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Setting Discipline Limits

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 22 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Children's Behaviour Child Discipline

Grandparents are often the most called upon babysitters of grandchildren providing loving care to children while assuring the kids' parents that they are in safe, gentle hands. Sometimes, though, children will misbehave and must be disciplined by their grandparents, who are prone to believe that the precious grandchildren can do no wrong. While this can be difficult for some grandparents, children must learn to behave in an appropriate manner.

Outlining the Rules

Children cannot be expected to follow rules that are never expressed, so parents, grandparents, and other caregivers must be sure that the children in their care understand what is expected of them. Cooperation with house rules and consequences for disobeying them will vary, of course, depending on the age of the children, but even toddlers can learn to follow simple guidelines. From returning their belongings to their proper places to obeying curfews, kids need specific instruction on what the adults in their lives believe is appropriate behaviour.

Following the Parents' Lead

More often than not, grandparents are happy to allow their grandchildren's parents decide on not only the rules that the kids are expected to obey, but also the disciplinary measures that will be implemented if children choose to disregard those rules. If Grandma or Grandpa are providing assistance in caring for the children, however, it may fall to them to discipline the grandchildren when their parents are not present. It can be most helpful if parents are certain to discuss their expectations with grandparents before leaving the children in their care so that there are no misunderstandings. It is equally important that the children are made to understand that they are expected to obey their grandparents and that if they do not, the consequences will be the same as if they disobeyed their parents. When everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected, there are sure to be far fewer instances when punishment is necessary.

Differences of Opinion

Children seem to have the innate ability to recognise and take advantage of inconsistencies in family rules, so parents and grandparents should make every effort to present a united front. If the adults disagree as to what is considered acceptable behaviour or reasonable consequences for misbehaviour, they should be careful to work out their differences and come to reasonable compromises. When grandchildren are being cared for in the homes of the grandparents, it is not unreasonable that the kids should be expected to respect any limitations that are placed upon them regarding the respectful treatment of their grandparents' belongings. In the end, parents have the ultimate say in all matters regarding their children, so grandparents need to be as flexible as possible in order to keep peace.

Doing What is Best for Children

Overall, today's children are afforded more leeway in matters of behaviour than was the norm a few generations ago. Many modern parents have a more relaxed attitude about discipline than their parents did, but some things have not changed.

Children learn a great deal from watching the actions of the adults in their lives and will often mimic the behaviours of older family members. For this reason, it is vital that adults who care for children provide examples of respectful and honourable behaviour. Rules and disciplinary measures are not meant to be bad things, but instead are important steps that caring parents and grandparents implement in order to guide children toward self-controlled, respectful behaviour.

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