A very dear friend – let’s call him John Doe – remarried very late in life. He had gone through a lot – multiple partners, two broken marriages, two vasectomies, one vasectomy reversal, four children from two marriages, and more. At age 55 he found his soul mate in Jane – a divorced woman with two kids aged 9 and 11. She agreed to marry him so long he promised not to start a family all over again. Though my friend agreed, he felt hollow inside because he could not father his own kids with his woman. Anyway, he accepted the hand life had dealt him and vowed to treat Jane’s kids like his own and raise them efficiently.
This time, his marriage worked. He’s been in it for ten years now, and this is what he shared with me over a cup of coffee:
Lessons Form Life: How To Prevent Children’s Problems
- John started off on a positive and cheerful note. He wanted the kids to grow up to become productive Americans and the first thing he did was to make friends with them. Gradually, he started telling them stories of what could go wrong when kids take to drinking and smoking or when they indulge in bad habits. His real life stories left an impression on them.
- John knew that 9- and 11-year-old kids could suddenly become edgy and snap at people because of hormone-related issues. He gracefully tackled bad behavior on hormone days by gently asking the kids what was wrong and if he could help.
- Though he was kind, friendly and gentle, John also let the kids know who was boss. Jane and he set down the limits that the kids could not cross. The limits were neither slack nor restrictive or strict. The couple made sure that the limits would make the kids stay out of trouble without turning into rebels.
- The couple always made it a point to bond with the kids in between homework, friends, games, etc. They found time to eat together thrice every week, go for a walk sometimes, watch a movie together, and go on vacations. This brought the kids closer to the parents.
- John taught kids how to manage their stress. He steered them out of stuff like sex, drugs, etc., and put them on the right path. He gave up smoking and drinking because he did not want his kids to see him doing things that he was preaching they shouldn’t.
- John played psychiatrist to the kids. He gently motivated them to discuss their sports and after-school life with him. He promised to give them winning tips, which he did. The kids loved his advice and warmed up to him.
- Finally, John and Jane kept an eye on their kids’ pals by making “friends” with their kids on social media sites.
This is the true story of how my friend John helped his kids grow up to become fine Americans. It’s been a long time since John started parenting all over again and I know that he has done a great job. His children are very caring and loving, and John and Jane are as happy as can be.