Raising children is challenging! I sometimes wonder how I managed to raise my kids without anyone getting hurt in the process and know that I’ve done a good job. And it’s been a journey from raising kids before video games and the emerging social media. One of the key things I found to help me in my parenting is communication.

When my kids were younger, they were outside a lot and then came along the video games. Something that I had put in place was to limit their game time to just an hour a day. This became a bit challenging when the youngest spent a ton of time in the hospital. And I discovered that your parenting style can and will evolve with each kid you have.

It’s interesting because I grew up in an era where we let the house to go to the playground unsupervised with a time to be home for dinner. We rode our bikes through the streets and played hockey in front of our house. But now times have changed. I’ve always been friends with my kids on social media and have had access to their accounts to make sure they are staying save and have the hard conversations about what to do and more so what not do to in the name of safety.

Talking to my kids about events that are happening in the world, about using condoms and being transparent with some of my struggles as a teen has helped guide me. I fully believe that communicating with the kids openly and honestly has served me far more than constantly saying “no you can’t do that because I said so”. It’s far more beneficial to give reasons and explain your stance on any given situation.

When I blended my family, one of the things we established early on is that the relationship became before the kids. Say what? Yeah, you read that right. When merging families, it’s easy for kids to play against one another when you don’t show up as a solid front together. This is a partnership and it needed to be treated as such.

Being a team in a blended family is key and that again means open communication which included expectations. It’s not been easy balancing co-parenting when every house has different rules but there is a way to make it work with communication.

And followed by this is that I was never their friend when they were growing up. I was first and foremost their mother. I wasn’t their maid or housekeeper. Everyone had a part in our home from cleaning their own rooms, doing their laundry and help maintain the home with assigned chores. As a mom of boys, I wanted to make sure they could take care of themselves because don’t want them to expect their partner to do it for them.

But none of this wouldn’t have worked had I not learned how to communicate with my kids and then with my partner.

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