Supporting your child with behaviour
At Woodhill, we understand that parents and carers want the best for their children. Discipline is an important factor which helps our children grow into well-balanced and responsible citizens. Parents and carers have a pivotal role in developing this in their children by giving clear and consistent messages about their behaviour. However, sometimes we can respond too harshly to situations and a child might suffer an injury or emotional harm as a result of the methods used. Where this is disclosed to a school adult or suspicions occur, we have a statutory duty to inform Social Services and to gain advice, this can lead to a referral for a family assessment. Schools have a statutory responsibility under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children both in and out of school. The aim of this page is to support parents and carers to feel confident in managing their children’s behaviour, to understand what is acceptable discipline and where to seek advice if further support is needed.
UK law protects any child from cruel and abusive treatment by their parents or carers up to the age of 18 years. For example, it is against the law for a parent to use physical punishment on their child that causes bruising, either by hitting or using an implement to inflict injury. It is also against the law to use any form of physical punishment when a child is being looked after by someone else, such as a childminder or foster carer. The law recognises that children are not the property of their parents to do with as they like, but are individuals in their own right who should be nurtured, valued and respected.
Discipline should not be seen as the same as punishment. It includes being a positive role model and setting good example. It also includes negotiation and compromise, instruction, providing boundaries, guidance, advice, and helping your child set realistic goals. There are lots of different ways of disciplining a child and if you restrict yourself to simply reacting against behaviour you don’t like, you will be missing lots of opportunities to bring positive, loving discipline into their life. Introducing sanctions or punishing your child is only a part of the process and should only be done in ways that are fair – never abusive. Above everything else, children need to know they are loved unconditionally, even when they are making the wrong choices. This will help in developing a healthy self-esteem which is very important for your child’s emotional wellbeing.
As they grow, children will at times test our limits in one way or another. These are the rules that we have in our family. We set ‘boundaries’ about what we expect of our children and family. If these boundaries are too loose then children have little direction. If they are too harsh then children do not develop their own sense of responsibility. Think about the rules in your house and explain these to your children. Tell them about why you think these are important. Give them a chance to discuss the rules and to know when things might be changeable. For instance, during school days you expect a fixed time for bedtime but at weekends this could be later.
It is important that children have routine, boundaries and predictability. They need to know that there are consequences for how they behave. Rewarding positive behaviour is, generally, more effective than punishing challenging behaviour. Praise and encouragement are powerful tools for developing good habits. However challenging your child’s behaviour it is important to be as consistent and fair as possible. Your children need your attention and support.
There are lots of different ideas about how to be a ‘good’ parent. These can vary within families, ethnic groups and communities. British society acknowledges and affirms cultural diversity but children, whatever their cultural background, always have a right to be protected. Anything that causes harm to a child, whether part of a cultural or faith tradition, is never acceptable.
If you would like further support or advice, please do contact Ms McKenna on 020 8854 5055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively you can find more information on the links below: