I’M one person who does not like tension and as such I avoid conflict if I can. I dislike it when people are not speaking to each other. I know of sisters, one of them who died, who for years have not spoken to one another. I may be naïve or perhaps I’m controlling. But if we have a misunderstanding, I will shout and get it out of my system. But then I don’t expect the other person to be angry for days on end. I’m not one for bearing grudges. I will not hate you for life. Some people say they will not even attend the funeral of somebody they hated.When I was at university I stayed with a relative and slept in a single bed and did not have a room of my own. When I started working I stayed in a bachelor’s flat, sharing it with other students. Even when I bought my own house, I shared it with the children of relatives. Growing up in my parents’ home, there were always other people staying with us. I don’t know how we were related or if were related at all. I remember one gentleman who spoke either Zulu or Xhosa X I did not know the difference back then. He used to come and stay with us once a year and stayed over for a month or so. He worked for a contractor who cleaned culverts.In the more than 20 years that I have been housing people, there were only three children that I found impossible to stay with. I cannot stay with people who disobey my house rules. My cousin once told me that it was difficult to stay with another person’s children. If you chide or reprimand them, they think you are doing that because you are not their biological parent and that you do not love them. It is like stepchildren. As a stepmother or stepfather you cannot win. You are afraid to discipline them and if you do, they think you do not love them because they are not biological children. It is even worse if the child you are staying with has contact with his or her parents and does not accept your authority. If anything happens, they contact their parents and want to give you instructions. The fact is, however, that if a child stays with you, you are in loco parentis You are in the place of a parent and the child must take you as a parent. Not to be controlled remotely from a different location. A child must accept that sometimes a parent will be unfair or seem to be unfair. However, if it is my house, then my rules apply, whether fair or not. Also, they should know that as a parent, you love them and do not have malice. I hate tension in the house that breaks communication. The tension can sometimes become so thick you can cut it with a knife. This is really not necessary. Express welcomes anyone interested to contribute to the weekly column. There is no pay for writers. Send your opinion piece (not exceeding 500 words in Sotho or English) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Writers are welcome to send spiritual articles.