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Parental Discipline Acceptable Or Not


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Could anybody tell me if they have had any experiences of children disclosing to them that 'their Mummy hits them.'

 

Would be really grateful for any comments, thank you

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i have had children tell me mummy hits them!! but on the safeguarding course we were told smacking,slapping hitting is not illegal in England.I think it is illegal in /scotland.We were told they are allowed to have reddening of the skin however if it leaves a mark then social services must be informed!!

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When that happened to me I told my supervisor and made a note for the safeguarding file including the exact words spoken. I don't think anything was ever said to the parent, but I feel it is best to have on file in case anything else is noticed about the child, since it is sometimes little things that can build up into a bigger picture.

 

eclmmcca I wonder did your safeguarding course indicate that something like that shouldn't be recorded? My concern is that, although smacking is only illegal if it leaves a red mark, how would we know if it had left a red mark or not? Do we just assume that it didn't because we can't see one when a child tells us, even though it could have been weeks ago? When we are dealing with very young children I personally feel that a disclosure like this should at least be recorded and the safeguarding officer informed.

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Hi debster, have never had a child disclose that mum or dad smacks them. Hitting and slapping sounds worse than smacking (although they are all forms of punishment which I don't agree with). If it was me I would talk to my Safeguarding Officer at Nursery/Pre-School and definitely record what the child has said. mrsW.

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I certainly do not agree with smacking.I think positive parenting achieves far greater results.smacking surely gives mixed messages about violence.but as the law states in England and Wales,parents are allowed to smack as they wish.You are not able to do anything really unless there is a lasting visable mark.In my opion it is abse but mild slapping is allowed which gives no mark.I believe it is detailed in children act 2004.

Wewere advised on the course to discuss behaviour management withparents who do smack ie sayng we want to resolve behaviour issues together and how as nursery nurses we don't smack but then it is up to parents if they want to mildly smack.For instance if there are no visible marks,can you make a referral!!At our setting,we rite down visible marks,other disclosures surounding visisble marks and of course other types of abuse indicators.Speak to your safeguardingoficer however and ge their thoughts!!!

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The strong message of our child protection course last weekend was to record absolutely anything that gives you cause for concern

 

We did a very good exercise with 4 case studies.. which turned out to be all about the same child. And the first one we dismissed as not important, but once we got the second, third and fourth, we felt awful that we would've ignored/not thought about how serious it could be etc.

 

 

There's no harm in recording something - it's better to have it recorded and never need to refer to it again than dismiss it as nothing and suddenly having social care/police officers asking for all your records and suddenly thinking "I know that happened.. but I don't know when" etc.

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I agree record comments, they may show consistency of events. My query is, in what context did the child 'disclose'? For example I've had children tell / talk about home discipline following on from a story time which 'promoted' such discussions, one particular book about a mum who turns into a green monster (sorry can't remember the title at present). Within this context a few children may make comments about 'home life', whereas if the child 'disclosed' out the blue, ie: no apparent trigger, this would make me consider that the child is 'worried' about mum's anger. The comment 'watches mummy get angry' indicates to me that the child has learnt to recognise 'warning signs' which preclude getting hit or slapped, maybe suggesting that this could be accuring often. These of course are all my subjecive opinion based on little fact. I would suggest tha you are of course in the best position, knowing the child and family, to make a professional judgement on this childs comment.

 

I would like to add that when I had my preschool, on initial registration I would clearly explain my CP policy, including the fact that we would record any 'possible' CP related incidents, however minor they may appear, and that we would ask parents to sign these records. The reason I did this was so that parents were aware of this practise prior to possibly being faced with such an issue, so no surprises, it also showed that our aim was to work 'in partnership' with parents, for the best interest of all children. It showed we didn't do things 'behind their backs' so to speak. This helped to build a trusting relationship with parents, and helped us to further explain any fears / concerns parents may have had about our CP policy and practice.

So then if we recorded a concern, disclosure etc when we approached parents about it, to ask them to read and sign the record I would start the conversation by saying first "can I have a word in private, nothing to worry about but can you remember on my home visit I explained our CP practice well this happened today and I've written this record, please have a read and sign for me, thank you." I would then also note down (on the same record) any response / comment the parent made, clarifying that I understood what they were saying and then ask them to sign the record. I would then explain what would happen to the record and offer any support / advice etc if required. This 'open' practice worked for us.

Obviously part of our CP policy was not to tell parents if we felt it would place the child in any further danger, if this was the case we would be reporting through our safeguarding procedures.

 

Hope this helps, and as others have said, always err on the cautious side but also with this type of incident always try and involve parents within the process whenever you can, remember the majority of these cases are about 'poor parenting practice' rather than 'serious child abuse' and the best way to improve poor parenting is to work with the parent to help them recognise their behaviour towards the child, to let them realise that this behaviour is known by the disclosure, but that they can get help and advice re: positive behaviour management for their child.

 

Peggy

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I would also be careful about jumping to a conclusion based on the wording used and making a judgement because of it. In the area of Scotland where I lived if a parent gave the child a light smack they would still say they 'gave their child a battering'. To me this conjured up a completely different picture until it was explained to me.

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Having been in this situation, I would say contact your local CP team, which you can do without mentioning names, for advice. You are not an appointed Child Protection Officer so it is not your decision to make on the severity of the incident - get advice don't carry this on your own, there is no need. They are there to support practitioners and the families. They are the experts.

Edited by Guest
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Beau - I can see your point about not jumping to conclusions but my problem is that these are the exact words said to me everytime I mention something to my supervisor that causes me concern - so I am not allowed to write anything down as she says it is 'not child protection' to any concern I raise. The blank forms for making a record of these things are in the child protection folder so I have no access to them. When I have tried to go directly to the safeguarding officer on one occasion I got severly told off for bypassing my supervisor. I could give her a note on a blank sheet of paper I suppose, but I don't reallly want to cross her too much when she has told me not too.

 

There are a number of issues now that I have and I don't really know what to do. They are not big enough on their own to make an independent referral but it seems so wrong that they are not being recorded (can't really say what they here though).

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the phrase child protection isn't really used anymore.As they said on the course child protection-is more serious ie protecting children from harm but then safeguarding is using measures to help parents to prevent it.The lady who took our course also took me at college.She has been work in social work for over ten years.

If it is alarming my all means i would write it down if it is a concern.But mild smacking like it or not(by parents)is allowed as we've also been toldby setting.If there is a mark i believe after 30 mins or a lasting mark,social services must be informed.Yes write down if you have concerns of what a child is telling you bt all i know is we were told ia parents are allowed to use smacking as a behaviour management strategy.(ridiculous i know)

howeversmacking leads to emotional abuse which can lead to a whole other debate.Yes speak to child protection officer-they will be able to give you advice needed!!

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Beau - I can see your point about not jumping to conclusions but my problem is that these are the exact words said to me everytime I mention something to my supervisor that causes me concern - so I am not allowed to write anything down as she says it is 'not child protection' to any concern I raise.

I went on a 'Safer Recruitment' training last night and the message was given very strongly that once you have ensured your recruitment procedures prevent professional perpetrators from being employed in your setting, it is important to create a culture whereby concerns can be openly and honestly shared. They were mainly talking about concerns about how colleagues behave with children in their care, but the need for a 'whistle blowing' policy was discussed. We were directly asked "what would an employee do if they were concerned about your conduct - who would they complain to?".

 

What does your safeguarding policy state? If you are following procedure in reporting causes for concern and these are being ignored, then there must be somewhere else for you to take your concerns. The problem with small, niggling concerns is that they may be a signpost to a bigger problem. It is important not to jump to conclusions, but it is also important not to ignore the concerns of practitioners when they raise them.

 

Maz

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Beau - I can see your point about not jumping to conclusions but my problem is that these are the exact words said to me everytime I mention something to my supervisor that causes me concern - so I am not allowed to write anything down as she says it is 'not child protection' to any concern I raise. The blank forms for making a record of these things are in the child protection folder so I have no access to them. When I have tried to go directly to the safeguarding officer on one occasion I got severly told off for bypassing my supervisor. I could give her a note on a blank sheet of paper I suppose, but I don't reallly want to cross her too much when she has told me not too.

 

There are a number of issues now that I have and I don't really know what to do. They are not big enough on their own to make an independent referral but it seems so wrong that they are not being recorded (can't really say what they here though).

 

Our Liaison teacher has suggested we get consent from our parents to be able to contect out local children's centre and have them contact families who need extra support. eg, in this case, maybe anger management, or positve parenting, but any sort of help like speech therapy or translation services.

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I'm designated CP in school and would run concerns to the LA support team and take advice otherwise I would contact Social Care Direct and ask them to record the incident. All this means is that your concerns are on file in case other professionals have cause for concern.

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Lyanne I reallylike the idea of letting our Children's Centre know in confidence - especially as we are close by to a children's Centre. It means I am doing something without going directly to Social Services over the heads of my managers, which would feel a bit ott. I think I might just do that.

 

HappyMaz thanks for your support. There is no where else my policy lets me go on this (we have recntly been forbidden to go staight to safeguarding officer, and always have to act through our supervisors), so I think I will follow Lyanne's suggestion and hope for the best.

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Now perhaps I am being silly here but if you are forbidden to go to your safeguarding officer with any concerns and can only go via the manager, what is the point in having a safeguarding officer? Does your policy state that you go straight to the manager?

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  • 4 weeks later...

in our setting the CP policy states that all staff have the rght to raise concerns and that all though I am the CP officer in my setting I do not have the exclusive right to decide whether or not to refer a child if a member of staff feels that my judgment is wrong then they are permtted to go over my head and contact social services for advice, (I feel a childs safety is far more impotant than my ego and I am only human my Judgement is only my opinion)

 

really there shouldnt be a chain of people to go through in the setting, CP information should be shared on a need to know basis this s a confdential matter not a complaints proceedure.

 

 

as for parents smackng their children....

we had a discussion this morning about parents smackng their children I had heard that a parent had smacked their child in the playground and the school had reported the parent to social services

 

some of my staff agreed with the schools action but I didnt because (although I didnt agree with smacking) its not illegal and if it had been an isolated incident then I felt it sounded like the school where over zealous in reportng the parent but I dont know the full details of the incident whether it left a mark?

 

if a parent smacked a child infront of you what would you do?

ignore it?

record it?

report it?

 

I personally would record it (report it if it left a mark.)

Edited by Alison
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in our setting the CP policy states that all staff have the rght to raise concerns and that all though I am the CP officer in my setting I do not have the exclusive right to decide whether or not to refer a child if a member of staff feels that my judgment is wrong then they are permtted to go over my head and contact social services for advice, (I feel a childs safety is far more impotant than my ego and I am only human my Judgement is only my opinion)

 

really there shouldnt be a chain of people to go through in the setting, CP information should be shared on a need to know basis this s a confdential matter not a complaints proceedure.

 

 

as for parents smackng their children....

we had a discussion this morning about parents smackng their children I had heard that a parent had smacked their child in the playground and the school had reported the parent to social services

 

some of my staff agreed with the schools action but I didnt because (although I didnt agree with smacking) its not illegal and if it had been an isolated incident then I felt it sounded like the school where over zealous in reportng the parent but I dont know the full details of the incident whether it left a mark?

 

if a parent smacked a child infront of you what would you do?

ignore it?

record it?

report it?

 

I personally would record it (report it if it left a mark.)

 

 

As a parent I have smacked my lads. As a childcarer I havent.

I think its easy for us to condemn a parent and to look aghast when we see a child being smacked but thats with our training in 'positive parenting'(a phrase that didnt exist in my vocabulary 19 years ago), behaviour management, child protection and distraction techniques.

As a parent I can empathise with the parent who is struggling to cope on an every day basis. The shopping needs to be done, the houseworks waiting, the bus is late, its raining, there are people giving me knowing looks.

But as a childcarer I can see what they are doing is unproductive, that their actions are hypocritical and that the child is still learning the ways to be socially accepted.

If parents were given some basic training in behaviour management smacking would probably stop, but they arent given the right kind of help. My health visitor was more concerned that my son didnt eat vegetables than that he didnt sleep and just screamed 24 hours a day. Real help and advice would go a long way to protecting all children.

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Thank you all for your valuable comments.

 

Looking at our policy and procedures I was under the impression that if I wrote it down as a concern I had to inform the parents and the local safeguarding officer.

 

Lots more details that I didn't share with you all, but I decided that I and a senior colleague would talk to the parent concerned, after quite a lengthy conversation with her and her daughter I was happy that this was an isolated incident. But I constantly question myself, if anything came up in the future there is no record of this happening. I will take more advice from the lea.

 

thank you again for all your support it really helped.

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