October 25, 2012

How to establish household rules for your childcare provider

2 minutes
Advice for host families

Many of us are uncomfortable around confrontation. Some avoid it at all costs while others pass it off to somebody else; or if you are like me you face it head on with butterflies in your belly, a quiver in your normally strong voice, and an ongoing internal play-by-play about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.

As a psychotherapist, I teach countless adults how to set clear boundaries and ask for what they need and want. This theme of identifying what we need and then going on to ask for it is a struggle for even the heartiest of souls. It trickles into how we interact in the workplace, who we create friendships with, and how we run our households.

Remember, the more prepared you feel, the more comfortable you will be. Sitting down together on common ground (and not in the heat of the moment) is often the best way to address needs that may elicit resistance or discomfort.

If you are addressing somebody from a different culture, remember that when we are emotional we tend to deal with emotional upset within the norms of our home country as well as that of our natural families. What may be offensive in our culture may be perfectly appropriate in another. While it may be tempting, do not back pedal, even if cultural differences become a factor. Stay firm and clear in your intention, and precise in your preparation and execution. Within the setting of a meeting, refer to your written words. Check in after each point, by welcoming any questions or need for clarification. If you become frustrated reset yourself and continue to move forward. Establish the fact that a rule is a rule and not a point of negotiation.

Lisa Bravo, MC, LPC, LISAC, NCC
Cultural Care Au Pair Program Counselor