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Domestic Helper Disciplining your children

  1. #1
    sunday212 is offline Registered User
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    Domestic Helper Disciplining your children

    I am a full time mum at the moment so I take my daughter to all the playgrounds and playrooms. I have noticed that on weekdays, that the other kids in the vicinty are quite unruly. My daughter (14months at the time) has been deliberately pushed to floor on several occasions, had a kid step on her deliberately and has on numerous occasions been shoved around and told to go away. What I have noticed is weekdays, it is the helpers that supervise the kids. They do "tell the kids" off, but ineffectively. They seem to tell them off because it is their job, but dont really care if the kid really learns from the experience. In other words, the helpers merely pay lip service. However on weekends, the problems seem to disappear and the difference being is that the parents are supervising.

    I have also noticed the way DHs discpline their kids are quite harsh and mean, yelling at the kids and calling them naughty. I have a very gentle, loving but firm way of discipling my daughter without the need to yell and berate her and she responds very well to it.

    My question really is..... I would eventually like to hire a DH, but am concerned that she will not effectively and lovingly discipline my kids in my absence. My concern also is, if my daughter knows she can get away with bad behaviour in my absence, then she is learning the wrong lesson in life (ie you can behaviour as you wont as long as mum and dad is not around).

    Can anyone provide any insights to this? How do you ensure your helper sticks to you instructions in methods of discipling if at the end of the day, you can't really see or supervise her as you are absent?

    Thanks a lot for any responses.

  2. #2
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    first off, your child is still quite young. when my kids were that young, i never had to resort to yelling at them, but as they get older sometimes yelling is in order. do not judge until you've walked in another's shoes.

    second: it IS a helper's job. but the mark of a good helper is that she follows the rules YOU set out. at the end of the day, it all comes down to something very simple: do you trust your helper?

  3. #3
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    This is a tricky one. I think you will find a range of responses from different mums.

    As carang says, I permit my helper to discipline my 2 yo within agreed boundaries. My toddler has always been very confident and aggressive. From the time she was 18 months she would hit and attack other children unprovoked so we have always had to be very very firm with her and impose time-outs, remove her from the situation etc. She has recently begun to show better self-control as she learns to speak more and has started nursery.

    I work full time, therefore my helper is the primary caregiver. Fortunately my helper and I see eye-to-eye on many things so it is easy to discuss difficult situations with my child. She tells me she receives lots of surprised comments from other HK parents and their helpers for being 'authorized' to discipline my child. Apparently many other helpers are not allowed to discipline their charges, to the extent that sometimes children are allowed to be rude and disrespectful to their helpers - this I disagree with.

  4. #4
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    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    I am interested in seeing responses from other moms, as I finally got my helper, and she is now taking full care of my 7 month old since we both work. I don't know about discipline, but what I notice is that she like carrying the baby a lot. I have told her not to carry the baby a lot. Instead, I told her to play with him, try to put him to sit so he can strength his back and learn to sit without support, put him on his belly so can eventually learn to crawl.. told her that if the baby is happy playing alone, then just let him alone (so he can learn to entertain himself). For all she said "ok, yes mam!". But when my husband got home in these past 2 days, he saw her carrying the baby around. Even sometime, after a feeding, I leave the baby in my bed playing happily alone while I go to the kitchen or somewhere else for a while, she would go into my room to entertain the baby.

    I don't want her to spoil our baby, but I don't want to sound mean and make her think that I don't want her to bond with my baby.... I don't know if she had to carry the baby because he was crying, or she just wanted to do that (probably bored? missing her own children?). We are going to set a camera at home to monitor the situation.

  5. #5
    Frenchy is offline Registered User
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    I think it has a lot to see with what the parents allow the helper to do in matter of discipline. I've been very clear with my helper since day one, if my toddler was disrespectful, disobeying or aggressive with other kids, she had to discipline him, ask him to stop, and if he doesn't, time out, or way back home from the playground.
    She also tells me everything going on when I'm not here, and if something goes wrong, I'll have a talk with my son, but I'll also praise him if he behaved properly.

    How can a kid be disrespectful with the helper when they are out, and behave nicely when they are home with the parents around ? I've seen many kids being aggressive with the helpers, hitting them, throwing their bags or jackets at their faces, if they do that out, it's probably because they can do it at home too !

  6. #6
    plumtree is offline Registered User
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    @sunday: it's a difficult one and a bit of this may be cultural. I work, and my helper is pretty effective at making/persuading/commanding my rather tricky 3 yo into being co-operative even when he's having a temper tantrum. I note she uses words like 'naughty', and her speaking volume is louder than mine: I think these differences are down to culture and personality. In some instances, I think I'd say some things differently myself, but if she's following the general outline of what the house rules, then OK. I think the main thing is to come to a clear understanding between yourself and the helper as to what behaviour is/is not allowed and what action is to be taken when the child does something.

    @Gataloca: we had the same issue ourselves at the beginning. From observation, a lot of helpers *really* like babies and carry them around because that's what people would do in their home countries. I had a chat with my helper and explained that we do things differently and also, if you start carrying the baby around now and he gets used to it, what is she going to do when the baby get older and heavier? Explain that it's her role to help "teach" the baby e.g. to play by himself/to learn to crawl etc. I had some success with my helper (with my younger son) and I've heard her say "no no, no carrying, you must learn to walk yourself" etc.. Does not happen overnight though.

    Good luck!

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    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    @plumtree: Yes, I have explained that to her, but I don't know if she understood. But I am going to give her some more time. Probably the baby has been fuzzy, since it has been just few days since she started taking care of him by herself.

    ... well, as my husband says, at least we know that she likes the baby, so probably she is not going to mistreat him.

  8. #8
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    When my son was about a year old we had several unfortunate experiences while going to some of the indoor playrooms in Hong Kong (always in nice housing estates as well). I saw my son bullied, pushed around and yelled at by older kids (local Chinese kids always--never foreigners). These children were inevitably too old to be in such a playroom (maybe 7-10-years-old?) but they ran around, paying no attention to the little ones for whom the playroom was actually designed.

    Once my son got too close to them for their liking and they went over and started saying horrible things to him in Cantonese like, "You're stupid...get out of here!" At 12 months he had very little comprehension of what was going on (thankfully) but boy did it make me angry! There were no helpers or parents or even supervisors in sight so I went over and gave those kids a piece of my mind and removed my innocent child from the situation. I've seen this type of situation played out over and over again in HK.

    Sometimes the aggressors are older children and sometimes the same age as my son. Most recently we were at a park in Tsuen Wan and my son was playing with a little girl--he let her use his ball and then when he reached out to take it back she punched him hard straight in the face! My son was shocked as he has never hit anyone (especially like that)--he didn't even know what to do! Again, there was no discipline at all from the parents toward this girl. I just had to comfort my son and remove him from the situation.

    Some kids in this city are actually very mean and they get away with it in one way or another so they keep doing it. I wouldn't be so quick to blame it on the helpers. I've seen plenty of poor parenting in this city. I've seen a lot of parents and grandparents fly off the handle while disciplining their children--calling them horrible names and screaming hysterically. Even seen parents drag their children around in public. I've also seen parents who just ignore whatever their children are doing and don't discipline at all. I think the worst instance was of a local grandma who went unleashed on her grandson in our village--then I understood why he was being so nasty to my son--afterall, he had that role model to deal with.

    Even a good helper is bound by the standards of their employer. Discipline is a touchy issue. Many helpers are probably just trying to find a way to discipline--as they might either have employers who don't discipline at all or ones who don't discipline appropriately (screaming, hysterics etc.). I'm thankful that our helper has a good understanding of where we're coming from with discipline. She is a lot softer while disciplining my son than I am but she still gets the job done. She's also a mother of two (her eldest is 9-years-old) so she has her own tricks up her sleeve and I've taken quite a few lessons from her in how to deal with my son effectively.

    Also agree with carang, it's important for us to not judge too much the discipline styles of other parents. Of course, it's one thing to notice that people are being way out of bounds (cursing at their children or not doing anything at all etc.) but discipline techniques and styles develop over time and change with the age of children. Discipline for a 14-month-old is WAY different than discipline for a 3-year-old and this changes as the child gets older and older. Every child is different too.

    When I was growing up I was a classic "strong-willed child" who unfortunately responded most effectively to physical punishment. There was no way that my mom "sweet talking" me into behaving myself was going to work. Even at 5-years-old I was so stubborn that I wouldn't learn my lesson until I had truly suffered for my actions. I spent a lot of afternoons stuck at the dining table because I refused to eat my food (I'm talking about 8 hours on a Sunday here). My mom would make me run laps around our city block for being mouthy to her (I'm talking miles and miles worth of running here).

    My mom tells a story of me when I was about 5-years-old and we were getting ready to go to church on a Sunday. She sat me down before we left the house and said, "Okay, do you want your spankings now or after church?" I was shocked and said, "But Mommy, I didn't do anything wrong yet!" She said, "I know, but every time we go to church you are really naughty and I always have to spank you so maybe if I spank you before church we won't have to do it at church, right?" I was a pretty well-behaved girl that day she says.

    I lost most of my new clothes one time because I refused and refused to put away my laundry. My mom went and took all of my clothes out of the laundry basket and put them in a garbage bag and gave them to all my friends and neighbors so I got the "pleasurable reminder" of my actions every time I saw one of my friends wearing my favorite new t-shirt. I think I was about 8-years-old. And, I can tell you for sure that my mom didn't say everything in a sweet whisper and I definitely earned myself some spankings as well. But, this is just the type of kid I was. It's different for everyone.
    Last edited by thanka2; 03-09-2011 at 03:29 PM.

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