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Jesus` Birthday -- Part 2 of 3 Sacred Children Series - By Skye Thomas

 

I had visions of my daughter for about five years before she finally showed up. She turned out exactly like the little girl in my dreams who had haunted me all that time. I was so very glad to see that she was alive and real. I always thought she must somehow be more magical and special then other normal kids.

Her older brother had told her about reincarnation when she was only two years old. She would later yell at me during her tantrums, "Next time I`m born, I`m not gonna be your daughter!!!" I`d always laugh at her and say, "Oh yes you will! You have to be my daughter forever and ever!" She`d storm off to her room until she was done being angry about whatever it is that little girls get angry about.

She always acted like an old woman who was wiser than my son and I were. We had just sort of gotten used to the baby in the family behaving as the old one. When she was three she asked me one day, "Do you know why I was late?"

As I continued messing with my makeup and fixing my hair in the bathroom mirror I asked her, "Late for what?"

"For being born."

She had been due on Christmas Eve and instead had decided to show up on New Year`s Eve. "Why were you late?"

"Well," She replied quite matter of factly. "It was Jesus` birthday and I didn`t want to leave early."

I was a bit taken aback, "Who told you about Jesus?" I`m not a traditional Christian and hadn`t told my children anything about the traditional organized religions yet. We didn`t have any family or friends around who would have told her of such things. How in the world did she know about Jesus?

"Jesus is my friend. He lives in heaven with Michael and Cracker."

"Who`s Michael and Cracker?"

She looked at me like I was silly for not knowing as she said, "Michael`s my friend. He`s going to help me find my new dad. Cracker is a clown and goes like this." With that she started rolling around and doing somersaults and trying to do cartwheels. Then she stopped and looked up at me and said, "They`re still up in heaven playing with Jesus. When I get done with this life, I`m going back up there to play and I`m not coming down again."

"Why? Don`t you like it here?"

With a rather bored look on her face she said, "Yeah, but I`ve already learned all my lessons and I only came because you wanted me to."

"Are you upset that I pulled you away from your friends?"

"No, I love you, so I came back. But I`m just not coming back again after I`m all done helping you this time." With that, we pretty much established that she was indeed the old soul caretaker of the family. We kind of already knew that.

Over the next couple of years, she would prove over and over that Michael was helping her to find her new dad. I was a single parent longing for my soulmate to come find me. In reference to my love life, she knew things she had no business knowing. She was told about things before they happened. Michael was always telling her secrets about the men I was dating. Michael was always right. She seemed a bit bored by the whole thing.

She made me believe that Jesus must have been real. I had never really been quite sure until my three year old talked of him without ever having been taught of him. She seemed so self-assured and at peace with the concept. She never spoke of God, just of her buddies and how they all loved to play together. She missed them dearly and yet she was never really alone. I would find her playing with Cracker and Michael in her room all of the time. It was all very different from her brother who had an imaginary playmate for a short time. She didn`t have to sit and think about it. She didn`t giggle as she "played" at having conversations with them. She was at peace with the fact that they were as real as her brother and me. Michael was her favorite and he was the one who told her precognitive things on a frequent basis.

I wasn`t surprised that a child of mine would have a "friend" named Michael who told her things about the future. He was a member of our family until the ladies at the preschool told her that Michael wasn`t real and she believed them. Once they convinced her that he wasn`t real, she quit "seeing" him. At this point in time, she`s not yet convinced herself that he`s real and therefore still doesn`t "see" or "hear" him anymore. A side effect they probably didn`t consider when telling her that Michael was only make believe, is that she no longer "hears" or "sees" or "remembers" Jesus anymore either. By taking her best friend in the spiritual world away from her, they also took Jesus away from her. It broke my heart to see her turn away from Michael.

Now that she`s older, she`s a little bitter about it all. She wants to reconnect with Michael, Cracker, and Jesus, but she just doesn`t believe in it all anymore. I tell her that someday, when she`s ready, they`ll come back to her. They`re still here. She hopes I`m right. She`s always seemed a bit unsure of herself since losing that deep and amazing spiritual connection with them. She is still a caretaker by nature, but her soul doesn`t seem quite so old and wise anymore. She may not remember, but I hold the memories for her. The one thing I`ve learned about guardian angels is that they always look over us whether we believe in them or not.

Copyright 2003, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow`s Edge


Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow?s Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. She became a writer in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, soulmates, and parenting. Her books, articles, and astrological forecasts have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness. To read more of her articles and to sign up to receive her free weekly newsletter, go to www.TomorrowsEdge.net. To download free previews of her books, go to www.SkyeThomas.com.

Stepfamilies - How to Live in Harmony - by Jan Andersen

Conflict, hostility, resentment, anger, rejection, patience, flexibility, sacrifice.

If you are a stepparent, you may identify with some or all of the above keywords. Unfortunately, stepparents have always had a bad press. Have you, for example, ever heard of a stepmother being described as anything but “wicked” in fairytales?

Maybe you have custody of your stepchildren or maybe they live with their biological parent and stay with you and your partner at weekends or during vacations. Whatever the situation, it requires sacrifice, time and emotional energy. Nobody ever professed that being part of a blended family would be easy and it soon becomes apparent that the happy-ever-after scenario that is portrayed in soppy films, rarely exists in reality.

When you become a stepparent, you find yourself not just playing Piggy in the Middle between your partner and his/her children, but often between your partner and his/her ex, your partner and your ex, your partner and your children, your children and your partner’s children. The combinations are endless!

I was on my own with my three children, now aged 17, 13 and 11, for a number of years after my ex-husband and I divorced. When my current partner, Mike, moved in with us a couple of years ago, he was keen to make a good impression and, for a while it worked. My children sang his praises to my ex-husband and his wife and although we had a few problems with Mike’s ex-wife, life in general was very harmonious. I was happy because I was in a stable relationship with a wonderfully caring partner and, consequently, my children were happier too, not least because they were now part of what society regarded as a “normal” family with two parents. However, Mike and I had to meet on common ground regarding discipline and whilst I had always been reasonably strict with my children, suddenly this new man, who wasn’t their biological dad, began to enforce law and order in their domain. It wasn’t long before my eldest son, now 17, became rebellious and uncooperative, which in turn caused us to react negatively and so on. It was a vicious circle, which culminated in my son moving out after some unwelcome involvement with the local Social Services department.

To further aggravate the situation, Mike’s two sons from his previous marriage, now aged 7 and 5, began staying with us at weekends. They were still coming to terms with their parents’ recent divorce, still clinging on to the dream that maybe their mum and dad would get back together again and although their behaviour was appalling, Mike was initially conscious about not wanting to spend the entire weekend chastising them.

Mike’s ex-wife had already made the boys believe that daddy had left home because he didn’t love them anymore and he had to work hard to reassure them that that was absolutely not the case. However, it hurt my children to see Mike’s boys effectively ruling the roost and monopolising our time when they came to stay. My children were punished and denied privileges when they had been disobedient, yet there was little consistency in the way in which Mike treated his children. If his boys were naughty, which they were for a large part of the time, he still took them out, still cuddled them, indulged their fussy eating whims and generally gave them a good time. As a result, I felt that I had to compensate by giving my children the love of two parents, but because of my long working hours I wasn’t always able to be there at the times when they perhaps needed me the most.

When I broached the subject with Mike, he would use the excuse that he only saw his boys at the weekend and that I was fortunate enough to see my children everyday. However, I explained to him that it was quality of time, not quantity that was important and as far as I was concerned, my children had virtually no quality time with us. As we were both working full-time, we devised a daily chores’ rota for the children, yet their only reward was pocket money if they completed their tasks satisfactorily. When we arrived home in the evening, we were generally exhausted, my daughter always had piles of homework and we had too little time available to take the children out. In addition, if the chores hadn’t been completed to a desired standard, the children would be grumbled at and it soon became apparent that Mike usually only ever gave them attention when they had stepped out of line.

One of the most heartbreaking times for me – and probably my youngest son, Carsten – was when he had received his end of year examination results, which dictated the sets he would be placed in when he began senior school. He had already ‘phoned me at work to tell me that he had received his results and I could tell from his tone of voice that they were good.

When Mike and I arrived home from work that day, Mike immediately focused on the dustbins that had been left at the front of the house and which Carsten had been specifically asked to move to their correct spot at the back of the house. Mike muttered some expletive and when he stormed through the back door, I knew that Carsten’s neck was on the line.

When we entered the lounge, Carsten was sitting on the sofa clutching a brown envelope in both hands, his face glowing with pride. However, his expression soon changed to one of shock and anguish as Mike began attacking him verbally for not having completed his chores. He then snatched the envelope from Carsten’s grasp shouting, “And what’s this?” before ripping it open and reading the contents. Not being familiar with the grading system, Mike thought that Carsten had received low marks, when in fact he had received the top marks possible in his year. Mike began shouting at him again, but when I explained that Carsten had received excellent grades, Mike then launched into a bulletin on how it was pointless attaining academic excellence if he was too stupid to follow basic instructions at home.

By this stage, tears were already rolling from Carsten’s huge blue eyes and he looked totally crushed. He had been expecting praise and congratulations and instead had been belittled, once again. I felt as though my heart would break for my little boy. I told him that he had done very well, hugged him, then went and locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed my heart out.

An additional problem reared its ugly head when I began to discipline Mike’s children. I was bombarded with verbal abuse and whilst Mike’s younger son, Daniel, was generally far more accepting of my authority, his elder son, Christopher, would constantly backchat and treat me with utter contempt. If I told him not to leap all over the furniture for example, he would say, “Mummy lets us do it at home, so that’s why I don’t like coming here” or “Mummy says that you’re not allowed to tell us off.” At other times, if I chastised him, he would simply call me a stupid, fat, ugly cow or some other equally endearing name. He would also quote unpleasant remarks that had apparently been made by his mother about me. I didn’t always tell Mike because I didn’t want to appear as though I was always complaining about his children.

My initial reaction, had one of my children spoken to me in such a manner, would have been to slap their backside hard, but I did not wish to increase the hostility that Christopher obviously already felt. Instead, I calmly explained that irrespective of how he was allowed to behave in his own home, when he was in someone else’s home he had to respect their rules, just the same as he had to at school, and that whilst he was staying with us, we were responsible for his behaviour. I told him that if he was unhappy, then he didn’t have to stay with us at the weekend. That way, I had given him the freedom of choice, rather than making him feel that he had been forced into an uncomfortable situation.

What I very quickly realised was that the battle towards acceptance and, hopefully, some degree of unanimity, was going to take time. I also learned from Mike that if his boys were rude to me in his absence, I had to report it to him immediately.

Today, after two years of emotional highs and lows, Mike’s boys have improved dramatically, although their manners still leave a lot to be desired. However, they now accept the fact that I have the authority to discipline them and when I tell them not to do something, they comply with my wishes, if begrudgingly. There is still conflict and I suspect there always will be, but then that is a natural occurrence in most families, not just blended ones. It’s all part of the life process, part of growth and learning.

Only recently, Christopher came out with what was, without a doubt, the most evil thing he had ever said to me. Mike had gone late night food shopping and had put the boys to bed prior to leaving. I was lying on our bed because, at five months’ pregnant, I was not feeling too well. The moment Mike left the house, I could hear thuds and crashes from the boys’ bedroom, together with agitated shrieks from Daniel. When I went to investigate, I discovered Christopher leaping all over Daniel’s bed, whilst it was evident that Daniel was trying to go to sleep. I shouted at Christopher and ordered him back into his own bed, after which I told him that if I heard another sound from him I would ‘phone his dad. I turned out the light and left the room, but just as I was closing the door I heard Christopher mutter something. I walked back him and asked him to repeat what he had said. “Nothing!” he lied. with an expression of ill-concealed worry on his face. “Yes, he did”, piped up Daniel, “He said, ‘I hope Jan’s baby dies’”.

I was horrified and had to struggle to prevent myself from bursting into tears. Instead, I gave him an extremely stern lecture and told him that to wish death on someone was the most wicked sin of all. He hadn’t intended for me to hear him and although he had learned not to backchat, he was obviously still muttered obscenities behind my back! I also explained that just because his dad and I were having a new baby, didn’t mean that his dad was going to love him any the less.

With respect to my own children, I have now re-built the relationship with my eldest son, who recently thanked me for giving him such good “training”. His flat is immaculate and he says that he now gets annoyed when his friends come round and make a mess! He told me that had we not forced him to do household chores, he wouldn’t be as capable as he is now at managing his own place.

My daughter and youngest son accept Mike’s authority and although he’ll never be their real dad, he’s much more of a father to them than my ex-husband will ever be.

There is no magical solution, but adherence to the following ground rules can certainly bring you one stride closer to living in harmony with your stepchildren.

?nbsp; You and your partner must establish firm ground rules in your home, irrespective of how your stepchildren have been allowed to behave in their own homes. When the children are on your territory, you have authority and responsibility for their behaviour

?nbsp; Explain that everybody has different rules and that everyone has to abide by the rules of the house they are visiting, in exactly the same way as they have to abide by certain rules at school

?nbsp; It is imperative that you and your partner agree on a level of discipline and stick to it. Serious conflict can be arise when parents have radically opposing views on discipline and what is or isn’t acceptable behaviour in children

?nbsp; Try not to demonstrate obvious favouritism towards your own children in front of your stepchildren. Consistency and fairness are the order of the day

?nbsp; In the beginning, accept the fact that the stepchildren may expect their parents to reconcile and that your relationship with your partner is only a temporary interlude. Sit down with the children, when the time is right and explain to them that sometimes two people who are married may find that they are unable to live together anymore, but that it doesn’t mean they love their children any less. This is particularly important for the parent who has moved out, since the children will inevitably experience a sense of rejection and desertion

?nbsp; Don’t allow your stepchildren to play one parent off against the other. Whatever your feelings towards the biological parent, you should not condone any derogatory comments about that parent. After all, they are probably saying similar things about you or your partner to the other parent. The only time when it is imperative to listen and act is if you believe that the other parent is being abusive in any way

?nbsp; Accept the fact that however perfect a stepmother or stepfather you are, you will never be the biological parent of your stepchildren. It is natural for a stepchild to feel a level of resentment towards you when you are imposing rules or restrictions upon them. However, life revolves around rules, wherever the place or whatever the situation, so it has to be explained that it is not only biological parents who are qualified to enforce law and order

?nbsp; Show love. Sometimes children need love the most at a time when it’s hardest to give it to them. Whilst bad behaviour should never be rewarded with a cuddle or treat, when children are behaving well it is important to praise them

?nbsp; Don’t be afraid to defend your own children if you genuinely believe that they are being treated unfairly by your partner. Likewise, don’t interfere and try and condone their behaviour if you know that they are in the wrong. Undermining a stepparent’s authority can lead to children having no respect for that parent. Similarly, if you fail to step in when they have been wrongly accused of something, they may lose respect and faith in you

?nbsp; Set aside special time each week for your partner and yourself. You both need time to be yourselves and to show each other just why you chose to be together

?Jan Andersen

E-Mail: anneliese928@yahoo.co.uk

Footnote: Jan Andersen is a freelance writer living in the UK. Since writing this article Jan has given birth to a healthy baby daughter, Lauren, born on 12 November 1999.


E-Mail: anneliese928@yahoo.co.uk

I specialise in writing satirical and thought-provoking articles on: Women`s issues, Relationships, Psychology, Pregnancy and Parenting, Social Issues and Self-improvement. Whatever the subject, I can guarantee to make you laugh. My flexible and unique approach enables me to give your business or publication the competitive edge. Committed and flexible.


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