This was E-mail to me by a Houseparent needing encouragement. — My husband and I have been hp’s for 31/2 years and really enjoyed this site. We actually found it after returning from a vacation with two of our “boys” that didn’t get to go home on the family visit time for the facility. We were lucky that we were hired when it wasn’t a bad thing to have your own kids. We have two kids under the age of 6. We are staring to feel very isolated because all the other hp’s are our parents age. Are there any hp’s out there that do this unreal job and raise their own children? It’s not impossible to do this with young children but it does take sacrifice from the whole family. Sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. We don’t get the encouragement that is so vital to being even a borderline competent hp. We get the ” you’re not much older than the kids… ” or ” You haven’t even raised your own kids yet…”. As anyone that has been a hp for more than 6mths knows it doesn’t matter how many of your own kids you have raised it’s not like!
Raising a child in placement. We would like to hear from others in our situation and how they feel/cope with this job we call life.
The work we do as houseparents is hard. There is no doubt about that fact. Where we work there are lots of houseparents with small children. All of them have the challenges that you describe. Many feel extreme guilt thinking back on raising their children under such circumstances. When their own children have problems, they blame the job conditions, yet there is NO WAY to be sure that is why a child ran up aginst problems. Your own children will require lots of explanations over the years (“Why do we have to share our parents?”). Only you can decide if it is good for your family to be in this type of situation. It is especially hard if the organization you work with has no provisions for the types of sudden problems you described. Always remember that you can’t give up yourself in an effort to save someone else, especially when you have committed yourself to the lives of so many others (meaning lots of people NEED you, but you need you too).
Well…I am 31 and my wife and I started this work at 23! Thing is we have no kids of our own but I can relate to this issue in a way.
Older house parents can be a PAIN! I have learned my lesson from them! For years we were treated by many like we were their children and oh it was frustrating!
No, I do not believe raising placement children is much like raising your own! Mainly because I would be free to do so much more with my own if I ever have any!
To compare raising your own kids to kids in placement is not a good comparison!
We have 4 kids of our own and we have always had balance working as house parents we see the kids in placement as if they were our own they are as much of our family as our own kids we have treated them as well as ours as equal to one another.
It has been very rewarding for our kids. Our oldest Daughter has come to appreciate us as Her parents and to appreciate what She has and know how to be content.
This is the toughest job you will ever love, never a dull moment.
My wife and I are thinking about becoming house parents. Two homes have openings. One is a girls home, and the other is a boy’s home. Both have 5 children apiece aged 10 to 17. The children are in danger of going to reform school or a mental hospital.
My wife is 9 months pregnant with our first baby. We are considering the boy’s home, mainly because my wife is a non-native speaker, and with nursing the baby, it would make more sense for me to be the one interacting more with the kids, which may be the case with boys.
Does this sound like a suitable job for a family with a new baby? I know there are challenges to having a new baby, staying up at night, etc. But this kind of work will allow a lot more time with my family as well, which is a definite plus.
Have any of you had trouble protecting yoru kids in case a child in the home turned out to be a sexual deviant? What about kids coming in and going out of the home?
Another concern of mine is that we are Christians. This home is run by a private foundation. It is named ‘Agape.’ The university affiliated man who is finding applicants says it is not a religious home. We only want to do this work if we can share the Gospel with the kids. We will get training in a type of counseling, but only the Gospel can change the heart of these kids– not counseling. Do state-funded homes like this ever forbid you to share the Gospel with the kids and take them to night church meetings? Does anyone have any experiences they want to share?
I don’t think that having a new baby and an expectation that of one of you will be doing most of the houseparenting is realistic. There really is a need for TWO of you or the jobs would be filled by singles.
Yes, there are situations where houseparent’s own children are molested, beaten or mentally abused by the home’s children. The opposite is also true but less likely to be reported about. It also happens that consensual relationships develop between houseparent’s own kids & home kids. You have to be sturdy enough not to assume your child is always right and the home’s child is wrong.
Most non-religious homes have policies against the type of preaching you are planning. Being a needy child doesn’t mean that someone else’s religion is needed, unless by choice. Many kids will already have a religion and it isn’t an automatic right for a person to try to convert a child who is forced into care. The role of a houseparent is discipline, support & love, not conversion.
If you died would you want someone trying to change the religion of your child?
Just my opinions, but I really don’t think this is the type of position for you, your wife and new child.
As a woman and a houseparent there is no way that i would want to start my family in these circumstances. This is a job that requires long hard hours and little time for yourself. A new baby requires alot of attention and time. Think carefully about this before you decide.
I don’t agree with everyone completely. Yes, taking care of someone else’s kids is a hard job, but my husband and I had 2 little boys when we first started as houseparents, and although they didn’t always understand, we tried to spend as much time with them as we could, and this job allows a lot of time off.
Not only that, but we gave birth to two little girls (1yr. apart) while we were working here. So now we have 4 kids of our own, and we are a little crowded, time wise as well as space wise, but it really makes it easier in some ways, as long as you treat the other kids in basically the same way that you treat your own. They know that you are not treating them the same way, but if you try to treat them the same, it shows.
Prayer changes things. Use it often.
Well, I have two little ones, 5 and 8, and it is difficult raising them and being a houseparent.
We have 9th – 12th grade girls (12 total)
while it takes great organizational skills to juggle houseparenting and raising a family, we are finding it to be quite enjoyable.
I do not know what it would be like if we started before we had children, personally, I do not think houseparents that start when they have no children have as much experience to fall back on when they first begin. But, their children will also grow up not knowing any different.
There was a time last year when we were having a lot of problems with the girls in the house. One night at dinner my eldest daughter told me how after finishing eating she was going back to our apartment with her sister. She would turn x-box on for her sister to play while she did her homework. She would then put in a 2 player game when she finished her homework. She would even run a tub for them, cause she knows how to do that now…and make sure they got to bed on time (she was in 2nd grade, her sister was 4) That way both mommy and daddy could stay out in the student home to work with the bad girls.
granted, there are rough times, and there are great times. We love our job, and I would not turn anyone away from it because they have children, or are thinking about having children. Just be realistic as to what the job entails with both your time…and your physical and emotional being.
We raised 3 daughters and have worked in group homes populated by both boys and girls and can state without a doubt that it did little to prepare us for caring for children in placement.
The problems they come to us with do not mirror any problems we ever dealt with as parents. Training and support are helping but it does take a lot of our time. There are days my wife and I do not interact with each other until the end of the night with everyone in bed. I can’t imagine anyone with children dealing with the boys we have.
It probably depends on the type of kids placed. IF you’re dealing with kids that are coming to you simply abandoned or neglected then perhaps you can deal with your own and still have enough love and time for the others.
IF you’re dealing with children diagnosed with 2-3 different ailments and on meds, probation etc…. then you’re going to have your hands full.