If you are having difficulties caring for your children, help is available through Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington and other community agencies. We’ll help you learn how to identify your strengths and help you deal with the challenges.
It’s always better to get help early, before problems get worse. Regardless of your background, and no matter what language you speak, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you’re worried about your children, or someone else’s, don’t hesitate to contact us.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PARENTING
The Child and Family Services Act (Section 79.3) says “No person having charge of a child less than sixteen years of age shall leave the child without making provision for his or her supervision and care that is reasonable in the circumstances.” The new update to the legislation, The Child, Youth and Family Services Act 2017 (Section 136.3), covers mostly the same ground. The law recognizes that age alone is not a sufficient safeguard for the supervision of children. Supervision is not only an act that aims to protect children from harm but also acts as a means to teach children expected and socially acceptable behaviours.
While there are no exact rules for the supervision of all children, there are guidelines that govern the general expectations for certain age groups.
Age 0 – 4
Children in this age group must be supervised at all times.
Age 5 – 7
Children in this age group should not be left home alone.
Indoor play: Children may play with less supervision when a parent is at home and can check-in regularly with the child.
Outdoor play: This age group should not be left unsupervised. Children must also be accompanied by a caregiver when walking to school or waiting for the bus.
Age 8 – 9
Children in this age group should not be left alone before and after school. When a parent is at home children may play with less supervision in the immediate neighborhood as long as clear boundaries have been defined and understood.
Things NOT to do:
- never leave a child alone in a car
- never leave young children alone with pets
- never leave hazardous materials (matches, lighters, candles, etc.) within a child’s reach
Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington promotes positive discipline as a means to teach children to develop their own self-control so they can become independent responsible adults. Children who are hit may get the message that hitting is reasonable behaviour. Children who are treated aggressively by their parents may be more likely to be aggressive themselves and to take out their anger on others.
What is reasonable discipline? The law presently allows parents to use “reasonable force” to discipline children. What’s reasonable depends on the situation, but many forms of physical punishment that were acceptable in the past are no longer permitted. Any form of physical discipline that requires medical attention, or results in bruising, welts or broken skin, is not considered reasonable discipline. Physical discipline of babies is also unacceptable.
The following is a list of suggestions for implementing positive discipline:
- Gain control: Although the best time to teach is as soon as possible after an incident has occurred, the main priority is to gain control over your own anger. The teaching should be motivated by a desire to help the child learn a better behaviour, not motivated by hostility.
- “Time out“: Temporarily remove the child from the environment or activity as a means to correct undesired behaviours. This should be for a realistic time period such as one minute per child’s year of age. With older children use grounding or a reasonable loss of privileges.
- Redirect: A child playing with a ball inside the house could be directed outside.
Make amends: Children learn responsibility when guided to demonstrate age appropriate accountability. A 3 year old may say “I’m sorry” and a 10 year old may pay for damages from allowance.
- Praise and encouragement: Acknowledge and reward the behavior you want repeated.
- Be a role model: Actions speak louder than words. Children learn how to behave by doing what they see adults doing.
Consistency: Consequences should be clearly stated and consistency enforced.