I am digressing from the main points I wanted to make. The main points are the type of children who are placed into foster care and why they are in foster care. There are many different superficial reasons why children are placed into foster care. In my experience, in ninety-nine percent of the cases the basic under-riding fault lies with the birth parent(s). We have a saying in foster care, "THERE ARE NO BAD KIDS, JUST BAD PARENTS."
In a very small minority of the cases, the child has been raised in a proper home but the child is just rotten to the core. Seldom is this the case within a caring, loving and honest home with discipline. I do not want to spend a great deal of time on those cases. I do not want to be one of those people who major in minor things. The human being has a great capacity to major in minor things.
The majority of the children for whom we have been foster parents have had no direction, no supervision and no discipline. We recognized very early (after our first placement) that we needed some house rules and that we needed to go over them as soon as possible after a new placement arrived in our home. There will be a great tendency on the part of the foster parents to ’go easy’ on the kids because you realize that they have not had an easy time of it up to now. That feeling must be resisted! All of the children have had no consistent rules or guidelines to pattern their actions.
The biggest need is structure and discipline until they can learn to form their own boundaries and discipline themselves. They have not been trained in self discipline. It is therefore important to not only have rules and structure but to strongly enforce the rules and not let them ’off the hook.’ It is necessary to constantly be attentive to and punish for rule breaking. I find it very easy to ’let it slide this time’ because I get so tired of constantly reminding them of their responsibilities. It gets to be a burden but it is a burden that the foster parents must accept. It is not OK to come in 1/2 hour after the promised time, even once. Most of the time it will also be necessary to continually remind them of federal, state and local laws. IT IS NOT OK IF YOU DON’T GET CAUGHT!
© Chuck Slate