A parental guide to discipline children in a common family configuration
A common family can be a boon in many ways – if you’re a working mom, you can leave your child with adored grandparents or share the responsibilities with your sister-in-law. However, this setup can also prove to be a hindrance, especially when it comes to disciplining your child. Here is your parenting guide for disciplining your children in a shared family.
Picture this: your 10 year old son has just come home from school and is heading straight to the fridge to munch on a chocolate bar. While you strictly tell her not to eat it and take it away, your stepmom sneaks up and quietly returns it to her, leaving you with no choice but to leave it to her because you wouldn’t want to create a scene. If you live with a joint family, you have probably faced this situation at least once.
A business of too many cooks?
A common family involves too many authority figures, which can sometimes lead to conflicting messages for your child. For example, you want your child to be in bed by 10 p.m., but he is inspired by your brother-in-law who is willing to let his child stay up until midnight. This, in turn, can lead to mental and health issues. According to clinical psychologist Saloni Sawnani, it’s important for elders to set some ground rules. “Parents, grandparents as well as extended family members need to define common parameters and come to a consensus regarding the discipline of the child. For example, if jumping in bed is not allowed, the same message must come from parents and grandparents, ”she adds.
When children play games
Due to their instinctive nature, children often get to know when there is a disagreement between the elders and as a result, they play against each other. “When I refused to buy a cell phone for my daughter, she had a temper tantrum and persuaded her grandfather to buy her one. Once my father accepted, I had no say in the matter, ”says Gaurav Shah, father of a 13-year-old. Although it may seem like small needs, according to experts, this kind of habit is extremely unhealthy It affects the psyche of the child and is likely to injure him in the long term In most cases, experts suggest that parents should have the final say and that other elders in the family should respect it.
Chat in camera
More importantly, even if the grandparents disagree with the mother on some issues, they should not discuss these things in front of the children. Very often, grandparents arrest a mother for berating her child. What they need to do is support her so that the child knows he has done something wrong. “At least in front of the child, you should end up as a team. If your in-laws give your child a new toy that you didn’t want them to have, say, “You’re lucky, you got a toy from your grandparents.” You can settle personal disputes later in his absence, ”says Sawnani.
Dos and Don’ts of Raising a Child in a Joint Family
Be open in your communication with your in-laws.
Make sure the elders come to a consensus on what is right and wrong for the child.
Make sure that the same message is communicated to the child by all parties.
If you disagree, don’t argue with your in-laws in front of the child. You can discuss your problems in the absence of the child.
Author: Krutika Behrawala
Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos / Getty images