When parents and children are constantly at odds, the relationship can deteriorate rather quickly, especially if the parents are already on edge or stressed out due to work or other outside factors. The relationship can devolve to the point where it can become harmful to the child and can constitute as child abuse or neglect.
These problems only intensify when a child does not have any structure or rules in place that can provide a clear path for them. Families rely on a routine to provide a structure for both parents and children. This allows everyone to thrive and will minimize stress because everyone knows what is going to happen and when. Minimizing stress will reduce friction between parents and children. With a reduced amount of stress, there is naturally lesser chance of child abuse to occur.
With the summer months approaching, children will be home from school and facing days of open free time. Taking time to develop a routine for children and parents can stave off any problems before they arise. There are three major components to help establishing structure, and they include:
While establishing a routine may reduce the chance of child abuse from occurring, there could be an accusation made due to circumstances beyond a parent’s control. When facing such serious charges, it helps to have a lawyer on their side who will be able to defend them in court.
How Do I Create a Summer Routine?
The summer is an opportunity for children to be outside and to play with their friends and try new activities. It can also be a stressful time because they no longer have the structure of school to keep them busy throughout the day. As a parent, it is important to create structure for a child so that they can continue to be entertained, but also not get bored, which can breed unruliness.
There are several steps that parents can take to establish a well-structured and consistent summer schedule. Those steps include:
- Make the schedule accessible. Parents should work with their children on establishing a routine and place it in a location in the house where everyone has access to it. This way, everyone can always refer to it should they forget the details.
- Include both chores and fun. There should be a healthy mix of chores that the child should accomplish per day, such as the dishes and taking out the trash, along with scheduled play time. By including chores in the daily routine, it eliminates any frustrations they will feel about having to do them since they will know ahead of time.
- Create a checklist. Allow the child to mark each activity complete as they finish them. This will give them a feeling of accomplishment and allow them to see their progress visually.
- Stay positive. Reward a child for their good behavior. One option is to award them a star if they made it through the day and finished their chores without complaint. Certain parents may wish to reward the child with something bigger should they accumulate a certain number of stars.
The schedule will not always work, and there could be days when the child fails to complete all the activities in a single day. However, there is always a new day. Parents should not lose their patience.
How Do I Get My Child to Adjust to the New Routine?
Establishing a routine for a child may not be easy. While many thrive with structure, there are those who will bristle at its first implementation. A parent should sit down with the child as soon as possible to explain the reason for the routine.
If the previous summer went badly or the current one is off to a poor start, that can be used as the impetus for the new routine. Telling the child that it would be undesirable to have a repeat of the previous year and implementing a schedule will help avoid repeated problems.
Establishing the schedule should be a collaborative effort with parents and children contributing to the schedule. The parent should explain to the child why certain activities are being included and why other ones are not. Also, the concept of the schedule should be introduced during a calm moment and not during an argument. Otherwise, it will come off as more of a punishment rather than a plan.
Parents should be patient with their child when first implementing the schedule and maybe even give them a short grace period to allow them to get used to it. This is also a good time to make any minor changes to the schedule in case aspects of it are not working. Once the schedule goes into effect, however, there should be no wavering. Consistency is the key to making it work.
Should Rules be a Part of the Summer Routine?
Rules should always be involved, regardless of the time of year. However, when establishing the summer schedule, it is a good time to reinforce the existing rules and reiterate why they are so important. The goal of the rules is to demonstrate to children what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Explaining the reason for rules will help the child understand them.
It is important for parents to remain patient with their children when they occasionally break a rule, and it will happen, but it is not always an attempt to test their limits. There are times when they just forget. During those times, it is important to remind them of the rule and its importance.
Maintaining consistency with rules can be the most difficult and stressful aspect of being a parent. There might be days when a parent is tired and does not wish to enforce a rule. However, this sends an inconsistent message to a child and informs them that certain rules have more flexibility than others. There are steps to help maintain consistency. They include:
- Talking ahead of time about the rules and how they help the family.
- Post the rules where everyone can see them.
- Parents should discuss rules with other parents to gauge their appropriateness.
- Everyone should know what is and what is not allowed.
- Caregivers should be consistent in monitoring and enforcing the rules.
- Parents should remind children about the rules through repetition.
It is important when establishing family rules that parents do not overwhelm children. Younger children should only have to deal with one or two rules, but as they get older, then the number can start to increase.
Haddonfield DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Guide Parents Through Difficult Summertime Child Abuse Allegations
Facing accusations that you abused your children can be devastating and scary. A summer routine can help prevent problems. If you are facing false accusations of child abuse or neglect, you need someone on your side. The Haddonfield DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker will help you through this difficult time. Call us at 856-210-9776 or contact us online today to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.