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Old 02-04-2011, 09:26 AM
 
Location: California
1,909 posts, read 1,888,508 times
Reputation: 1667

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Nine months ago I posted about my wife and I getting a foster child because we felt we could help out a child in need and give him a good home. We originally wanted a young boy about 7 or 8 years old. But we ended up getting a now 16 year old boy. We consider ourselves good parents raising two children of our own with no problems at all.

When he first moved in, we set household rules to our foster child, nothing different then what are own children have to go by. After 9 months of him living with us, he is still breaking our rules at school. We had yet another conversation with him this past week about simple basic rules, and why he still breaks them. His response was because he didn’t think we would know about it. I have email communications with all his teachers, so I find out a lot of things from his teachers, sometimes before he even gets home.

I’ll ask him if anything happened today at school that I should know about, and he’ll say no. Then I show the email from his teacher that describes what happened. Only then will he talk about it, but will try to confuse the issue to make it look like he didn’t understand the rule.

He doesn’t own an IPOD, but yet takes one into class. When I confront him about whose it was, he’ll give a first name, but doesn’t know the kids last name of who he borrowed a 3 hundred dollar IPOD from?? That doesn’t add up to me. I think he stole it and he doesn’t bring it home because he knows that we know he doesn’t own one.

Should we just give up on him, or be lenient on him since he is a foster child and structure is something that is foreign to him. Or stand our ground on our rules knowing we will continue to have these sometimes heated conversations about rules?
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: here
24,469 posts, read 28,730,432 times
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what kind of discipline does he get when he breaks the rules?
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:35 AM
 
Location: New York City
2,814 posts, read 5,856,135 times
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Two things: first, what is his background situation? Secondly, as a foster child, he must have a social worker. You should consult with them before taking any drastic steps. Is he getting regular counseling?
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:06 AM
 
1,425 posts, read 3,521,622 times
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Has he ever had someone who cared enough about him to ask teachers about his behavior?

He may truly believe you wouldn't find out because his past may have taught him that adults do not communicate with each other.

It is very difficult to take in a child of this age, with a foster home history. Everyone else has already given up on him/sent him back/neglected him.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Manhattan, Ks
1,280 posts, read 5,919,859 times
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If he's been in the system long, he's probably learned that he needs to steal and lie in order to survive. It will likely take a lot longer than 9 months for him to truly believe that those coping mechanisms aren't necessary with you. I second the recommendation to talk to his social worker.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:33 AM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
3,302 posts, read 3,755,085 times
Reputation: 2524
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just One of the Guys View Post
Nine months ago I posted about my wife and I getting a foster child because we felt we could help out a child in need and give him a good home. We originally wanted a young boy about 7 or 8 years old. But we ended up getting a now 16 year old boy. We consider ourselves good parents raising two children of our own with no problems at all.

When he first moved in, we set household rules to our foster child, nothing different then what are own children have to go by. After 9 months of him living with us, he is still breaking our rules at school. We had yet another conversation with him this past week about simple basic rules, and why he still breaks them. His response was because he didnít think we would know about it. I have email communications with all his teachers, so I find out a lot of things from his teachers, sometimes before he even gets home.

Iíll ask him if anything happened today at school that I should know about, and heíll say no. Then I show the email from his teacher that describes what happened. Only then will he talk about it, but will try to confuse the issue to make it look like he didnít understand the rule.

He doesnít own an IPOD, but yet takes one into class. When I confront him about whose it was, heíll give a first name, but doesnít know the kids last name of who he borrowed a 3 hundred dollar IPOD from?? That doesnít add up to me. I think he stole it and he doesnít bring it home because he knows that we know he doesnít own one.

Should we just give up on him, or be lenient on him since he is a foster child and structure is something that is foreign to him. Or stand our ground on our rules knowing we will continue to have these sometimes heated conversations about rules?
First of all let me praise you and your wife for doing this. It take people with a big heart to open their homes to children with these types of problems. These did not have the life they should have at a loving home.
I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer and I have had cases with kids this age. My hat is off to foster parents that get kids this age as in your case.
My tips are these:
1. You have kids of your own. I do not know their ages but I suggest you and your wife sit down to make sure they realize this kids was brought up differently than they are. He did not have the loving home they have so he needs to have some special attention. Let them know at times he may get away with things they do not. He requires some type of special attention and care.
2. From what you have described he is not destructive. In this case you still need to set up home rules. He will need to know you care for him by making sure you not only talk with him about what he does bad but what good he does. If you find thing like the iPod then confiscate them and find out who owns it and return it to the owner. He needs to see there is someone caring for him even though he may not like your actions. As long as he is not destructive you may have to punish him but if you go too far he may simply leave the home. So the question is this, do you think you can be more lenient so he does not leave the house? He may get hurt worse if he leave the house if your punishment and discipline is to harsh. He is not one to threaten anymore. To say the least you make sure you and your family are safe and his actions do not affect your family. Do look into his room to see what is there that may be suspicious. Let him know you need to make sure he and your family is safe. Let him know you have to have thosse measures because he has demonstrated he has lied to you. I am not saying to let him get away with this but maybe instead of leniency I should say more patient. The leniency you use should show him you note the things he does, you take action, and let him know you still care for him. Do this so he see he can't just get away with things.

What does this do. Your kids will see why you treat him differently with more patience and do not see you are just showing favoritism over them. They will also see they cannot do the same things and get away with it.

However, the moment you feel he is destructive to the family and there is potential harm to them, sorry but you may have to let him go. You have it in your conscience you did your best. Some kids are simply beyond help at some point. The system does not help in many cases also. CPS people at times are not much help either because they may be so overloaded with so many cases so they cannot be the help you wish they were.

This is all I can say. I wish this was of some help, take care.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Hillsborough
2,825 posts, read 5,953,202 times
Reputation: 2620
I think that you are setting him up to lie to you by asking him if anything happened when you already know it did. Just start from "I know X happened today and I want to talk to you about it" instead of daring him to lie to you about it first.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:50 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,958,716 times
Reputation: 30256
Since it sounds like his problems mostly involve school, I think you should let school deal wtih school behavior.

I'd focus my attention as a foster-parent on behaviors at home and outside of school.

He needs someone to prove he isn't just a meal ticket to them. He doesn't own an IPOD because he doesn't own anything. It's likely all of his previous foster parents took the money they received and spent it on themselvse. Help him learn how to earn these things via rewards, gifts and learning how to work for them. Yes, gifts. When is his birthday? Make sure he receives gifts that are equivilent to what you would give you children if/when they were/are his age.

You have to earn his trust. Isn't that a big eye opener? Here you think he needs to earn your trust. It's really the other way around becaues the system has proven to him that he can't trust anyone. This teen needs to learn that you truly care about him. He needs praise, just as much if not more, than he needs discipline. He needs lots of patience too.

I agree that being super strict is the wrong way to go. Choose your battles wisely. Little things shouldn't matter as much to you when dealing with a teen who has the potential to make huge mistakes. Don't give up on him. He hasn't hurt anyone.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:02 PM
 
Location: California
1,909 posts, read 1,888,508 times
Reputation: 1667
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkb0305 View Post
what kind of discipline does he get when he breaks the rules?
We're limited to what we can do, so basically it is grounding from going anywhere.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:52 PM
 
15,287 posts, read 16,833,735 times
Reputation: 15019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just One of the Guys View Post
Nine months ago I posted about my wife and I getting a foster child because we felt we could help out a child in need and give him a good home. We originally wanted a young boy about 7 or 8 years old. But we ended up getting a now 16 year old boy. We consider ourselves good parents raising two children of our own with no problems at all.

When he first moved in, we set household rules to our foster child, nothing different then what are own children have to go by. After 9 months of him living with us, he is still breaking our rules at school. We had yet another conversation with him this past week about simple basic rules, and why he still breaks them. His response was because he didn’t think we would know about it. I have email communications with all his teachers, so I find out a lot of things from his teachers, sometimes before he even gets home.

I’ll ask him if anything happened today at school that I should know about, and he’ll say no. Then I show the email from his teacher that describes what happened. Only then will he talk about it, but will try to confuse the issue to make it look like he didn’t understand the rule.

He doesn’t own an IPOD, but yet takes one into class. When I confront him about whose it was, he’ll give a first name, but doesn’t know the kids last name of who he borrowed a 3 hundred dollar IPOD from?? That doesn’t add up to me. I think he stole it and he doesn’t bring it home because he knows that we know he doesn’t own one.

Should we just give up on him, or be lenient on him since he is a foster child and structure is something that is foreign to him. Or stand our ground on our rules knowing we will continue to have these sometimes heated conversations about rules?
Well, he is 16, so the rules should be ones that are reasonable for a teenage boy.

What are these rules that are *yours* that he is breaking at school? Why are the teachers playing tattletale? The school should only have to deal with school rules, not home rules. If he is breaking school rules, shouldn't these be dealt with by the school and the teachers?

Did the IPOD get taken away? The teachers should be dealing with that and taking it if it is not allowed in class. If you have a first name, perhaps you can find out who the ipod belongs to and make sure it gets back to them.

No, you should not give up and be lenient. He needs structure. However, you need to make the structure relevant to both him and your home. I would not have *heated* conversations on the rules. He needs to learn to trust that your discipline will be consistent and fair. Get Positive Discipline for Teens by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott or From Defiance to Cooperation by John F. Taylor for solutions that should help.
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