My husband and I are in the midst of our training class to become certified foster parents. Last night the main focus of class was sexually abused children, and the woman speaking (who has been a foster parent for 13 years) listed several rules of the house that should be maintained in fostering homes to protect children who may have been abused and help them feel safe, as well as other children in the home in case an abused child 'plays' innappropriately. These include: 1. always closing bathroom doors, and only 1 person allowed in the bathroom at once, 2. bedroom doors must stay open if anyone is in there whose room it is not, 3. always knock on bedroom doors before entering, and ask permission to enter regardless of whether the door is open 4. never lay or sit on a child's bed. 5. never allow a child on your bed. 6. Always walk around fully clothed or in a bathrobe. 7. The rules should be the same for everyone.
She suggested that if those are not the type of rules one lives by currently, one should change prior to any foster children arriving so that other kids will not consider any changes that they don't like to be the new kid's fault.
I can totally understand and agree with the logic of these rules, but they are SO NOT US!! We are very relaxed about semi-nudity, going about in underwear at bedtime and mornings (we are not pajama people), seldom close bathroom doors (I can't hear what mischief the kids and/or animals are getting into if I do), often all wind up in there at the same time and noone cares, and our 2 year old sleeps with us. So these will be fairly significant changes to our lifestyle at home.
Has anyone had to make these types of changes in preparing to foster and do you have any advice on how to go about it, or really how to change the mindset? It just feels very against my grain! There is no possible way we will stop co-sleeping with our boy before he is ready though, so I guess we'll be breaking rule 7 from the getgo...