Monday, October 29, 2012

Can Certain Foods Be Mood Enhancers?

                                                                                   Hi Friends,

I know we cover a lot of heavy topics here on Foster Parent Rescue, especially lately, so I thought I would lighten the mood just a little, as the daylight grows dimmer, with just a little information on foods that can help lighten the mood (always helpful with a house full of foster kids and grumpy parents short-on-sleep.)

Many of our kids are on mood enhancing drugs for one reason or another, and although we try to wean them off as their situations improve, here in the Midwest, sometimes the shorter days can bring about a lethargia known as Seasonal Affect Disorder, or, just the plain-ol blues.

Although the words "ice cream" or "pizza" always seem to bring a smile to everyone's face, no matter what the weather is outside, there are even better foods (if you can believe that) that can help elevate a persons mood.

I found this article on Psych and it gives a pretty good list of healthy (sorry,) foods that can natural lift the mood that might be storming around your house lately.  Be creative with the list... some of the "healthy" foods can be used in cookies and cakes! Woohoo!

Autumn is awesome, isn’t it?
I mean, really?
Crisp air, brightly colored leaves, carving jack-o’-lanterns, getting lost in corn mazes, finally digging out those layers (the girls know what I mean), and…
Oh, yeah!
Delicious foods!
Of course, we already know how good fall foods are, but do we know how they benefit us beyond our taste buds?
Here’s a list of 5 ways fall foods can improve your mood.

1. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Why are omega-3 fatty acids good for your mood?
Well, the brain is about 60% fat, and according to Dr. Oz we (and by “we” I mean Americans, though I’m sure there are plenty of others) aren’t getting enough omega-3 fats to satisfy our brains – or moods:
Growing evidence suggests that consuming inadequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with depression and poor moods.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also help with fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Fall foods that can help pump up your omega-3 intake?
  • Wild rice. To get the most omega-3 fatty acids, make sure it’s wild rice, and not white or brown rice.
  • Walnuts. I always associate walnuts with Christmas and other winter holiday recipes, but lots of Thanksgiving and fall dishes call for them, too!
  • Beans. Black beans and kidney beans are especially good for omega-3 fatty acids. Toss a bag of bean soup in the crock pot and you’ll have dinner for days.
NOTE: Nutritionist Elizabeth Somer of has written in to disagree with including plant-based food as sources of the kinds of Omega-3 Fatty Acids that can boost mood. Readers, please note the Dr. Oz article quoted in this piece does include plant-based foods in the omega-3 section of the “Crank Proof Your Diet: 5 Good Mood Foods”: “[...]seeds and the sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fats to further bolster mood, brain power and immunity.” Ms. Somer’s comment does bring up one valuable point: Be sure to talk with your own trusted doctor, nutritionist, or dietician if you want to incorporate certain kinds of foods in your diet for specific mood- and mental health-related benefits.
2. They have vitamin D
Vitamin D is good for your mood because it helps boost serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine (the brain’s neurotransmitters). Often, people with Vitamin D deficiency are more prone to depression.
(If you suspect you might be Vitamin D deficient, your doctor can perform a blood test.)
We know that sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, but fall (and winter) don’t always give us as many sunny days as the spring and summer months. So, good autumn-type foods rich in Vitamin D include:
  • Mushrooms. Mushrooms are another common ingredient in lots of holiday recipes.
  • Fish. I don’t eat fish, but I know lots of folks who don’t eat red meat do prefer fish and sole, flounder, tuna, and salmon are great sources of Vitamin D.
  • Eggs and dairy products. Unless you’re vegan, chances are most of your fall holiday desserts (and some main dishes) will include eggs and dairy products like milk. Good news for vegans, too: You can get Vitamin D from soy milk.
  • Sweet potatoes. I eat these all year, but I can’t even imagine fall without sweet potatoes!
Read the rest, follow this link:  Psych Central

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Knowing When to Let Go: Part 3: Losses and Gains

by John and Diane.
This is the third part in a series about the hard process of letting a foster child move onto another placement when you are not making progress in his care. In my case, I had to decide that a foster child I had been working with for over 3 years, who had an attachment disorder, had been sexually abused and physically tormented and abused, had learning difficulties due to fetal alcohol syndrome, ADD, and violent outburst was getting too old, (now 16) and too big for me to deal with. Although I had brought him from being a nearly feral condition to being able to be in school and usually under my control, he was beginning to fight me on basic rules and was becoming a negative influence on the other foster kids in the house. 
Knowing When To Let Go: Part 2: Getting the Child Ready.) went through the decision making process of me getting to the point of letting the child go, and telling the rest of the family, Now, in this post, I wanted to deal with my own feelings about the boy leaving and the effects on the household. 
Losses and Gains
Now the child is gone how does that make you feel are you sad, happy, confused? 
In my case I didn’t know how hard it had been to deal with him.  The first day I got up and didn’t have to deal with him yelling and fighting with the others boys in the home, as they got ready for school.
That was an eye-opener for me!
 What?  No one yelling or fighting? I didn’t have to spend most of my time with the child that left (Let’s just call him Bobby) just to make him feel safe or in control of everything!  He was a typical RAD child.  As long as “Bobby” had my attention, he was somewhat ok.  But now I have all this time to help the other boys in the house. 
Then I started to think of all the things I had to go through just to get “Bobby” up to go to school.
1. Like coming down to wake him up once, then again 15 minutes later just to have him yell at me and say, “I was getting up” when he was still in his bed.
2. Making sure “Bobby” took his pills and watching him take them. Usually he would fake it and not take them so I would have to run them into school for him.
3. Checking “Bobby’s” backpack so he was not taking things to school that he was not suppose to take or finding things he stole from home.
4. Making sure  “Bobby” would let his brothers get ready for school first and not bug them so they would not be late for their bus, which came first. 
 Then after all the other boys would be gone on their buses then “Bobby would want me to spend time with just him.  Now some times this was not a bad deal, we would play games, I would try to make it a game where he learned something like good sportsmanship. Trust me that was a hard thing to teach to a RAD child with learning difficulties.   
But other times it would not go so well.  I might go through the backpacks and find something that “Bobby” stole and I would have to ask him about it. Not fun.  Then the bus arrives and he is throwing things at the wall or kicking the door in.  Ugh.
7. I would have to inspect “Bobby’s” clothes, because he would usually choose to wear the dirty stuff.  So now I would have to ask him to change them, then he would be upset with me and we could have another tantrum.
8.  I would also have to watch him brush his teeth because he would not brush unless I was sitting in the bathroom watching him.  It was a control thing for him.
I am not afraid of hard work. I am patient, I am used to going through a process with RAD kids, and other foster kids who need help and I am happy to dedicate myself to helping them have better lives. "Bobby" simply wasn't participating in making his life better. He fought me at every turn and was only getting worse as he got older. Most importantly, he started to take the other kids down a bad road with him. 
Now that he was gone,  I started to see something in myself. I was feeling better about life. It was easier for me to get up in the morning and I was smiling. Then I realized I had been depressed and didn’t even know it. 
When he left, a lot of things changed. I didn’t have so many meetings with the caseworkers, trying to get help for him.  No more running into school because he had done something.   No more fighting with the school to try to get them to teach him instead of it just being a daycare program.
I had a counselor in my home two or three times a week to help me with his anger problems, but that was time that took away from the other kids and doing other things as a family.
Suddenly, I had time to be with the other foster boys who needed me too and were getting left behind.
Now I see the other boys, first thinking someone had to take “Bobby’s place and be the “bad boy” who would try to run over me, but that was easy to stop. I just had to point out to the next oldest child that what happened to “Bobby” for trying the same thing. Let’s just say that behavior stopped in short order! 
Now my boys are happy just letting me be in charge. See, that is what I was losing.  The longer I put up with “Bobby” and all his bad behavior, I was losing control of my home in the other boy's eyes, and you can’t let that happen.
And now they see he won nothing but lost everything, but we always have hope because God can help anyone who asks him.
 I talk about God and tell the boys how He helped me in my life and He would help them to, in the same ways. I can’t make them believe in Him but I hope I planted the seed that may start to grow later.
Now this was more about how having a child leave helped me but at first I did not know how much I needed him to go.  It is hard to trust and let someone else take over your work.
 If you’re not moving, not making progress with your foster child, maybe it’s time to let God take over for you?  Sometimes for the safety of your family and the child, the best way to help him is to let him go.  .

In the next post in this series:
 I will talk about how letting the one child leave changed the other boys in the home.  Sometimes it is a Blessing when you realize you failed, because God may have other ideas on what is really going on; things that you only see in hindsight.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Controlling the Chaos: Foster Home House Rules for Teens

By John and Diane.

House Rules for Foster homes, or any home with kids are VITAL in our minds, to give kids clear boundaries and expectations. Especially important in foster homes, house rules provide security for kids, letting them know both what is expected of them, and that the foster parents will hold all the kids to the same standards.

This means, the rules protect them as well as apply to them.

Our house rules blog article (Importance of House Rules/Chore Lists for kids with Trust Disorders and RAD) has been one of our most viewed posts, but we mostly have dealt with younger kids, below the age of 14 or 15.  For this reason we sought out some house rules for Teenagers to help those of you who have older foster kids,or just older teens who need boundaries.

We found this list below on and really like it.  Of course, all house rules should be tweaked to fit your particular circumstances, but we feel like this is a great start and covers a lot of the necessary "teen" issues you want to deal with.  Things like school grades and privileges, boyfriends and girlfriends in bedrooms and phone usage are all things to be considered when making house rules for teens.

Below is the partial list. Follow the link at the end to go to to see the full list and source.  (Note: This list refers to the "Slate" residence, as this was the name of the authors group home.)


1. No boy friends or girl friends will be allowed without permission or when the Slates are not at home. Dates must be introduced to the Slates before permission will be given.

2. No persons of the opposite sex are permitted in the bedrooms at the same time for any reason or at any time. Children of the same sex must get permission to visit another child’s bedroom. Bathroom use is limited to one person at a time. This rule applies whether the children are visiting or are members of the family.

3. Prior permission is required for all outside activities including going to neighbors, visiting friends, after school activities, etc. If you are missing for more than 30 minutes without the Slates knowing where you are, you will be considered a runaway and the Police Department will be notified.

4. Prior permission must be given before riding in anyone else’s vehicle.

5. School will be attended, as required by law. Any grade below C is unacceptable. A C is considered OK but you should strive for As and Bs. Homework will be completed, required by the teachers! You will find that the Slates will almost always support the teacher or principal when dealing with disputes between you and the school authorities. The school punishment will be mild compared to the home punishment!

6. Telephone calls will be limited to no longer than fifteen minutes each and limited to a reasonable number per day. (The Slates will define the number allowed based upon whether the privilege is being abused.) No phone calls (in or out) after 10:00 PM. NO long distance or 900 calls will be made!

7. Household chores will be assigned and completed. Chores will be assigned shortly after arrival.

8. Attendance at meals and family is compulsory unless permission is obtained in advance. All food is to be eaten in dining areas unless special permission is granted.

To read the rest of the house rules, go to 

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Knowing When To Let Go: Part 2: Getting the Child Ready.

by John and Diane. 

Moving on also means new chances.

After I go through all the steps in part 1. Knowing When To Let Go: When Giving Up isGiving a New Chance, it’s time to start to get the child ready for the move and the other children in the house for the change. 
In my case that means lots of meeting with caseworkers and setting the timeline for the move. 
 If you’re like me, you have been thinking about this for weeks.  “What if I can’t handle him?” “Where is he going to go?”  This is the time you start getting your ducks in a row.   You need to be calm and sure of yourself and what you want or you may be talked out of doing the best thing for yourself, your family and even the child. 
 I have been there. I have had such a hard time trying to make up my mind and then tell a case worker what I decided to do, just to have them to tell me I was wrong and I don’t know what I am saying.  Even if that caseworker hardly ever spent any time with the child! They tell me I can’t give up on him, while at the same time tell me he cant go in any other foster homes because he not safe?  I love that one, he’s not safe anywhere else, but they will have me endanger the kids in my home? 
Yes, that happens too many times.  They try to talk you into something you know you should not do.  I have lots of stories like that. I am sure the social workers have pressures as well, and finding placements can’t be easy, but as a foster parent, and from MY viewpoint, your home and the well being of ALL your kids are your concern…not just the immediate needs of the one child. 
So have notes on why this has to be done, where the child needs to go, and what kind of facility would work best for him. You are the one who knows the child the best; so make sure the others understand that you thought it through. 
Now, don’t tell the child about the move until all the details are figured out. Here are some other things to think about and do. 
1.     Get a date in mind and make sure everyone understands that is when the foster child is going to leave no matter what. Trust me, if you don’t it could take months and the social workers will hope you will give in.   

2.     Find out what is available for him and if location and distance are important, then this would be the time to think about it.  Are you going to be visiting him or not?   Are you going to try to totally end the relationship with the child for safety reasons?

3.     Confirm the New Placement.  Make sure the new placement will really take him. Sometimes they may want to talk to the child or even Skype with him. I don’t recommend that unless they have committed to taking him and giving you a date and time.  

4.     Start to talk to the child about what he is doing currently in your home and how it is making it hard for the home to be happy.   Hopefully you have been keeping notes of his bad behavior, you’ll be using them later. Be specific about negative incidences, occurrences of breaking house rules and about the opportunities you have given him to change his behavior. Tell him, if you did not already, that he might have to leave if it does not get better.  Trust me, if he is at this point for you, he will not change overnight or even in a week or so.  He may be good for a short time but they always go back to the negative behavior and that is the times you always point it out to them.  

Now I had been dealing with dangerous and growing behavior for the last 2or 3 years in my case, that’s is how long I will put up with something, but at the point I had to make the decision the child was getting too big and I didn’t feel safe anymore.   Now would also be the time to bring up options if he has to leave.    This allows you to let the child get use to the idea that he may have to leave your home.

5.     Talk to the rest of the family. Start finding out what the others in the home think about what is going on.  Get them to talk about it.  Go over some of the reasons the child is being asked to leave and why you may have to do this. It is good for the other children to know that the tension in the home may be coming to an end. If other kids in the home are exhibiting similar behavior to the child that is leaving, they may decide this is a good time to start making better choices as well. 

6.     Make the decision clear to the child. When it is time for you to tell them why you cannot keep them, bring out your notes on their bad behavior and you can give them specific examples of how they were unable to change. It will be clear to them that you have tried hard to keep them but they just could not do what it would take to stay. If you can get them to understand why they are leaving, they can accept it.
7.     Lower the bar.  If you have to wait for placement, play it like the child has just come to your home. Lower the bar so he won’t have problems with you or the family members. You may have to share with some members that the child may be leaving and that are why he is not being asked to keep his room clean or to help out around the home. It all depends on how bad the child is.   You would always want to have them leave on a good terms. This will help him to try to come back to your home at some point or even for him to remember what it was like at your home in the good times. This may help him later to understand what went wrong and how he had a part in it.  If he is mad at you or others in the home he won’t take time to think about what went wrong. He is just mad, so he closes off this part of his life and starts over, making all the same mistakes he made when he first came into your home. So make him think about what he did by allowing him to leave on good terms.
8.     Give the child appropriate notice. I would not give a child more than a week notices on when he is leaving. Maybe only even a day. It is all about safety. What is safe for you and your home?  It is hard for a child to deal with change. They really don’t want to leave, so the faster, the better.  Familiarize the child with where he might be going, so his new placement won’t be totally foreign and frightening for him without upsetting him or creating a run-away or dangerous situation for the child. Since you have been talking about him possibly leaving, have been talking about potential placements and have been discussing behaviors, a shorter notice and his leaving the house will not be an abrupt departure. 

9.     Answer Questions. Make sure you can answer questions at the time the child is told. Have a counselor with you if you can to help you break the news and make it a good thing.  Tell them that they will be getting help for their problems because you could not help them. You take the blame for not being able to help them, or even not able to keep the other children safe anymore around the child. “Fall back” for the child who is leaving you. Let them know you can’t help them anymore and list the things you were working on with them and you could not teach them.  Yes, I know it sounds like your letting the child off the hook, but he is the one leaving, you’re not. He will be the one thinking of all the things you tried to do to keep him with you when he is some where else, and if you do it right, he may even say he was sorry for not working harder and for being so hard on you. 

10.  Make the last day’s together fun. Make them fun for the whole family so everyone under stands it will be sad when they leave.  Even if at this point the child does not know he is leaving the home, make sure that the family, as a whole understands why he may have to go and answer their questions. This is the time to show them the difference between them and the child who is leaving and the things that may be the same that they may have to work on.

I try to have a “New Changes” or “New Chance” party on the last day to celebrate the child’s chance to start over and show us how good he can be so he may come back to us soon.

Stay tuned for the next installment in this series: Effects on the house after the child leaves

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Teaching Through Play: Table Manners Game from the Blogosphere

By John and Diane.

In our blog post Importance of House Rules/Chore Lists for kids with Trust Disorders and RAD   we have talked about house rules and how having clearly defined rules help kids know their boundaries and what your expectations are. This is vital, especially for households with impulsive children like those with ADD or ADHD or RAD.

In a recent posting on True Aim Education, blogger  shares a Manners game that uses rules for tables manner as a foundation, then practices the rules by playing a game.

In her blog post, she makes clear that although in the game, children are allowed (and its extra fun) to correct Mom and Dad on manner-errors during play, that it is only acceptable during the game and for the purposes of learning. That, and some of her other tips are important to remember and talk with the kids about in order to make this game a good tool to improve behavior and not create new-bad play with adults.

Check out the post and try it out for yourself!

Pass the Manners, Please!

table manners for children

The only thing more annoying than eating with a family that has rude children, is being the family with the rude kids.  It happened to me only once, but it was traumatic enough for me to solemnly swear, "Never again!"

Humiliation is Served

By now beads of perspiration spotted my brow.  The dinner conversation was taking its toll.  "Audrey, please stop yelling at the table... Audrey, please sit up... For goodness sake, take smaller bites... You are talking with your mouth full again...  Didn't I say stop yelling?...  Hey, get out from under the table... Put that dessert back until you finish your meal...Did you just spit your food out on the table?... How about saying please first...Stop reaching, you're going to spill your... Great, you spilled your milk all over the table... It is not funny, Audrey!"

I could feel the judgmental glare from the other guests piercing me and I could hear their disgruntled thoughts.  Half were thinking, "Geez, lay off. She is just a kid and you sound like a broken record," while the other half thought, "For crying out loud, why don't you spank that little monster."  I imagined the two groups both thought, "What a bad parent and what a miserable dinner party!"  The pressure was taking its toll.  I just wanted dinner to be over so I could hide myself.
Finally, it all came to a head.  My lovely daughter was yelling down the table for the umpteenth time.  By now everyone, including me, was sick of hearing my voice.  So, I decided to causally remind her to quiet down by tapping her leg under the table.  I stretched out my foot and gave a light tap.  She didn't even blink – to excited to feel the nudge.  I stretched out again and kicked slightly harder.  Nothing.  I was determined to secretly get her attention, so I slid down in my seat giving myself enough reach to give her a good solid kick.  Unfortunately, the kick was very solid, a little too solid.  Audrey gasped, her eyes welded up with tears.  I held my breath.  Then the flood gates burst open and she started to wail, "Mommy kicked me!  Why did Mommy kick me?"  She was inconsolable and I was utterly humiliated, so I threw in the towel.  I smiled politely and excused myself.  On the way out, in a last ditch effort to save face, I made a classic parental excuse for my child's poor behavior.  Looking very puzzled I claimed, "I don't understand.  She never acts this way – she is probably just overly tired.  She hasn't had a nap today."  Then I tucked my tail and left.

The Game Changer

Luckily, that was a long time ago.  It is now my pleasure to take my children out with me.  Everywhere I go I get genuine compliments on how well-mannered my daughters are.  In fact, now if there is any embarrassment it is that my girls make their mother look ill-mannered in comparison.  I attribute their dramatic transformation to a silly little game I came up with called, "The Manners Game."
The Manners Game is very simple.  Each family member gets three Popsicle sticks, or other reward, to put on their place mat.  Before the game commences, go around the table and have everyone recite a few "Table Manner Rules."  After that, you are ready to begin.  If one family member sees someone breaking a "Table Manner Rule" he gets to take one of their Popsicle sticks.  Whoever has the most Popsicle sticks at the end of the dinner wins.  My kids love this game.  It is the only time they are "authorized" to correct Mom and Dad.  You can make the game more fun by intentionally making a few "manner mistakes" and then pretending to be shocked and outraged when your children correct you.  They will love it!
Read the rest of the article here: True Aim

Friday, October 12, 2012

Knowing When To Let Go: When Giving Up is Giving a New Chance

By John and Diane.
The hardest thing for me to face is coming to the truth that I can’t help a child anymore.
I, of course, think to myself that I have failed as a parent, that I have failed my foster child, that there was something I could have done differently or something I didn’t do at all. I go through all this in my mind and I beat myself up over it.   

When foster kids stop responding, sometimes a change helps.
I know many of you know how it feels to think that you can’t handle it anymore and have cried over having a child leave. It is a heartbreaking and difficult decision, and one that many foster parents and even biological parents of troubled kids have to face at one time or another.
Although, with God’s help, I have had many successes with very tough kids, you may wonder, what it takes for me to give up on helping a child? These are the things I consider.

1.   I was an EMT and one of the things we always had to remember was that you have to take care of yourself first.   If you get hurt you can’t help anyone else and you become part of the problem.  Was I taking care of myself? Or was I stressed out and burned out? 

2.  The safety of the child and the others who may be around the child. Is everyone still safe?

3.  Do you have to put your hands on the child to keep him and the others in the house safe? How hard is it to do if you do have to?  Some times you may just have to hold a child for him to calm down or to protect him from hurting himself or others.  (NOTE: if you have to do this, let the case workers know this is something you are doing and get training on how to do this or you may find yourself talking to an officer for child abuse.)  A hands-off approach is the best way to handle issues with kids, but I have to take how difficult this is into account when determining if I can keep a child. Can I still control the child if he has an outburst?

4.   Does the child’s age/size/weight create a safety issue for yourself and the other children?  Especially important if the child has uncontrolled violent behavior, if the child is getting older, and stronger, it may simply not be safe anymore for me to work with him in a family-home environment.  Is the child getting too big and is he too dangerous now for me to handle?

5.   Am I helping the child anymore or have I done as much as I can? This is a hard one to answer.  We always think that we could do more. Listen to the others in your support group (teachers, counselors, doctors, caseworkers, therapists,) they may see something you can’t or wont.  Am I still making a difference?

6.   Is the child holding the other kids back either emotionally, mentally or socially?  Is he modeling inappropriate behavior for the younger, impressionable foster kids? For example, does he disrespect the authority figures in the house, is he breaking house rules and encouraging the others to break rules. Is the child’s behavior negatively affecting the other foster kids progress?

7.   How long has the child been with me? Have the behaviors gotten better, worse or have they hit a plateau Have I given the child enough time and chances to have changed?

8.   I pray and ask god to forgive me for not being able to help the child for I am too weak to handle it. Somehow he always lets me know he understands and shows me the way to help the child even if I am not the one doing it. Then I know it is time for me to let go and let someone else help now.

Although for most, the safety concerns are enough reasons, and good reasons, to consider seeking new placement for a foster child, since my home has some unique safety measures in place, such as cameras for supervision, I needed all 8 reasons for me to feel justified and at peace with the decision to let a child go.

This was a decision I had to make recently with a foster child who I had for many years. I will continue to share this experience with all of you in following posts as we discuss all the steps involved with the process of letting a child go.

Image:  License


Monday, October 8, 2012

Hard Decisions: Is Giving Up Your Child Sometimes Your Only Choice?

by John and Diane.

A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune-Utah discusses a case where a mother of a severely autistic child had to make the decision to give her child up for state custody because her insurance would not cover the treatment and services she needed to keep him at home.

An escalating series of dangerous and violent behavior made intensive treatment and therapy for her son necessary, resulting in the drastic decision for him to be institutionalized as a ward of the state.

Foster, adoptive and bio parents are also faced with issues, usually behavioral, which may force them to consider giving up a child in their household for state custody or another housing solution. Sometimes, even though from the outside it may seem to be a cold choice, or the end result of a parent simply not doing enough or trying hard enough, it is the best thing for a troubled child.

Many times a change from a home environment may indeed mean breaking ineffective disciplinary and reward cycles or co -dependent relationships and can give children an opportunity for therapeutic treatments they may not otherwise have access to.  Although traumatic for a child to be taken out of a home, if the end result is a more well-adjusted, happy and successfully functioning young adult,it is hard to say it was a bad choice.

Of course, one doesn't know the end result of the decision when it is made.

Read the article about the tough decision this Utah Mom had to make, and tell us what you think....

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Desperate parents surrender autistic children to state custody

Families who can’t afford mental health care, behavioral therapy, other services for their autistic kids are giving them up to the state.

First Published Sep 29 2012 06:17 pm • Last Updated Oct 01 2012 12:16 pm 
In the weeks before Garrett Lines was hospitalized, he insisted on symmetry and separation. If he said "goodbye" and someone responded "see you later" instead of echoing him, he screamed. If he stepped on someone’s shadow, he ran backward to escape. By the time he arrived at the state’s hospital for the mentally ill, Garrett had tried to choke himself with his shirt, stuff his hand down his throat and jam a plastic knife in a light socket, hoping to electrocute himself.
Garrett was 12 years old. Diagnosed with autism at the end of kindergarten, he had access to only short-term crisis care and limited counseling due to the restrictions of his mother’s private health insurance. Thirty-two states now require insurance companies to cover autism treatment. But Utah is not one of them.
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Foster Parent Q&A: "How Do I Discipline a RAD Kid When Nothing Bothers Him?"

by John and Diane.

Q:  Dear Foster Parent Rescue : I have a RAD Foster child who is 8 years old. How do I discipline him for bad behavior when he shows no remorse for anything? Nothing I do seems to bother him. Time outs, taking away a toy or no-TV... nothing really seems to make an impression, and he just doesn’t seem to feel sorry for what he has done. Any suggestions?

First, read: Tantrums and Trust Disorders now, if that doesnt work, this would be the last resort.

Ok, a RAD child does not like doing anything that does not help him in some way.  Either making him feel good about himself, “I am King” or getting something he wants, material things.  So you have to make being good or doing the right thing either feel good or get him something he wants.  
 But you’re lucky, you are one thing he wants, or even needs. 
1.     He needs you to talk to and for you to listen to him.
2.     He needs you to play with him. I am sure he probably has very few friends, if any.
3.      He needs to be close to you; even sometimes just letting him in the same room with you makes him happy.
4.     He needs you to set the rules and to enforce them.  
So these are the things you have control over, I would hope.  So stop giving this to him for doing nothing.
Shunning for Behavioral Modification
 If your child is not listening to you and not following the rules of the house, then start to use shunning. This is a way to let him know you’re not happy with him.
Stop playing with him; take away the only friend he has.  This is best used when he makes your life hard by fighting with others in the house or by not cleaning up. Take the time away from him, to do the cleanup that he made for you.
Physical Closeness: this is hard on them.  You don’t even let them be in the same room with you.
Don’t let them be near you and you tell them why (“you upset me so much I can’t even look at or be in the same room with you, so you just stay away from me.”) This sometimes seems like it doesn’t do anything but it works directly on their emotions. This stops them from getting control back from you and it leaves them no way to get to you to manipulate you.    
The Pre Requisite  Special Time Together
 Now all this can only work if you have set time aside for him every day, where you and him are to be together, either playing a game or walking and talking or something that makes him feel special.  He must have plans with you in the future. Have short term plans such as a game night and long term plans such as a fishing trip or other special vacation.
You have to give him a reason to be good or to listen to you when you talk.   He has to feel he has something with you that he can lose.   If he does not have anything to lose from you then why would he care to do anything for you?  In his mind he thinks you’re a liar or you are just trying to trick him.  
Now, you would think that taking the TV or games away from him would do that, but he really doesn’t care about them.    
He needs control of his life and if he is not in control, he does not feel safe.
In his mind, he thinks he has to be the boss and every one should listen to him, he thinks he is always right and you are always wrong, and this makes him feel safe as long as its unchallenged. 
You make him feel insecure by stopping the closeness and or by the shunning and he needs to get near you again to feel safe again. That means he need you to feel safe again and this is something all the RAD kids need.   So if you make yourself the safe place for him to go, then you can control him and he starts to care about you.   A win-win deal.
Good luck.

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