Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Each His Own

Disclaimer: Due to HIPAA laws, all blog posts related to our Foster Care experiences will have limited information when referring to the children and their cases. Their names will remain private and I will use generalizations when writing. I will not be posting any photos of the children that are in our care. My blog will remain public so people can stumble-upon it and so you can share with your family and friends. My FB page (close friends & family only) has the proper privacy settings in place per our licensing coordinator and I will be posting photos on there. It's basically Fort Knox! :)

Disclaimer: Although we are pro-corporal punishment, we do abide by the Florida Statutes for Child Care (Pg 19) and use the required discipline for our foster children.

As foster parents, we are required to log sixteen hours of training each year to keep our license current. There are a few different ways to complete those hours, watching approved movies (particularly The Blind Side), training classes, online training, FAPA meetings, etc.

Being the new kids on the block, we were approached about a 5 week behavioral assessment class and assumed it was a requirement for all foster parents. They would meet every Tuesday night for 3 hours. Needless to say, 5 weeks later, we still aren't sure if it was actually a requirement.

When it comes to discipline, we've had many discussions about our views prior to having kids. I think its important to make sure both parents are united in that decision because it has the potential to be a sticky situation if you're not. We both agree, if executed properly, spanking (yes, I said it) proves to be an effective form of punishment. I know it tends to be a taboo topic, but I am here to tell you I am a survivor of spankings and I turned out just fine. I'm not saying that's the only form of discipline we will enforce in our home, we believe there are an assortment of appropriate forms of discipline for certain behaviors that spanking may not be effective for. But just so we're clear and I don't offend anyone, the purpose of me bring up spanking isn't to tell you what to do, I understand everyone chooses to discipline differently and that's fine too.

We found ourselves in a pickle once we got our newest foster child. He is at the age that discipline should be enforced and unfortunately In the world of foster care, spanking is a no for obvious reasons. In the absence of spanking, time out is our alternative go-to punishment. He came from a home with zero structure so we had our share of challenges in the beginning. About the time we started our class, we were finally making major progress is his behaviors, which was quite rewarding considering we'd never done this before. The class opened our eyes to different ideas to help us with some problem areas and also gave us reassurance that what we were already doing was good too. Even though the the instructors don't really teach time-out (go figure) as a proper punishment, it's definitely worked for us. Oh yeah, and they don't use the word punishment either because it apparently gives off a negative connotation. Call me crazy, but isn't bad behavior negative? Their theory is ignore the junk behavior and praise the good - to each his own I guess! Did I forget to mention the instructors aren't actually foster parents?

One thing Ben and I have in common is we aren't afraid to speak our mind. It's not our most promising attribute, even if it's contradicting everyone else. In fact, on more than one occasion we were the cause of open debates between the instructors and fellow attendees. Although off base at times, overall the training was full of great tools that we have already incorporated in our home.

I would absolutely love feedback on what forms of discipline work best in your home. You can do that by leaving me a comment below or emailing me privately at 

The book the curriculum is based off of is called "The Power of Positive Parenting" by Dr. Glenn Latham.


  1. How old are we looking at here? I think that can depend on what type of discipline they are getting. I think that even in doing foster care you should definitely discipline the children obviously if it's called for. I think Kids should be told why they are being punished. I may not be a mom just yet but i have had oh about 20 years experience with my own nephews and nieces. One of my nephews had gotten so bad (mouthy as can be & disrespectful) that i had him clean out his room and put all of his toys in trash bags (he thought they were going in the garbage but i'm not that mean) i then had him bring them all into the living room and they were put in the corner. I then took the TV out of the room and grounded him to the room.He was punished for 2 days and since he had nothing better to do the room was immaculate when he came off groundation.
    Like i said i think it depends on their age, this particular nephew was about 8 at the time so spanking usually isn't much of a punishment at that stage. He learned his lesson and got all of his toys back and he was good for me the rest of the time i had him. I believe it is all the process of learning. Like you i was a child of spankings and i turned out just fine.

    1. In regards to foster children, The child I am referring to is 2yrs old. I absolutely agree with you, disciplined should be age appropriate. Because children that are in the system have already been stripped of their normalcy and at times come from tramatic situations, you have to go about things a bit differently and tread lightly. I say time out is our go-to punishment, mainly because he is so young and already has a hard time comprehending due to some hearing problems. We too, have recently removed all the toys from him room, due to throwing toys in the midst of tantrums. One of the tools that the class taught was "Getting Close", and that really helps too. After they have calmed down, coming down to there level and speaking to them that way. Because of his hearing, we do a lot of demonstrating and roll playing so he can better understand what we are saying. Otherwise he will look right through us and have no clue what you just said. You hit in right on the nail, its totally a learning process. We have realized some behaviors aren't worth using time out and instead just ignoring and you eventually see the behavior happen less.