family should be a combined contribution to positively impact a child’s life.