Advice Column, Health, Parenting

My Divorce Discipline Dilemma

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I didn’t realize that a year after my divorce , with a group of unruly children on my hands, that I and I alone had contributed to their lack of discipline.

My once , well mannered ,obedient children were now bordering on juvenile delinquents that I hardly recognized and most defiantly did not like. 

As always, we are able to see others faults and never our own and it wasn’t until someone pointed out to me that I was about to just give in to save myself the “fight” , that I realized I’d become a “guilt ” mom. One of those parents who just gives in .

So why you may ask , if I’d successfully brought up 6 amazing children and with so many years child care experience did I make this fault?  Was I just lazy? Did I give up on parenting? Had I forgotten to put my children first? 

There are many factors , from stress to financial and lifestyle changes . We suffered the loss of not having our family structure complete, and I personally missed my other children who are provinces away from us. Our lifestyle changed as I went from a full time stay at home, home school mom to suddenly working the 8 hour day and the children attended school for the first time. Thrown into the mix were special needs , learning disabilities , homework ,after care issues , school runs , a new province , no support system and trying to be both parents, emotionally , physically and financially ,  to my children as they adjusted to this upheaval. I don’t believe I ever intentionally didn’t put them , their emotions or needs first but truthfully, it became easier to give in than to “fight “and see them “hurt ” all over again. I was also exhausted , overwhelmed and trying to keep it together when everything was falling apart around me.

The biggest problem with this is that I created a catalyst for myself. We lost our familiarity and structure. Struggling to gain a daily routine my children began to act out looking for their safe comforts. 
I was unable to see this , amidst the chaotic new lifestyle we began. 

So , how do you fix these issues?

To fix a problem you first have to see it . Then acknowledge it and take ownership for the part you’ve played in creating the problem. Being responsible by changing what’s wrong to ensure the problem is resolved is a lot easier said than done. That takes courage , resolve and patience.

I had to remind myself , I had created this problem over a year , it wasn’t going to fix itself overnight. And yes , I still find myself tempted to just give in . But , seeing how much calmer our home is and watching my children return to their loving selves is enough to keep me from giving in.

It took some tough love on my eldest son, 17, but firm boundaries and following through with my words and actions were an asset in reinforcing family and home rules . It took many tears , mostly mine . Some guilt and hours of beating myself over for being a bad mom .

With the younger children , 13 and 11, it was easier . By setting stricter rules and not allowing myself to get caught up in the emotion behind the misbehavior I am able to keep control  and of course following through with what I say. 

We will never have the same structure or family dynamic as before but our home rules haven’t changed . We finding a new groove to slot into, one that works uniquely for us. 

And yes , it is that easy.

We all make mistakes as parents . None of us are given a rule book to follow and all the advise in the world is just advise if you haven’t walked that road. 

My children and I are on a road we’ve never traveled before and we doing it one day and one mistake at a time.

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