Parenting Strategies from a Social Worker’s view

Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it Proverbs 22:6. It is important for every child to have a positive established foundation in life. This can only be provided by their parents.

What to watch for to avoid having our children removed by Social Services

My advice to parents is to give the best foundation for their children using good parenting strategies and ensure children are safe at all times. Safeguarding issues are a concern; sexual exploitation, domestic violence, neglect, physical abuse, poor parenting etc will put children at risk of significant harm.

Dr Margot Sunderland wrote a book called What every parent needs to know. I recommend this book to every parent and parent to be.

Parenting strategies

There is a myth that says “in this country children are in control and they can do whatever they want”.

Children develop their sense of self through their parents’ eyes. Parents are the first educator for every child and their heroes/heroine. Good parenting strategies will keep Social Services and Social Workers away from your doorstep. There is a myth that says “in this country children are in control and they can do whatever they want”.  I can safely say this is not true. Social Workers encourage good parenting strategies and parenting courses are available for parents/guardians to attend if they want to enhance their parenting skills.

Below are some of the parenting strategies l will recommend to parents.

  1. Smacking in not acceptable. Is it not good for children? It is a no no! Make sure your behaviour as a parent/guardian is role model material. As your child becomes older it is important for them to understand the connection of their behaviour and consequences. When they misbehave explain to the children your expectation before you punish them.I would recommend parents to avoid using physical chastisement when disciplining their children.  Smacking affects the child’s behaviour towards others. For example, if a child is smacked at home they might end up hitting other children at school because this is a behaviour they have learned from their parents and will not find anything wrong in doing this. I understand that some people might say l grew up being smacked by my parents, but l have turned up well. These are some excuses that l have been given by parents. In 21st Century there are many parenting strategies we can use to manage behaviour.
  1. Look for good behaviour and praise – using positive praise to a child and rewarding good behaviours boost their self-esteem behaviour and confidence. Praising an accomplishment, however, small, will make them feel proud.

    Avoid using words as weapons

    Avoid using words as weapon, demeaning your child or labelling them. This will destroy a child’s self- confidence and can cause rebelling. Choose words careful and be compassionate even when a child had done something wrong. This will make a child understand that it is the behaviour you are not happy with not the child as a person

    In case your child presents a concerning behaviour, it is important to understand the trigger of this behaviour. Speaking to your child giving them an opportunity to express their feeling is important and it helps in building a parent-child relationship. If you condemn this behaviour without knowing the triggers it might lead to your child confiding in someone else if there are worried about things. It is important to understand the cause of this behaviour and put the right consequence in place.

  1. Follow a routine and put boundaries in place from birth. This will help children understand parental expectations. It is important to set time and place for meals, bedtimes etc.
  2. Set limits and be consistent with your discipline. The goal of discipline is to help a child choose acceptable behaviours and self -control. If a parent is not consistent this will confuse the child and cause anxieties.
  3. Giving consequences for bad behaviours or taking away privileges. A common failure parents make is to follow through with consequences. You cannot discipline your child by using different rules one day and another the next day.

    When rules are broken, the privileges are taken away

    Taking away privileges can be one of the most effective discipline strategies. Make sure your child knows that privileges need to be earned, and they’re not a given right. When your child breaks the rules, choose one privilege to remove. For more information please click the link below on how you should take the privileges. Please follow this link at www.verywell.com for more information on strategies

  1. Be a good model to your children. Model the kind of behaviour you would like to see in your children by been a good example. If you want them to be respectful show respect etc. Use appropriate language do not talk about your spouse negatively to your children. A child is not a weapon to use against your spouse.
  2. Make communication a priority. Most children complain that their parents do not spend quality time with them or talk to them, but they only tell them what they want them to do. One child reported that if my mother tells me not to do something and l ask the reason why l should not do it. She gets angry and this confuses me. I end up doing the things because l want to know why l am not allowed”. It is important to explain and to be clear with your child. Allow them to ask questions.

    Spend time with your children

    As parents it is important to spend time with your child by allocating time for each child. John Wesley’s mother (Suzanne Wesley) had 11 children but she had the opportunity to set aside time for all her children and she made great influence to them. We can now talk about books, songs that her children due to her influence. I would recommend every parent to spend time with their children and to communicate with them as well.

  1. Making family meals happen. It can be a big challenge to find the time to plan and sit everyone on the table. Family mealtimes can be positive in building good communication and catch up with each child. This will help all family members know how they have spent the day. During family meals there is good conversation flow and positive interactions.

Preparing family meals with your children will help you to interact with them

  1. Know your weakness and work on them. Put time aside for yourself to reflect and relax. Treat and pamper yourself. If your children behaviour make you angry calm your self first before you try to resolve the issue. Tackling the issue whilst you are calm will help you model good behaviour to your children rather than when you are angry. You might present behaviours that can be traumatic to your children. Been calm will help you to reflect before you approach the situation at hand.
  2. Protect your children from witnessing inappropriate behaviours like domestic violence and ensure that they are safe, supervised and you know where there and who is looking after them. I have seen parents during church services neglecting the care of their children. They leave their children to wander around. A church is a place of safety it does not mean the children will be safe to wander around without been supervised. Protect your children from been picked up by strangers. Avoid shouting and arguing with your partner in front of your children.
  3. We are in the age of the internet. There is internet access everywhere. It is important to know the websites your children are accessing, put parental controls in place and monitor length of time they are spending on the internet.

    Know what they’re up to when online

    Social media is currently a big issue. Who are your children’s friends on social media and who is chatting with them? Who is making friends request to your children? There is a lot of grooming going on social media – parents will need to be careful.’

Also advise on how we can support families going through the traumatic experience.

  1. It is important for parents to understand good parenting strategies and implement them. Local Authorities and schools provide parenting courses. Our organisation ZUKSWA provides one to one support to families and once a year parenting courses (Attachment and Loss)
  2. Local Authorities and charities provides refuges for domestic violence victims.
  3. If a family is going through court proceedings every family is entitled to a solicitor of their own choice paid by legal aid.
  4. Counselling services referrals is provided through family GP
  5. I will encourage the family to work the social worker and follow the plan than is in place if social services is involved.
  6. If the issue is domestic violence I will encourage the victim to find a refuge and keep themselves and their children safe. MT
About the Author:

Hilda Chehore is a Zimbabwean -born but based in UK. As founder and director of ZUKSWA, Hilda supports social workers, raising awareness and facilitating change in different communities. 

ZUKSWA was birthed in October 2015 after Hilda saw the need to fill in the gap to support social workers and student social workers from Zimbabwe due to struggles they face at work and universities. Membership of ZUKSWA is based on nationality, area of location or been a student and a registered social worker. ZUKSWA is growing daily through word of mouth due to satisfaction from services provided members. ZUKSWA provides low key mentoring support, interview skills, mock interviews, assistance with personal statement and training etc. This has helped social workers who attend interviews to be more confident in their role. Most communities in UK run support services for their communities. Unfortunately, there is no community support for Zimbabweans in UK this has inspired Hilda in providing this support to the Zimbabwean community. ZUKSWA holds annual community day once a year. Due high demand from other communities this service is now under review and future plans are to reach out to other black minority communities.

 

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