Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spring Cleaning with Foster Kids Could Mean Wake Up Calls

By John and Diane

April 9 2016

Spring Cleaning is something the whole family can contribute too. Remember - if a child can operate a cell phone or gaming device, they can operate a broom!

When you have foster children in the house, or kids who have suffered trauma, you want to supervise and "help" in cleaning their private spaces so that you can key into troubles that they may be hiding - things that you may have missed up to this point.  Troubled kids are great at hiding the things that clue you in to their distress, and you may have been lulled into a false sense of security when things seem to be going well in the household.

Things you might find and what you should do:

*  Kids room or bathroom area:   bottles, or containers of urine.   I've had kids store urine in containers IN THE BATHROOM.  Boggles the mind, right?

What to do: Talk about it.  Kids do this for many reasons. Insecurity, fear, it is usually seen in children who have been sexually traumatized, but really, it's a fear response, so, it needs to be dealt with frankly and honestly.   Ask the child to dispose of the urine and clean the bathroom or room/area that it was stored in.  Ask the child what would make him/her feel safer.   Read:

Why is My Foster or Adopted Kid Urinating in The Closet (in a Jar, Towel, Hamper, Soda Can): The Red (or Yellow in this Case) Flag and How to Deal with It.

*  Kids Bedroom:  Drug paraphernalia :  Discuss it with the kids - Case workers - Remove items

*  Kids Bedroom:  Sexually Used Items:  i.e.: teddy bears with holes cut in them etc.  Discard and have an open discussion with your kids about how to masterbate.  I KNOW.  But - you have to have an open and healthy approach to sex, especially if you have a household with kids who have been sexually traumatized, so, if it's not treated as a big deal by you - you can make it a healthy discussion and be aware of any troubling sexual thoughts or actions between kids. 

This is also a great time to refresh your HOUSE RULES and put new rules into place. For example, if you kids are old enough - teach them now how to do their own laundry or take on new chores.  If you don't have a rule about CELL PHONES (Turn in all devices to parents at night for charging), put this into effect NOW.  We also recommend that you have passcode to all your child's devices. IF they change the code, they lose the device for a week. 

Overall, Spring cleaning together teaches foster kids many things. 1. that they participate in an event as a family, 2. that you are aware of what happens in ALL SPACES in the house and that 3. you are an ally in the home and will deal with all issues directly and properly.  

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