When falling madly in love, we imagine quiet dinners, adventurous outings, white picket fences and 2.5 kids. When we are thinking about those 2.5 kids and the dog named Rover, we rarely think about the realities of co-parenting. Sure, we may talk about what religion we will raise the children to be or how we would like them to be educated but how often do we talk about who’s going to be “good cop” and who’s going to be “bad cop?”
In my house I’m the bad cop. Much to my dismay, M spoils the kids rotten. He’s always saying “but they’re kids. This is the time they can eat whatever they want to” or “Honey why are you making them go to bed?” (uhm maybe because it’s MIDNIGHT?!)
M doesn’t grasp the fact that raising children here is so very different. No they can’t roam the streets alone like you see so many children in India doing…there are pervs on the streets. No they can’t eat big gigantic bowls of Fruit Loops for breakfast, lunch and then gum for dinner. They need to fill up on fruits and veggies and NO- Law and Order, First 48 and Criminal Intent are not appropriate viewing choices for ten-year-olds.
The foods here are filled with preservatives and considering our children are already genetically pre-disposed for obesity, it’s all the more reason they eat fruits and veggies and chill on the sugar. While I’m trying to make sure they choose healthy snacks, M is bringing gummy worms, candy bars and ice cream home. I’m telling them to go to bed and he’s letting them stay up after I go to sleep then they are dragging during the day. I limit t.v. time to two hours each day during the summer and weekends only during the school year. You get the picture. He’s like the cool uncle and I’m the overbearing auntie.
This may sound cute but really after a while, it’s a royal pain in the ass. It’s a constant discussion and even though I sit and explain to M how differently parenting has to be here in order to raise successful children, I can tell he just doesn’t get it. Fortunately, mama’s rules always end up winning out in the end but it’s not always easy. When I was cautiously observing how M. would be with children, I thought these shows of love and affection was so special. I wasn’t thinking how they would be if they were it was every day behavior.
Five years in, we’re making small steps of progress. I’ve finally gotten M to stop contradicting me in front of the kids. He’ll give me little looks but most importantly, we wait until after the kids are out of the room to make most decisions so we can present a united front. That’s not to say that M. doesn’t cave in to our daughter’s “papa pleasssssseee” or our son’s male bonding rallies because he does. It just means he’s more aware that kids these days don’t come in packages that you water, feed and bam…successful adult.
Culturally, there are things M can’t fathom having to deal with as a parent. Whether I like it or not, the kids’ bodies are changing and I would much rather have them hear from me or M about those changes than from other children or out on the street. No, those conversations weren’t easy but whether I like it or not, our children are exposed to so many things from friends and peers. I’d much rather they have the proper info than to be misinformed. M can’t believe parents have to have these types of conversations with children at all. Trust me, I wish I didn’t have to but life is life and being unrealistic won’t get me anywhere.
I may rail against M’s parenting decisions sometimes but I have to admit I have learned a few things about gaining new perspective.The fact of the matter is that there is no handbook to proper parenting and what may work for one parent, may very well not work for the other. M and I are carving out a new parental path here. IMHO, there just needs to be balance and consistency. Until the next blog lovelies.
Welcome back. I am surprised that M. is not more strict. Maybe he just wants the kids to love him; therefore, he buys them too much junk foods. You are correct to watch the sugary foods. My son was not allow to roam anywhere he wanted.
Ann14, that could very well be the reason..I’m not sure but I do know the kids are very open about their love for him. They are always doing cards or drawing pictures. Sometimes we laugh at all the “extras” he gets because we know it comes with a catch.
Co- Parenting becomes an ongoing game between couples in Indian scenario. The game of good cop and bad cop being played in front of the kids.
I am not exposed to the western family dynamics, but in case of most of the Indian families, the game is played before the kids.
The roles of Dominant, rescuer and victim keeps changing, and its a subtle form of forming alliances for the future in the Indian context. And this dynamics, you can see in the Indian movies, soap operas.
And you are absolutely right, children should be isolated from this game of dominant, rescuer and victim.
The conflict between parents should not come to the fore in front of the child. They learn about parenting from Parents, and certain things are better when unlearnt by a generation.
Wow Veeeeeeeeh! What an awesome post and I agree with everything you said except that in the case of me and M, he’s always the “rescuer” and lenient one it doesn’t wax and wane between the two of us as to who’s going to play which role. We’ve talked about it over and over again and not a great deal changes except that he is getting much stricter with them about homework and chores (that he assigns…not mine) in the recent weeks. Thanks for your feedback, this was great food for thought.
Darn good! the way you have managed to convince M and look after your kids could be lesson for many parents, going thru similar situations.
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I’m with Ann on that one.
There is no doubt that M seems like a great stepfather,but I will agree with you about one thing: PLEASE don’t override what I say. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer that there should be equal imput on how to train up children, but I hate it when my suggestions are overridden. I find it to be very irritating .
To me, they make it seems that I’m some kid who don’t have any concept on how to raise kids( I have none,but you know where I’m coming from). I figure that were two adults who wants the best for the kids. You both are good parents( Though if I were M, I wouldn’t want to buy them too many sugary food. The last thing that you guys need is kids with no teeth by the time they are 30 years old) and you both have some good things that you can contribute to the kids.
PS. If my mom would have married, I would wish for a stepdad like your husband.
I read this post a few weeks ago. Im glad I did because he prompted me to ask how he felt about discipline. We are thinking of having children so I wanted to make sure we are on the same page. Apparently Indian whip their kids as well. So in that aspect we have similar backgrounds. So we agreed we would be a united front! Thanks for this also!!!
Hi There. My name is Jameel and my boyfriend Jimmy is Indian(Punjabi) and I am african american. It feels so good to fing another Indian and black couple out there. I have been looking for soooo long I found a few pages, but as we all know…they were negative…and then I came across your blog (Thank God lol). I am looking to share experiences as well as get advice on blindian love. Thank you. 🙂
I am so glad that I came across your page first. I am considering on marrying an Indian from Delhi. So any pointers would be greatly appreciated. We have so many things in common and he is so driven. He is about 8 years younger than I though (I’m 33 years of age and he is 26). I don’t look my age at all because he thought at first I was 28. So thank you so much for this blog!! Like Naomi, I am looking to share experiences and advice. Have a blessed day to everyone..