Return to the Parents Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
A small question

Posted by michaelsmummy (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 14, 02 at 14:57

Hi there,

i am new to this part of the forum. We have recently started fostering and have a nine year old girl placed with us and we have had training on 'challenging behavior', sexualised behaviour' etc..

But things we don't know are: What time does a nine year old go to bed? How much freedom do they get allowed(roughly) What sort of things do they like to entertain them? Our own son is 2 so we haven't had to go cross these bridges yet!!

Many thanks for your advice in advance.

Arlene


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: A small question

Hi Arlene, I have a son almost 9. He goes into his room at 8 and reads until 8:30. Then it's lights out because it takes him until 9-9:30 to fall asleep.
As far as her likes, ask her! I would take her to the library a lot and encourage lots of reading.
Not sure what you mean by freedom?
Best of luck!


 o
RE: A small question

Newborn to about age 2 is more 'normal' in the sense that all people are most alike in needs and the way they act at those early ages. We're all pretty much the same size too.

As children get older and their own genes and environment and development all get more individualized in their expression, things have to be more customized to meet those individual needs.

Usually, but not always 9 year old girls are just prepubescent (nearly adolescent and some of them will have more adolescent needs). This adolescence issue is important because what happens is that their biochemistry will change so that they will experience hormonal changes. This is an ongoing process so there isn't really a clear line separating 'before' and 'after' and the whole process can take a decade.

What usually works well is to establish that there are house rules, and external organization. Have dependable household routines and be as stable and predictable yourself, as you can. Then whenever you can, offer her choices (even if they are mainly symbolic) and ask her for her input and try to listen seriously and consider. Being able to make personal decisions (from the routine 'symbolic' ones to more serious ones) is a life skill and can be encouraged.

If she were a newborn you could read 'what to expect, when...' and even then you would still have to make it up as you go along because even newborns can have individual quirks and needs.

You can expect 'testing' and that can cause adults to feel 'challenged.' Testing is usually a matter of the 'child' getting an idea of their reality and its parameters. If you say something and impose a limit they _need_ to know and get a feeling for what that means. In order to do that, so that they can have 'common sense' and good intuition and communication with you later they will have to repeatedly test in order to see how you do respond. You can control your responses to reinforce that you are 'safe', 'sane', 'stable', and 'in charge' and 'trustable'; or not but the choice is yours. The important thing with this is that some children can be very very challenging. If you get to the point of feeling your own personal coping resources are stretched to the breaking point, or if you don't like the way you find yourself responding to this child have a plan for how to get help. Recognizing your own limits and being able to get help, talk to doctors or learn from counselors new communication techniques or coping strategies is a responsible thing to do and it sets a great example.

Whatever bedtime that will give her 8-10 hours of sleeping time (people have varying needs, and adolescents can need 9 or 10 hours and younger children maybe 8) is a good one. People of her age can be and feel developmentally driven to form and maintain social ties of all kinds, maybe especially with their age peers. That is a hard imposed limit on you both imposed by eons of evolutionary biology. Some people of her age can be less socially inclined. Some can have social inhibitions and anxieties. People can be all over the map and still have their own 'normal.' The sanity saving tip for adults is to not take things too personally, and not to expect things from human beings which are 'foreign' to them as individuals (or which they can't reasonably do because of their developmental stage). That's really important with adolescents because they can look like adults and in superficial ways act like adults. Their hormones can make them feel like adults, and they can talk like adults too. It is not reasonable to expect them to have adult-level good judgement (a lot of adults don't even have that), or behavior.

Talk to her. Have some unstructured one-on one conversations. If she's not talkative, you can try regularly going for walks or trying for some kind of shared activity-based time. She will let you know what her temperament is like, and what she thinks and feels (but she may not do so verbally or neatly). You might have to kind of read the clues she gives by her behavior, and listening to the things she does say. All you can do is your best. People of any age respond best in general when they feel like the other person 'cares' (and what the word 'cares' means and what shows it depends on the person on the receiving, not the giving end).

9 year olds often like movies, books about things they find interesting, and music they like. Other interests and hobbies are things you'd have to ask about or are things they still need to be exposed to in order to find out they do have that interest (they are still young yet and a 9 year old who may be a great photographer may never have had access to their own camera for example). She might enjoy collecting things. There might be a sport or activity-based hobby that she would like and which could help her positive growth. When she gets to adolescence she will probably like to have a sense of feeling more 'respected' and having 'privacy' (but those developmental needs will have to be balanced against safety issues and the degree to which she can handle them). Freedom for example is something that adolescents will feel they need. What that means can vary. Basic personal safety requires that they should tell the person or persons 'in charge' who are trustable where they will be, and when they can be expected to return. Basic courtesy, as a responsibility of 'freedom' requires that they get into the habit of calling if plans change midstream for some reason. The problem of adolescence is that they are still at the mercy of adults and adult decision-makers, and need to be able to trust that that is in their best interest. (Some adolescents are or have been at the mercy of adults who cannot reasonably be trusted for some reason, and so will have problems with these kinds of issues of safety and courtesy. If your foster daughter has been, she will need a lot of time and experience to be able to feel like she can trust.)

some good communication tips are in the book 'how to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk' (I think that's the title anyway)

P.S. The books, 'the gift of fear' and 'protecting the gift' are good adult books. They can help you get a feel for assessing risk and how to encourage you (and your foster daughter) how to recognize and heed good intuitions about personal safety; and about protecting the safety of dependent/minor children.


 o
RE: A small question

My friend's 9-year-old girl likes bike riding, takes swimming lessons and enjoys it (her friend who is also 9 prefers soccer but any kind of activity will do), and she has also taken free classes at the community theater, where they offer acting classes for children.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Parents Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here