by John and Diane
Having and posting house rules in any home with children is useful, but in a foster home or in a home with RAD kids or children with Trust Disorders it is especially important.
House rules and written chore lists provide a feeling of safety and security to enhance a loving and trusting environment vital to RAD and TD kids.They, especially, need to prepare themselves for each day and enjoy a routine they can count on so that they can feel safe and secure.
Develop your house rules with the natural flow of the day and the household in mind. Start with the morning activities and grooming and end with bedtime. Include interactions with others in the house, and pet care.
The presence of the house rules and chore lists allows and insures equal justice for all the kids in the house. Everyone in the house is aware of the rules and can point out other kids breaking the rules or inconsistencies in the rules to the caregiver. RAD and TD kids always feel like they are being cheated and this allows them to feel like have recourse in the house.
When a foster child first the enters the house, you go over the rules with them and make sure they understand them. Rules are posted in the home, and each child is given a copy. Kids are asked to sign a copy of the rules and an agreement with the parent that the parent can search the child’s room (amongst other things to be discussed in later posts) and enforce the rules.
There is also a disciplinary chart and a reward chart. Again, giving the RAD and TD child a clear understanding of what to expect, therefore helping to build a sense of situational security and safety. (We will discuss these charts later as well.)
House rules may be adjusted to the child’s abilities to follow the rules (for example, ability to clean his or her room.) It must be explained that the house rules are not there as a punishment but as a way to help everyone get along in the house and to create harmony. It is not wrong or being “mean” to say to someone in the house “I am sorry honey, but you broke the house rule and you have to be punished because it is not fair to the other people in the house that you didn’t follow the rules.”
Never refer to the house rules in an angry fashion, but in a sincere, “teaching moment” fashion. This way the child doesn’t resent the presence of the house rules, but sees them as a guide to live peacefully with others as part of a family.
Follow up on the discussion of the breaking of the house rules with the Love and Logic or 123 Magic systems, but begin the initial discussion of the breaking of the house rules in this calm manner.
The other benefit of the House Rules is that they extend to friends of the children. When a friend visits, they, too, are instructed of the rules, and thereby feel safe in the home, and have a clear understanding of what behavior is expected of them, and others in the house.
Always have as the last thing on the House Rules list, “ Rules can be Modified by (your name)” as undoubtedly you will need to modify them, and one of your kids (a future lawyer) will tell you that you can’t unless you have this on the sheet. Be prepared to defend this stance.
Here are our house rules you can use as an example:
Make your bed
Clean your bedroom
Turn off your Lights and night light
Brush your teeth.
Make sure you have everything you need for school or work before you leave the house.
Go to school/go play
Put your clean clothes away and bring back your basket to the laundry room. Dump your dirty clothes in the laundry room on laundry day.
Do chores that are asked of you
Take a bath or shower before bedtime when told.
Clean your bedroom.
Brush your teeth
Go to bed and be quiet and turn off your lights you may have a nightlight.
John will check your bedroom each day they must be as neat as possible based on your age and abilities will check all bedrooms.
Do not steal
Do not lie
Do not swear
Do not fight
Do not back talk to adults
Do not enter other people’s bedrooms without permission from John.
Always knock on the bathroom door before entering, wash hand after using, flush toilet, and put toilet seat down.
Always pick up your toys or anything you were using and put them back.
Always ask before taking food. Pop/ juices/milk can only be drank at mealtime. All other times. water is available for you to drink.
Do not eat in your bedroom or any other room other then the kitchen and dining room area with out permission from John. Always put your dishes away.
No cell phone or computers in the bedroom after bedtime.
John can modify any of these rules at any time.
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