Discipline methods work best when they are consistent, so parents need to discuss their chosen methods with carers who also look after their children. In addition to explaining the discipline methods used at home, parents should also be sure to ask about which methods the carers prefer and mention any methods which are absolutely unacceptable for use with their children. When parents and carers are on the same page about discipline, children are the real winners because they receive the same messages about appropriate behaviour from the adults in their lives.
Explaining Discipline Methods Used At Home
Some parents feel embarrassed to discuss the discipline methods they use at home with professional carers, either because they feel that they are somehow amateurs at caring for children, because their methods might not be working as well as they would like or because they have no real methods and just do whatever pops into their heads in specific situations. None of these are acceptable reasons to avoid this discussion.
Be honest about what happens at home, and why you have chosen to discipline your children this way. Talk about what you hope to achieve with these methods and how you see them as being different from just punishing a child. Don’t hesitate to admit if it works well for your or there are problems with your methods. If you would like to discipline your children in a new way, or have different outcomes from your chosen methods, then admit this too. The only way you and your children’s carers can truly work together to discipline your children is to be totally honest with each other.
Asking About Discipline Methods Carers Prefer
In addition to telling carers about your chosen discipline methods, ask carers about the methods they prefer and the thoughts behind their selections. It may be that you share the same philosophy about disciplining children, but some methods work better for the carer for various reasons. For example, in a nursery or creche the presence of other children, space considerations or the room lay-out may all influence how carers discipline children. Find out about any “warning” systems carers use and how they re-integrate children back into activities following an incident requiring discipline. If you have questions about making your own discipline methods work more effectively at home, learning more about a carer’s methods might help you make positive changes as well.
Mentioning Unacceptable Discipline Methods
Even if carers aren’t able to carry out your chosen methods of discipline, you as a parent still have the right and responsibility to mention any methods you believe are entirely unacceptable. For example, many parents find smacking or indeed any kind of physical contact out of anger, to be abhorrent. In your mind it may be obvious that this type of discipline should be avoided, but unless you make it clear to carers you may leave room for some ambiguity. Don’t let your child experience a type of discipline you can not condone simply because you did not explain your thoughts on the issue clearly to his or her carers.
Discussing discipline with carers is essential to making sure that everyone is on the same page. Explaining discipline methods used at home, asking about discipline methods carers prefer and mentioning unacceptable discipline methods should help parents and carers work together – rather than against each other – to teach children about acceptable behaviour.
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