TIP FROM THE PARENTING TRENCHES
Discipline — which includes making the rules — is a parent’s hardest job, and the most important. Think of discipline as guidance, not punishment, and perhaps the job will be easier. Also, keep in mind the rules will need altering as your child grows.
Do some rules get broken by caregivers, well-meaning relatives — or even your child’s other parent? Have you thrown up your hands and given up after Grandma’s let the kids stay up late in your absence? The problem is that if some rules become lax (or thrown away altogether), young children figure that all rules can follow. Maybe it’s time to clarify the rules with everyone who is responsible for your kids.
Grandma, along with other relatives or close friends, may be the most difficult people for you to get on board with your parenting rules. These are the people you least want to make waves with, so you don’t necessarily want to challenge them. But you can explain that you have given a lot of thought to your rules and feel undermined when they are broken: if you don’t allow sweets right before bed, but a relative allows that in your absence, your children won’t get the restful sleep they need.
Your child’s preschool or daycare has its own rules; hopefully you did your homework to make sure their rules are in alignment with yours before you signed your child into their program. Yet there might be occasions when you disagree with one or more of their rules. As you have the time, drop in unannounced. (If you are not allowed to, or if you are made to feel uncomfortable when you do, this is not the place for you.)
Observe how the children are treated and if the rules are easy to follow. What are the consequences if the rules are not followed and do those match how you would discipline? The rules may be stricter or more liberal than you like, but you can always suggest alternatives to the teachers and directors.
Gannett News Service