Patience, Gentleness, Steadiness; but Firm BoundariesI don’t believe in yelling at foster children and I actually do not believe in “tough parenting or tough punishment.” These kids have had enough “toughness” and hostility in their lives. I think of a good foster parent as acting similar to how the Taoist describe water. Water flows gently and peacefully, …but over time is so powerful that it is able to carve through rock.
Display gentleness, steadiness, and firm boundaries regarding what is appropriate and what is not. Set the boundaries early in the relationship. When the boundaries are tested, stand firm; not with hostility but explanation.
- “LT, we eat at the table; not walking around the house because we don’t won’t crumbs everywhere. Come and sit down.”
- “LT, we don’t condone you smoking. You can NOT smoke in the house. If you are going to smoke which is not healthy for you, you must smoke outside. If you smoke inside, we will take the cigarettes.”
- “LT, sneaking out at night is NOT permitted. We care where you are and are concerned if you are missing. One more time and you will spend the next month of weekends with us cleaning the garage and helping out at the community food shelter.”