There are many conflicts or dilemmas that could arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights. A conflict is disharmony between two incompatible positions, ideas, people or interests. A dilemma is a difficult situation arising because of a clash between two opposite positions where no one answer will satisfy both parties. Conflicts and dilemmas that can arise include bad behaviour displayed by children attending the day care, parents and carers disagreeing about certain ideas about the children, phones and other forms of communication devices may cause concern, particularly when carers breach the boundaries as to where and how they are allowed to use these devices, children taking risks, confidentiality, child rearing practices, family beliefs and cultural and/or religious beliefs.
Bad behaviour displayed by children can include hitting, pushing, biting, not sharing toys even though they are the property of the nursery and not their own toys that they had brought in from home, bad language used towards other children or staff members. Parents may have their own way of dealing with this type of behaviour at home and might tell the carers that they should follow through the same discipline, however, certain types of discipline may not be permitted by the policies of the nursery, for example, giving the child a light tap on the back of their heads or on their hands, depending on the actions of the child. Parents might or might not accept this, and when they don’t, there might be a conflict between parents and carers.
Parents and carers might disagree about the rearing that some parents practise on their children. This could include parents not allowing their children to attend or participate in certain activities, such as Christmas or other religious celebrations, or giving the child seconds at lunch. Carers might not be happy about having to exclude some children from these activities because they might say that every child should experience those events at one point and that it isn’t fair on the child, as having to be excluded might cause the child to feel upset or like they don’t belong.
This could hold back their social development and they might eventually become more and more withdrawn from the group. Some parents don’t allow their children to get seconds at lunch, which in some cases might be beneficial for the child, however, if the child is in perfect health and doesn’t have any weight problems, and is still hungry after finishing their meal, seconds should be allowed. To a practitioner, duty of care would mean ensuring that no child is left hungry at the end of each meal so this would go against their duties and beliefs.
Phones and other communication devices, according to nursery policies and also the law, should only be used when the practitioner isn’t around the children, so this limits the use of these devices to the staff room or the kitchen, where the children aren’t allowed. Although the carer might not intend to use the phone to violate the children’s rights or to put them in risk, there is always a chance of misunderstandings occuring and therefore it is easier to just not use these devices around the children.
This was brought around after numerous cases of child abuse, where carers were left alone with children and took photos of these children to then use them for personal reasons or to send to other individuals. This also breaks the rules and laws about confidentiality and protection of children. Nurseries have their own cameras that practitioners can use to document activities or other events that parents might want to see, or to take photos that can later be displayed within the nursery settings for the children or parents to look at.
Children taking risks within the nursery setting is a broad subject and it is often the topic for conflicts or dilemmas. Some parents might be risk aversive and some might be risk permissive. Risk aversive means that parents try to minimise the opportunities for children to experience risks that might be safe to take in the right circumstances.
This restricts children from freedom and gaining experiences that will be beneficial in the future. Risk permissive parents will allow their children to take as many risks as they please without setting any boundaries or levels of risk to consider. This will allow the child to have the freedom and the chance to experience things, however, it can also put the child at major risk, because without rules, children will do as they please without thinking, especially younger children. It is said that in settings, children need to be given the opportunity to stretch and challenge and to build confidence, and to learn new things.
The conflict arises when parents and the carers don’t agree on how much risk a child should take, or should be allowed to take. Risk aversive parents will have a set of rules they want their children to follow and may also ask the carers to take special care when it comes to their children and to ensure they follow through these rules. This however might be difficult at times, as there are lots of other children at the nursery, not only the one. Parents who allow their children to do whatever they like will give the practitioners a real challenge, because that child will do just that, regardless of where they are. They, however, may learn from these risks and although they might carry on taking those risks, they will do certain things differently to avoid getting injured.
Family beliefs and cultural and/or religious beliefs is another broad subject. Different religions celebrate different events and holidays, and will have different views about certain practices and activities, or perhaps about what the children are fed. Some children will have different dietary needs, but when it comes to religion, these needs will be similar for children of the same or similar religious or cultural backgrounds. Some may require all vegetarian meals, and some won’t be allowed to eat certain types of meat, such as pork, or beef.
Nurseries already cook halal food so that every child can eat the same or similar food and that their cultural needs are met. However, some parents might not want to accept, or believe this, so they might ask the practitioners to ensure that their child gets a specific type of food. This request is usually discussed and is rejected, because they might already have the right type of food, therefore they won’t cook a completely different meal for one child. They might ask the parent to bring in the food if they really insist on their child eating that particular meal, and will offer to cook it, as long as the parent provides the ingredients needed.
Courtney from Study Moose
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