Posted by: Caregiver1 | 2008/07/02

What to do when children are like this?

Dear Doctor,
I work as a caregiver and this are getting very difficult. What would you do in these situations?

a) Your child (5) wants to play with her best friend, who is a neighbour. She has a cat and her friend's mother has an allergy, so she always has to put fresh clothes on when she visits her friend. Therefore there's always a box with clothes there that she can put on. She looks at her clothes in the box.
She: I don't want to wear any of these.
You: Why?...(she ignores your question)... Should I go home and bring you other things?
She: No, I want M (her friend) to lend me something. (she hasn't asked his mother if that is ok)
You: No, I can bring you some clothes.
She: No! M can lend me something.

b) You child wants to play with her neighbour. He opens the door and she asks him if he wants to play with her in her bedroom.
M: I was thinking of playing a computer game.
She: Yesterday you promised you'd play with me.
M: Yes, maybe later, but now I'd prefer to stay at home.
His mother says: 'I think we'd better play outside for a change.' She makes her two other kids L (3) and J (1) ready.
Your child: I don't want L to come with us. She must stay at home.
Her friend's mother: We are all going to play outside. I take care of her and she won't disturb you and M.
Your child: No, I don't want her to come with us. L, you are NOT coming with us.

The children are easily offended and shout at me and I get angry and sometimes it makes it hard to think of a way to solve the problems. I never shout at them or anything but my voice trembles and I guess they understand they get on my nerves. If they were my kids, I would know what to do. But my opinions and their parents' opinions are sometimes different, so sometimes when I would say no, they say yes. Somestimes I say no and then they ask their parents and they say yes, and then the children know what I say doesn't matter at all. But their parents say I should make them respect me. What should I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Try posting this same question to the Parenting forum, too.
Have you asked the parents of the children you care for how they would like such situations to be handled ? It sounds as though the child at the centre of this is a spoiled little brat, and too used to always getting her own way, not accepting discipline or taking the wishes and needs of others into consideration.
Talk this over with the parents. If they expect you to make the children respect you, then they must agree to always back up your decisions and not to contradict you when the child(ren) appeal to them. Unless the PARENTS make the children see that your decisions and what you say while you are caring for them have the full force and backing of the parents, there is no way you can expect them to respect you. Talk together and form a common code for rules and discipline. And maybe when a novel problem arises, they should agree that your best decision at the time will be backed up by them both, and that you and them can then discuss any revision of the working rules, as needed.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Huh | 2008/07/02

Sorry, what??

Reply to Huh

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