Until that day I had incredibly difficulties saying no to my fusion children Oscar and Andrea. I was somehow afraid of them. Afraid for their response to me. Or more accurately, I was afraid that I would not handle their response in an “adult-like” and authentic manner.
I did not dare to correct them. Instead, I chose to ‘hide’. Oozed and insinuated things. Said things between the lines. If it had been my own boys, I had reprimanded them without hesitation. And without feeling bad about myself.
Very unfairly, I took my irritation out of my own boys, hoping it would rub off on Oscar and Andrea. That they could sense I was irritated and gave them an indirect hint.
It went on like this until the day I looked out the window and saw that Andrea was about to take off on her bike WITHOUT a helmet. I ran out the door and gave her quite a spontaneous bashing, where I clearly explained that I was not going to debate with her whether or not she should ride with or without a helmet!
I gave her the helmet and went back inside. Watched her through the patio door, where she was about to buckle on her helmet firmly. Suddenly I realized to my great surprise, the largest and broadest smile on her face. Super happy she took off.
That smile and that moment made something crystal clear to me. To set boundaries and show how we adults want things to be is to care and it is an expression of love.
I had with my anger and my demands shown Andrea that I loved her. It made her happy and secure.
The episode made me look at and revise my role as parent and fusion parent to all my four children.
I discovered that:
I asked the children too often about their opinions and gave them too many options. Do you like this? Do you like that? Would you like meatballs or chicken? Do you want to go here or there? Etc.
I concluded that:
Children like to have set boundaries, so they know what they are to expect. Everything should not be discussed or negotiated.
The parents (also the fusion parent) should not be afraid to set the agenda. Because when we do that, the children don’t have to try to figure things out, guess, ask or sense what is right or wrong.
When we live up to our roles as parents and clearly define the rules of the game, we give our children space and the right to disagree with us.
The children know where we stand and where they have us. It is in my opinion, security and care. Even if children do not agree and think we are a little tough.
Maybe you can recognize yourself in my story. And let yourself be inspired. For me it was a relief (I also hope for my fusion children) that I found the courage to live up to my role as a parent in their lives.
I’ll give you 3 tips on how you can practice living up to your role as a parent towards your fusion kids.
Remind yourself that practice makes perfect and be kind to yourself if you are a chicken (like I was) and hide from your fusion kids.
Practice with small and easy subjects first e.g. you can start by enforcing the rules at the dinner table.
If you have an issue that is important for you to establish rules about, but you do not really dare to get started, ask your partner to help you along the way. Let him/her be physically next to you, the first few times you introduce them to kids. It will give you peace of mind.
If you are afraid of speaking out, stop and ask yourself, what and why are you afraid of? What are you afraid of would happen, since you do not dare say no? Are you afraid that the children would distance themselves from you? Become mad at you? The fact that your partner might get upset with you? Try to find a way to reduce your anxiety. What can you do creatively not to feel so anxious?
I hope with this blog to have inspired you as a fusion parent and parent to (dare) become even more confident in your role.
Remind yourself that when you are true to yourself and live up to your role, then your kids know exactly what you stand for and how you want things to be.
You make it easier for them when they know the boundaries. They can just concentrate on having a good time. You have set them free.