14 March 2013
Foster Class: Discipline
Disciplining someone else's child is a big challenge...esp if the child has not been disciplined appropriately (ie, punished too harshly...or neglected). Foster parents cannot spank or hit foster children, speak to them in a degrading manner, withhold dinner, threaten to cancel family visits, threaten to send them back, lock them in a room, tie them up, etc etc etc. While I don't really feel that the list of "can't dos" really limits how Chase and I plan on providing discipline, it's still good to think about how we are going to discipline these kiddos. Chase and I have never been parents of any sort before...How are we going to handle this?
The class talked about some of the appropriate ways of disciplining foster children. First, always remember you are raising someone else's child and the child doesn't really want to please you. The child probably doesn't even want to be around you. Most children in healthy families have a desire to please their parents. I know I did growing up. I can remember crying and feeling upset if I thought I had disappointed my family. Since foster children may not be motivated to please you, the teacher of our class suggested a system of earning rewards and privileges as a way to motivate them to obey the rules etc.
Even more important than providing rewards/consequences is living by example. Children are always watching adults...always! So at all times Chase and I have to lead by example. Sometimes we still live like we did in college...We still let the laundry go until the last possible moment...sometimes our dishes stack up. We forget trash day about 75% of Fridays...(luckily we don't produce much trash since we compost and recycle what we can). I still leave out craft supplies. I don't always make the bed. BUT all that's not as important as the fact that we love and respect God and each other. We have love and room to spare for the children. I really feel that God has called us to this and he will help us live out his will.