||[Jun. 21st, 2006|12:27 pm]
Nateefah had her MRI done yesterday. So in a couple of days I can call the doc and see if anything has turned up in either that or the bloodwork or pelvic x-ray he ordered. She is finally getting on her hands and knees occasionally, (20 months of age, 16 1/2 months corrected) and yesterday for the first time she put her hands on the bars of her crib as though she were going to try to pull up to her knees. She didn't but hey, it's a start!|
Last night I again taught the class for new foster parent/relative care providers. This entire class is relatives caring for children already in their home. My regular agency co-trainer was off for the evening and she sent a substitute. The topic was discipline.
There is one couple who are very forward, brutally honest, and somewhat confrontational. They brought up several difficult issues:
"You're tellin us we can't spank the kids or you will take the kids out of our home. But you give the kids all the power. We can't spank them, we can only take away privaleges, but what happens when we take away a privalege and the kid gets mad, picks up the phone and says "uncle so-and-so just spanked me" - you come and take the kids out of my home. So either way I can't win"
and, in response to the worker stating that you don't want to spank a kid, you just want to love them (which he repeated again and again, ad nauseam)
"When I was young I got beatins' when I was bad, but never once did I question that my mother loved me."
To both comments:
Agency worker: "Thank you for sharing, we need to move on:"
These folks were completely shutting down - heck, if you won't listen to them, why should they at all listen to you?
Both times I felt the need to interject, and I hope the worker didn't feel I was stepping on his toes. He actually seemed appreciative. I think he was caught off guard and didn't know how to handle their comments. But it is important to acknowledge folk's feelings and concerns.
To the first comment, I aknowledged that we are in a tough situation. And the scenario he suggested does happen - and did happen recently to someone this couple and I both know! My only suggestion was to be pro-active. As much as folks do NOT want the agency involved in their lives, the agency is involved. So use them! If you are at all concerned about a child's behavior or their response to your discipline techniques, discuss it with the worker. And keep the lines of communication open -
plus I shared what recently happened with me and Lynn. She woke up with what initially looked like a 'fat lip'.
I said "Lynn, what happened to your lip" and she got all upset and made punching motions towards her mouth and said "oh, oh, got hit, got hit".
I said 'did someone hit you?" and she completely calmed down and said 'no.'
So I said, 'let me look at your lip' and she repeated "oh, oh got hit, got hit", gesturing toward her mouth. But there were little blisters there as well, and so it didn't look like someone had hit her if you looked closely.
So I said "Lynn, did someone hit you" and she calmed down and said "no'.
Well, you can bet I got on the phone with everyone - doctor, school nurse, and case worker. Because I wasn't going to wait until someone else asked her what happened to her lip and have her state 'someone hit me"
Turns out it was a cold sore - but it shows how vunerable we are as foster parents.
To his second comment about being raised with beatins' and still knowing he was loved, I felt it important to acknowledge his point. Many of us were spanked and turned out just fine. But I wanted to point out that many of our kids - the ones in care in our homes - do not have that strong foundation - they have been abused, or neglected, and do not have the strength that comes from knowing that you are loved unconditionally and that family will be there for you always and forever no matter what you do.
Hopefully it gave them something to think about - this couple is caring for a niece and it has rocked their household. The agency needs to work with them to acknowledge that yet help them to embrace agency policy - but this trainer made it seem like if we just love these kids everything will be perfect. "just love them, just love them" - he was like a broken record.
The woman I usually train with has been a role model for me - she doesn't dismiss folks, or their issues and concerns. She meets them head on and addreses them. So I can't take credit for interceding but...
hey, the system does suck at times, and if we won't admit that there is no hope of reaching folks. But I hope by addressing their concerns I sent them home with stuff to think about rather than to just dismiss. We shall see...