My Journey to Become a Foster Parent: Training Session Seven (Discipline)

Becoming a Foster Parent -Training Session 7 - Discipline -

During this session we spoke about Discipline. It was full of great discussions and people shared some stories of their own, which is always beneficial. It was focused on creating a a process of discipline where you teach and promote positive behaviour. We covered a lot of items and received a lot of information, I will only post some of it here (or it would turn out to be an hour long read).

Discipline vs. Punishment

We discussed the difference between discipline (teaching the disciplined right from wrong and proper behaviour) and punishment (negative reaction). We also talked about the Goals of Effective Discipline.

Reasons Why Discipline and Punishment Are Not the Same

  • Discipline is something that parents instill in children or youth. Punishment is imposed on them.
  • Discipline can be used to prevent problems from happening. Punishment focuses on dealing with  problems after they occur.
  • Discipline offers structure and guidance. Punishment imposes sanctions and enforcement.

Those are just a few of the points covered in our information binder. There is much more discussed during the training.

Goals of Effective Discipline

  • Protecting and nurturing children and youth’s physical and psychological well-being
  • Advancing children and youth’s development
  • Meeting children and youth’s needs
  • Teaching ways to prevent and solve problems
  • Maintaining and building the parent/child relationship
  • Helping children and youth develop self-control and responsibility
  • Producing the desired behaviour

The above list was taken from my information binder. We discussed in more detail during the session.

Group Exercise – Spanking

We were put in groups and had to dispute the following items. Spanking is not a form of discipline and we spoke about why these statements are not true (and I will admit, I cringe at the thought of people actually saying these things).

  • “I was spanked and I turned out okay”
  • “Some children just ask for it”
  • “You said to treat all children equally, and I spank my children”
  • “I don’t want my children to become spoiled. An occasional spanking is good for them.”
  • “Spanking is all right if the parent remains calm and in control.”

During our presentations some people shared their stories of being spanked as children and how that made them feel and what the result was (distrust, anger, etc.).



P – peak of crying

U – Unexpected (starts/stops for no reason)

R – Resists soothing

P – Pain-like face

L – long lasting

E – Evening crying (cluster crying, often in the evening)

Before this session I had never heard of “Purple Crying.”  After seeing the video, I realize I knew what it was, but I had never heard the term for it. It is the period of crying a baby goes though that can’t be soothed. Not all babies experience it, but some do more than others. It talks about real people and their experience with it and includes some unfortunate stories of babies being shaken and injured from the frustrated care giver. It goes on to talk about ways to cope with the crying and gaining control of your actions to prevent harm.

Clips for Discussion

We watched three other short video clips on Listening, Praise and Structure/Expectations and discussed what we saw.

Time – In 

We also discussed Time In vs Time Out. “Time In” is another term I hadn’t heard, but once explained realized I knew the concept, just didn’t realize it had a name. (I feel old – there are a lot of parenting terms that weren’t around when my children were born and they are only 7 and 9!)

Time In is basically a time out, but in the same proximity as you rather than being in a different room or separated from everything. We watched a video clip of a Time In and I honestly thought it was a Time Out until the trainers discussed it more. The mother had the child sit on a chair in the kitchen for 5 minutes while she did dishes. I didn’t realize a Time Out had to be in a different room, I thought the concept of sitting and not being involved in anything was a Time Out. I do not give Time Outs (or Time Ins) with my children in the way it was portrayed in this session, but understand everyone has different things that work for them. We have our own “calm down” routine that is used instead.

Discipline Considerations for Children and Youth Who Have Experienced Maltreatment, Adversity and/or Trauma

The last portion of our session was based on considerations and strategies for disciplining children that have come through CAS. There are different things to take into account due to their history. Some points I took down for this discussion:

  • Remember, children who have been abused or neglected will have different behaviours depending on their history
  • You can not expect them to attach or trust you right away
  • Have realistic expectations
  • It is not about you or your relationship with the child
  • Pay attention to communication
  • Listen and don’t minimalize
  • Be objective, warm, non-judgmental, concise and clear
  • Relieve the child’s anxiety
  • Be consistent.

Next week’s session is Session 6: Continuing Family Relationships (which, yes, is out of order, but on purpose).



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