Episode # 34 How to Set Boundaries and Why It’s Vital!
When we have struggled as foster parents, it is usually because we have not do a good enough job at setting boundaries. When we have spoken to foster parents who are struggling, it is often due to a lack of boundaries. As a principal, it is safe to say that my teachers who struggle the most in the classroom, struggle because they have not set up the needed boundaries to be successful.
Here’s a quick “how to” on setting boundaries and why it is vital to your success as a foster parent.
- Boundaries need to be clearly defined.
- This means that you are specific. You give specific examples.
- Boundaries need to be understood by your foster kids.
- Make sure that if they have questions that you address them.
- Role play boundaries with them. (If you see something you want in my room, what are you going to do?)
- Set expectations correlated with consequences.
- We expect you to live within these boundaries. If you do you will earn these specific rewards (positive consequences).
- We expect you to live within these boundaries. If you do not you will earn these specific consequences (negative consequences).
- Follow through and be consistent.
- Boundaries do no good if you do not stick to them, or if you only stick to them part of the time or when it’s convenient.
- Reward following boundaries more that you consequent not following boundaries.
- Rewarding positive behavior is much effective that giving negative consequences for not following boundaries.
- Rewarding coupled with teaching is the most effective way we’ve found to really set up boundaries that work.
Foster kids need to set boundaries too.
It is also important that foster kids set up boundaries too. For teens this is HUGE for preventing drug abuse, pregnancy, and other problems common to some foster kids. By setting boundaries, their own boundaries, and understanding the rewards and consequences of adhering to those boundaries, foster kids will be more likely to make positive choices.
Boundaries are vital!
Like I said earlier, without boundaries, you will only see limited success as a foster parent. Here are a few reasons boundaries are so important.
- Life is full of boundaries.
- Jobs, families, school.
- Many foster kids have not been raised in an environment that has fostered an understanding of boundaries.
- Without a concept of boundaries, foster kids are set up for failure.
- Boundaries create harmony. A lack of boundaries creates disharmony and chaos.
- We have boundaries for our foster kids. They can’t come in our rooms, or our kids rooms. They have to be home on time. They have to be where they are supposed to be.
Call to Action:
- Identify areas were you need to strengthen boundaries.
- Set up and stick to some expectations in regards to boundaries.
Thanks so much for listening. Stay tuned next week to hear more…
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Let us know what you do to teach and establish boundaries in your home. What has worked for you and your foster kids?
Until next time!
Ben & Deb Pugh
The Foster Parents