Positive Parenting

As a parent of 3 who happens to be a positive discipline educator and a therapist– my opinion of child rearing practices is obviously very biased.

Don’t take my word for it though! Research positive parenting and try it out for yourself.

Positive parenting — sometimes called positive discipline, gentle guidance, or loving guidance — is simply guidance that keeps our kids on the right path, offered in a positive way that resists any temptation to be punitive.

There are many benefits of positive parenting. Most importantly is the secure attachment between parent and child, which encourages healthy development. Secure attachment builds resilience, paves the way for how well your child will function as an adult in a relationship, and have a positive impact on brain development, just to name a few.There are many benefits of positive parenting.

Most importantly is the secure attachment between parent and child, which encourages healthy development. Secure attachment builds resilience, paves the way for how well your child will function as an adult in a relationship, and have a positive impact on brain development, just to name a few.

In a nut shell the premise is that you treat your children with respect as you are teaching them to treat you with respect. It is “mutual respect”.

Child Custody Home Study/Evaluation

What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

Child Custody Evaluations
(often referred to as “Social Study Evaluations” or “Social Investigations”)
“Child custody evaluation is a process through which recommendations for the custody of, parenting of, and access to children can be made to the court in those cases in which the parents are unable to work out their own parenting plans.”

From “Model Standards of Practice” of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (1994). The most current version of the AFCC model standards can be found here.

General Overview

When conducting a custody evaluation the goal is to assess the ways in which each parent contributes to the physical, emotional and social development of the children in question. The role of any professional conducting a child custody evaluation involves neutrality and transparency. Evaluators should always strive to serve impartially, never as an advocate for one parent or the other. In the end the goal is to make recommendations to the court as to how both parents can best meet the needs and interests of the children involved.

Preparing for the evaluation:

Cooperate with the evaluator. They are there to help the family and the judge to decide on what will be in the best interests of the children.
Separate marriage problems from parenting concerns. There may still be a lot of hurt and anger toward the other parent, however, marital issues may not be relevant to timesharing issues.
Don’t look at the custody evaluation process as a “win/lose” situation. This is a good time to try to put the past behind and focus on the future.
Parents can help their children by being open and honest with the evaluator.
The evaluator can be a resource of information. Ask about reading material, parent education classes, counseling and other help.
Keep appointments.
Organize school, health and other information that will be helpful.
Make notes of the questions that should be asked of the evaluator.

Preparing for your home study

An excellent article from  http://infantadoptionguide.com/5-tips-for-adoption-home-study/- great read as you prepare for your adoption home study!

The first thing you need to know about an adoption home study – they are to help you adopt, not to try and keep you from adopting.

All families must complete the home study process before a baby can be placed with you. The home study helps ensure a good match is made between children and families. It’s also to make sure the homes of hopeful adoptive families are safe and comply with state adoption laws.

Not all home studies are created equal. Every state has its own adoption laws and different requirements. Here’s where you can check the home study requirements in your state.

Most states require that either an adoption agency or social worker must complete your home study. It’s helpful to know that agencies and social workers want you to adopt and become parents. They want to filter out the obvious weirdos or child abusers. They are not looking for the perfect parents – because we all know there are no perfect parents :).

My wife and I are going through our third adoption home study right now, so this is a perfect time to share tips from our research and experience.

5 tips for getting through your adoption home study:

1. Read about and understand home studies.

It helps to know what you are getting into, right? Here are some helpful places to read about home studies:

Once you begin your home study, your social worker will tell you what information they need. To give you some understanding of what they will require, here’s a typical home study checklist to review.

The checklist outlines many of the common items required in a home study, but should be used as an example only. Always contact your social worker or agency to get exactly what you need for your home study so you comply with your state’s adoption laws.

2. Prepare for your home visit – but don’t go crazy.

Your home will be checked to make sure it is a safe place for a child to live. So, yes you need to clean your house – but it doesn’t have to be 100% clutter-free. The social worker will not get out a white glove to make sure your home is dust free.

Our social worker looked at every room including garage and bathrooms. It took her all of 5 mins to go through the whole house, so it is not that big of a deal.

Here are some important items to check before your home visit:

  • Your home has smoke alarms in bedrooms and in living areas.
  • If you have guns, they are properly locked away.
  • Swimming pools are covered/fenced.
  • Poisons and household cleaners are in cupboards with childproof locks.
  • Window drape cords should not hang within reach.

Some states require an inspection from local health and fire departments in addition to the visit by the social worker. Here’s where to check your state’s requirements.

If you have these inspections, you’ll need to post all emergency phone #’s as well as a layout/map of your house. It needs to show exits and your emergency evacuation plan.[ois skin=”5″]

3. Treat your social worker like you would any special guest in your house.

Try thinking of the social worker as a good friend who wants to hear your story and about how excited you are to be a parent.

Offer water, coffee, tea and maybe a quick snack like a freshly baked cookie or muffin. You not trying to ‘butter’ them up – and this is definitely not necessary. You simply want them to feel welcome.

You should think about the best and most comfortable place for you all to sit and talk. A kitchen table works great because there’s plenty of room for the social worker to lay out papers and write, but it may not be the most comfortable.

Choose a place to sit and visit that has these two elements: 1.Comfortable. 2.Place to write and spread out paperwork.

4. Prepare for your interviews with the social worker.

The social worker will likely interview you to find out what kind of family you are. They will ask you personal questions about:

  • Why you want to adopt
  • Your marriage & relationship
  • Your finances
  • Your health history
  • How you handle stress
  • Your parenting style (how you plan on disciplining)

It helps to think about these topics before you have to answer them. Usually, the shorter the answers the better. Don’t leave out important details, but know that the social worker will ask more if they want to know more.

Honesty is extremely important. Don’t ever try and guess what the social worker wants to hear. Don’t hide anything either. It is much better to be up front and honest. Remember they are on your side – they want you to adopt.

5. Don’t be shocked by the large paperwork pile.

You will get a stack of paperwork to complete including:

  • Criminal background checks – including FBI fingerprinting.
  • Personal references (3-4 people who know you well will need to answer questions about you)
  • Self-study questionnaire – aka autobiography or the short story of your life
  • Employer reference questionnaire – basically verifying your current employment.
  • Financial statement – including liabilities and assets as well as copies of your most recent tax documents.
  • Health statement – requiring you to get a medical physical check by your doctor.
  • Provide copies of vital records such as marriage license, birth certificates, divorce decrees.
  • Adoption education requirements – this varies by state and agency but can include several hours of training.

Gathering information and completing all of this paperwork is what takes the most time because you are at the mercy of other people. For some of this, you are going to have to wait for others to do the work for you – background checks from the government, your 3 or 4 personal references, your medical doctor availability for your physical, etc.

While all of this may seem daunting and overwhelming, most adoptive families (my wife and I too) find the process was much easier than we thought it would be!