I like to believe that some parents end up raising bonus blessing because God gets so impressed with our parenting skills that He just has to expose them to more children. I have been a deputy parent for over a year and a half now and it has been quite a learning curve. I went from parenting a toddler to parenting two more children aged 9 and 12.

The journey hasn’t been easy at all but we are learning every day and trying our best to make it work. One would think that taking over your mother’s parenting role would be easy but every transition comes with its struggles. I have had a few days where I just felt hopeless and ready to give up but the following tips have helped me to get this far, and I believe that it could help you as well.

 

Know Your Purpose

God chose you to parent the kids that you have been entrusted with for a reason. Don’t forget that! And I know that He equipped you for this position and will never leave you to fail. He calls those who are tired and weary to come to Him for rest and fills the troubled mind with peace.

 

Pray and Search The Word for Guidance

Every product has a manual that the Creator sends to the new owner as an extension of himself. We read this manual before we start using the product and refer back to it in times of uncertainty.  No one knows a product better than its Maker, just like no one knows a child better than their Creator. He knows how you ought to discipline them and can give you the strength and wisdom to do it. And we are fortunate to have His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us through every step of this journey. God is able to soften children’s hearts and give the relationship the boost that it needs.

 

Get to Know Your Children

You need to know your children. Know what ticks them off and what cheers them up. Children misbehave now and then and when you know them, you will know what led to that and how to solve it. Now when you have bonus children you need to put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Ask yourself how you would’ve behaved if your world changed as drastically as theirs. Some might be walking around with gruesome images of the past that led to this change and you’re just a constant trigger of those ‘what if’s’ that pop up – “What if this woman is the reason behind my parent’s divorce?”  Even your most loving gesture could push them into a dark space. It could turn into a reminder of what could’ve been a happy moment with their biological parent that they are now forced to enjoy with you. Once you fully understand where they come from and what kind of pain they are dealing with, you will be able to hopefully understand and be more patient towards their behaviour. I am not saying that you should condone bad behaviour but you will be able to handle the matter better when you understand the possible causes of their behaviour. You could perhaps suggest professional help for the whole family or read up on how to best deal with the child from someone who is in the same situation.

 

Let love be the order of the day

All children need a bit of love. They need to know that they are in a safe place to be themselves and be loved for who they are. So let your love be evident in your actions and speech.

 

Discuss Expectations from Both Sides

Every household comes with its own set of rules, so it is understandable for a bonus mom to try to instil her own rules. However, it is important to keep in mind that you are about to break a wall built on a solid foundation, which will not come down in one day. Explain their responsibilities and your expectations of them and allow them to contribute some of their expectations because you do not want to appear to be a dictator. Including them in such decision making will also teach them responsibility and make them feel valued.

Lastly, relax, be patient and enjoy this journey.

Tshepiso is a young mom of two boys, and a deputy mom to my 4 siblings. Her mom passed away in 2019 and, being the eldest child in a black, African family, she automatically qualified as the ‘Deputy Parent’. She and her husband, Melvin, went from parenting one child to full-time parents of 5 children. You can just imagine how that changed their lives! A few months later, she found out that she was pregnant, and would soon be a mother of two boys, deputy mom to 4 siblings and an aunt (mma mogolo) to her sister’s child. So her blog is called Mom and Debuty Mom (deputy with a ‘b’ for beauty) because motherhood is beautiful regardless of how you became a mother.

 

Photo Credit: Tshepiso Musehani

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