Sorry to be posting about foster care so much, but it is a part of my every day life now. So today I want to touch a bit on some of the problems we have been having. I'm hoping that someone, somewhere out there will benefit from this information.
I'm sure most of you know that in foster care, you are not allowed to use physical discipline. Now I always thought this was ridiculous and during the classes they explained how some children have been so abused that physical discipline would not be the answer for them. I can see where they are coming from on this topic and my stance on it now that I'm in the trenches of foster care is enough information for a whole other post. For now, I'm just going to tell you about our current struggles with disciplining our foster daughter.
We have a three year old foster daughter (and just FYI, whoever said that it was terrible two's needs to be slapped because I now have two three year olds in my house and I KNOW without a doubt that it is indeed the terrible THREE's!) and she has apparently been able to run the show and be the one in charge before coming here. The first couple of weeks were pretty good, nothing beyond normal three year old acting up. Now we are a month and a half in and it is just getting a little worse all the time. The main problem we have is that she will not listen to anything my husband or I tell her. (ok, ok, maybe every couple of days or so something will click with her and she'll realize that if she does what we told her she'll be a good girl, but in reality it is basically never). We started out just doing time outs. This was VERY ineffective. It worked ok for a couple weeks, but we just started losing the battle more and more. So we started using a behavior chart. I quickly made up a simple chart on our computer and printed it out and laminated it so that we could mark off when the kids did bad things with a dry erase marker and then wipe it off for the next day.
Sorry for the terrible glare (that's what I get for taking the picture at night!)
They obviously start out with a happy face every morning. Then when they do something bad, they progress to the caution sign, if they do something else they get time out. Then it goes back to the caution sign, to losing dessert at lunch, to caution, to losing dessert at supper, to caution, to losing cereal before bed (this is their bedtime snack), to caution, to losing a story before bed, to caution, having to go to bed early.
Now this worked wonders after the first day. The first day our foster daughter went through hers in no time, the second day it seemed to click that she was losing privileges every time she did something bad. It has definitely helped immensely, She can see where she is at and she can kind of see her privileges disappearing.
I'm guessing that other foster parents have struggles with discipline techniques so I would LOVE to hear any ideas and success stories that are out there.