Foster Parents -- How Much Do You Worry? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-09-2012, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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The respite thread got me thinking....


I'm a newbie foster parent and I worry a  lot about doing things just right for the kids. I talk to my licensing worker and ask her advice, and she laughs at me (in good fun), saying that there is nothing (in the bounds of allowable foster parent behavior) that I can do to harm the kids.


Day care? Doesn't matter if I send them, how long I send them, or which one I send them to. Do what's going to give me a break and make things easiest for me, not


Discipline? Timeouts. Let them cry. Leave them alone to have a tantrum.


She has told me about one lady who does baby/toddler (1-2 year olds) fostering and respite care, and how she handles the little ones' whining. Basically tells them to keep singing, it's music to her, and she keeps on going about her business.


Sometimes I think she makes a lot of sense and her advice is a good way to keep my sanity. But a lot of this goes against my grain and doesn't seem very gentle/helpful for bonding. But I keep hearing that they don't need gentle, b/c anything's better than what they came from... Which of course is also very different than what we were told in training, which is use a light touch....


What do you all think? Especially if you're more inclined to use GD methods with your kids, do you do the same with foster kids or are you more.... harsh <?> with them?

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#2 of 5 Old 08-09-2012, 08:55 AM
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I treat them as if they were my biological children.
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#3 of 5 Old 08-09-2012, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I know -- I have the same mentality, although I admit that I'm not as patient as I'd like to be, and maybe that's why I'm asking what now seems to me to be a silly question.


I think my problem is that what seems to work for lots of other parents doesn't work at all for my son. (Things like timeouts have no effect, nor do consequences, apparently.) So when FS commits a timeout-worth offense, he is DEVASTATED. (Only happened once so far, last night.) I certainly don't think that timeouts are particularly damaging in general, but could they be for this little guy? That's the kind of thing that I'm talking about. I don't bother with timeouts much for DS b/c they just don't work. But they did wonders for our last placement. Now I'm wondering (again) if things like this are not appropriate for this current placement. I know I have to find what works for each child, that they're not all the same and all have different needs to be met. But I worry that while I'm trying to find "what works" that I'm hurting/hindering them in the process.

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#4 of 5 Old 08-09-2012, 12:48 PM
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It sounds like time outs are not a good discipline method for this child.  Are you familiar with the concept of a "time in"?


A quick Google search pulled up this article as the first hit:

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#5 of 5 Old 08-09-2012, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, your timing is great. I'm bookmarking that site, thank you.


Today was DS's first day of school, and therefore FS and my first day of having lunch followed by our usual nap/quiet time without DS here. I didn't realize there would be anything really all that different for FS, but apparently he thought the rules were out the window.


He tried to resist, and I playfully wrestled him out of his shoes and into bed. He protested, but was smiling and laughing. Til he asked if I was going to have quiet time too and I said no b/c I hadn't eaten my lunch yet. (Big mistake.) He then REALLY didn't want quiet time, and when I calmly reminded him that this is how we do it EVERY DAY and today is no different, where's my hug, he started arguing more. So I gave him two more chances at a hug, said, "No hug? Okay. Good night." He then threatened to wet his bed on purpose. I left, saying, "Okay. I'll show you where the towels are if you need them to clean up." And then he started crying.


So I don't know what I'd "normally" do in a situation like that. If DS tried that kind of thing when he was 3, first of all, he wouldn't have cried, and even if he did, he would've stopped and given up by the time I finished closing the door all the way, knowing it was futile. This one, I'm never sure how much of his crying is real and how much is manipulation, b/c lots of times there are NO tears at all, just a lot of boo-hooing and peeking out of his hands to see if I'm coming. So I let him cry, and he did for a few minutes then quieted down. I think most people on here feel it's okay for a 3 yo who knows "the routine" to cry it out a little bit knowing that they're not really alone. But is it different for foster kids in your homes? Sure seems from that article that maybe this was not the best approach, despite what my licensing worker and others in the system tell me.

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