Don’t Count on Technology!!!!

If you are concerned about the things your children see on the Internet and want to try and protect them from it, don’t count on technology to do it for you. I work at a children’s home that uses the most current filtering software to try and protect our children from the bad influences of the Internet. I found out today how easy it is to defeat.

You would think that since I work with the Internet everyday that I would know about these things, but I had never heard of tunnel proxies until today. Tunnel proxies are what our children use to access blocked sites such,, and all the other sites that our filtering software is supposed to block. Type in “unblock myspace” or “tunnel proxy” in a search engine and you will get listing after listing of different sites that offer a free tunnel proxy to allow your children to access material you thought was being blocked by your filtering software.

Using several of these proxies I was able to view several of the sites that our filtering software was supposed to be blocking. Just so you know, we use top of the line filtering software installed on our server and updated daily. I am sure there are other programs that can be used to stop these proxies but I am also sure it will just continue to be a tit for tat game of cat and mouse that will continued to played with us putting up blocks and somebody else writing software to defeat it.

So the realization that I came to today as did our administrators is that protecting our children from the Internet comes down to good parenting skills; you can’t rely on technology to do it for you.

So what can you do?

  1. Be clear with your children and explain to them your expectations and under what conditions they will be allowed to continue to use the computer.
  2. Keep the computers in the public parts of the house. Children are less likely to view offensive material if they have to do it in a public place.
  3. Do not be a afraid to look over their shoulder when they are viewing the internet. Accountability goes a long ways in helping somebody make good choices. If they suddenly close the browser as you approach, don’t be afraid to look at the history and see what they were viewing. There are also programs that run in the background that can record sites viewed and everything typed by the user.
  4. If your child continues to view inappropriate material don’t be afraid to block them from the computer. There are several good programs that can be used to limit access to the computer and internet. At the facility I work at we use “Computer Time” and I highly recommend it.
  5. Don’t bury your head in the sand and think your children are immune from the garbage on the internet, turns out every kid on campus over the age for 13 knew how to do this. Be proactive, and most of all spend time with them, get to know them, and know what they are doing (have a relationship with them).
  6. Continue to use filtering software; it still works great for protecting younger children from the perils of the internet.

I believe these measures can be effective whether you are a birth parent trying to limit the offensive material your children have access to or a houseparent trying to do the same for the children in your care.

A Valuable Lesson!!!

Most everyone knows that we have birth children to go with all our home children. Our son is about to turn 17 and this last year has been a trying experience. It is one thing when you have to deal with difficult behavior when you are caring for other people’s children, but it adds a whole new dimension when it is your own birth child. (Don’t misunderstand, it’s not get you placed in a group home bad behavior, but it is definitely stuff we hoped we wouldn’t have to deal with)

Anyway my wife takes things very personal sometimes and the other day she was asking me, why I thought he hated us and wanted to make things so difficult on us. I wasn’t sure how to answer it, and really didn’t think there was a good answer for her, but I started thinking about the many conversations we have had with him recently and remembered something he said. He told us something like, ” I know you think I don’t want to be around you at all, but I really just want to hang out with my friends.”

That got me to thinking about his overall behavior in general, and I think that statement can be applied to his entire life at the moment. It’s not that he don’t like us and wants to defy everything we say, it is that THE ONLY THING HE CARES ABOUT IS WHAT HE WANTS!

He doesn’t want to hurt us by hanging out with people we don’t approve of, our feelings are not even a consideration, because it is about what he wants. He doesn’t care that we think he should save some of his paycheck for the future, he only cares about what he can spend it on now. He doesn’t care that we think education is important and that you should put as much effort as you can into, he only cares about the work he doesn’t want to do.

The realization of this is very empowering. It allows you to recognize and deal with bad behavior without taking it personal, because it’s not about you. It’s totally about them; what they want and think is important. This same realization can apply to the work we do as houseparents. There always seems to be this one (or possibly two) kid(s) that seems to be out to get you or drive you nuts with their behavior. But if you realize it’s not about you, it should make it easier to deal with their behavior and to come up with reasonable expectations and consequences.

If only I can remember that the next time I’m dealing with my son, after he’s done something I am not real pleased with.

Dating in your home 

Do you allow your kids to bring their boyfriends or girlfriends into your home? I’ve met many house parents who are proud that a member of the opposite sex has NEVER entered their home.

This puzzles me. Have we never been teenagers before? Have we forgotten what dating was like? The house parents who don’t allow bf/gf to visit in their home always talk about raging hormones and such, but that’s exactly why I do allow my girls boyfriends to visit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I make them stay in a public place. I check on them frequently, and I always get to know the boy, telling them my expectations. I get involved with my girls relationships offering advice and opinion as much as possible.

Look, if you never allow your kids to date, if they can’t bring home this person they THINK they love, what do you think they will do? So often they will end up in the bushes somewhere. What’s more scary still is that you can set up a “Romeo and Juliet” relationship where the kids think “it’s us against the world” and then you’re asking for even bigger trouble.

I suggest the following.

1) Get to know the person your child likes.

2) Invite them over, talk to them, lay down ground rules.

3) Let the bf/gf know that you are involved in your kids lives and that can be good or bad for them, it’s up to them.

4) Talk frequently to your kids about why you do what you do and what you expect from them in return.

5) Supervise, interact, and walk around like a warden when the visits happen. I am very relational with my kids, but when their boyfriends visit I don’t care if I act like a prison guard (lol). I care about my kids too much to allow anything to happen, but I also care to much to ban bf’s from my house because I KNOW the result of that approach.

At least think about it..


This may surprise some people considering the history I have with Adam but I 100% agree with him on this one.

In addition I would like to add that I feel much better when my son’s girlfriend is here than when he is out with her, because when they are here I know nothing inappropriate is happening. Same goes for kids I’ve had in the past and also in the future when our daughter and other children become old enough to be immune to cooties.


I know sooner or later I will be dealing with this issue. At present I have no kids that are at the dating stage, but we are getting close. It’s kinda one of those things Iv’e taken for granted. I really don’t even know our policy on it- but will be finding out shortly after seeing this post.

What are the guidelines set in the house? Sitting on the couch together or different seats?

What are the limits of personal display of affection?

How do you handle (or do you) off campus dates, for example movies?

Just the nature of what we do, supervision has to be a constant. I am very curious as to how to effectively balance the supervision and personal space with teens that are at the next level of developing a healthy relationship with the opposite gender. I believe a lot of facilities choose to not even allow a dating relationship to happen because of the above mentioned concerns and the unmentioned but obvious sexual concerns. 

I let our girls sit with their boyfriends. I must be able to see their head and hands at all times.

I try and make other kids sit in the same room with them when at all possible. I often try and have double dates in the home, not just ONE couple in a room by themselves.

PDA can be no more than one arm around a shoulder or a head (high) on a shoulder. That’s it.

Off campus dates are granted based on trust, level of student (we have levels where I work that kids earn by behavior and attitude), and their willingness to allow me to know about their relationship and talk to me and or my wife about it.



I do like the level achievement systems. It really gives kids something to work towards and a little easier on staff discussions as to which kids qualify to do what without all the drama a treatment team can muster. Kind of makes me long for the ole’ Boys Town Achievement levels.

Cool topic- Looking forward to going back on shift and finding out where we stand on the dating issue.

Called2workwith youth
Have any of you had to deal with the kids that put on a real good facade of being good and trustworthy and all that, just to get on the highest level. Then once they do and get the privilege of going in town on a date, they get caught having sex and get dropped. That seemed to happen a lot at the place we worked at.

I agree teens should be allowed to date, but there should definitely be supervision.

Finally starting a home-questions on younger kids

Well, the day has finally come. We are beginning visits with a boy that may become our first kid. We’ve been doing relief while waiting for our house to be finished and now its finally done. We were trained for teenagers and cut our teeth on them too. Now it looks like we will be starting our home with a 5 year old. Although I’m used to little kids, its different when you are hping them. Any advice?

What do you do when a 5 year old tantrums in the store? I assume you take them to the car until they either calm down or you have to leave but what if they are flailing uncontrollably? Its just so different with teens. The worst thing our girls ever did was beg for favorite food! I know I got spoiled doing relief for our relatively stable girls (although it didn’t feel like I was being spoiled at the time) 

What about attachment issues? My little goddaughter started calling me mommy when I kept her for very long so this worries me a little.

Does your facility run TCI, CPI, TFM or another program?

Are there any written guidelines in regard the children’s consequences/ behaviors?

I know a lot of others here will disagree with me, but as far as attachment goes- It’s a good thing. If they want to call you mom and the facility does not mind- I say go for it. Sometimes they need that. The attachment is what makes them feel like there is someone that loves them.

As for tantrums in public places? Get ready for it. I’ve had more dirty looks at the mall from people who thought I should be spanking my six year old who is cursing while I’m leading him out to the van for a time out than I care to think about.

A good program, clear and well established boundaries and lots of patience will help when dealing with the younger kids. Actually I’ve worked mostly with teens, but now that I’m in a elementary cottage I enjoy them more. It’s more work, but it seems like we have more genuine moments with them. I also don’t have to worry about them running an underground tobacco smuggling operation. 

What do you do when a 5 year old tantrums in the store? I assume you take them to the car until they either calm down or you have to leave but what if they are flailing uncontrollably? Its just so different with teens. The worst thing our girls ever did was beg for favorite food! I know I got spoiled doing relief for our relatively stable girls (although it didn’t feel like I was being spoiled at the time)

You are correct about going to the car. Lead them out by the hand if they will let you or pick them up and carry them out. If they are too big to carry and have tantrum issues you don’t take them to the store until you have had sufficient time to work with them in other situations to reduce or hopefully alleviate their tantrums. Make sure that as you lead them or carry them from the store that you don’t strike them, shake them or grab them in a way that can appear abusive (hair, ears, collars, etc.) and remain calm.

What about attachment issues? My little goddaughter started calling me mommy when I kept her for very long so this worries me a little.

The children I work with are very long term kids that could spend their entire childhood with us. Some of them call us mom and dad and we may be the only mom or dad they ever know. We do however have many discussions with them about birth mom & dad and foster mom & dad; that we are here to care for them and love them because their birth parents are not able to.

Our facility allows us and the children to do this, but I know of several facilities that don’t allow the children to call you mom and dad. When we were foster parents, our state regulations prohibited the children calling us mom and dad. You need to find out what your facility’s policy is and follow it. There are some ways to avoid the mom and dad name issue and still be personal. We have had older couples that had the children call them mamaw and papaw. We have a housemom that goes by Aunt Becky. I have known several housedads that go by pop or pops.

wow, ok. Thanks for the replies, that helps a lot. I was worried about picking them up but that makes the most sense. My director even said to let them tantrum on the floor but I was worried about them destroying things. I think I like the idea of waiting to take them to the store until we’ve spent time together and tested out other outings. We were going to start with an open area such as a park, then work slowly up to grocery stores and restaurants. You know, McDonalds before Lubys kind of a deal.

The first pre-placement visit went well. I’m really confused about the family situation. I can’t tell what is “wrong” with this kid. I’m sure there will be a brief honeymoon period but that doesn’t last as long with little kids as with teens right?

Launchpad, I think I really enjoy working with the little ones too. They are so honest. They just talk to you. Its very obvious what the sensitive issues are…they aren’t afraid to talk (if they are comfortable with you). This kid adored my husband. It was so funny because he wanted to be with both of us at the same time. If dh wandered off to do something, it only took a few minutes before he asked where dh was. I can tell that if we take him, he is going to break my heart. Since we have been doing relief, I’ve been able to keep the relationship on a relational but definitely more of an aunt and uncle level. A little one living with us all the time will definitely change that.

Change of topic- what do y’all think about taking elementary age kids off of meds for add/adhd for the summer? I’ve heard theories that since they don’t have to do schoolwork in summer, they should be off of them.

We almost always take our kids off of ADD medications during the summer, with Doctor’s permission of course. They don’t need to concentrate as much, and hyperness doesn’t bother us that much. School starts in 4 weeks and we have a child that is trying meds for the first time. He is the most hyper child I have ever met, it will interesting to see how they work. We got the Rx today and will start him right away to see how the meds affect him. The first day of school is not the time to try new meds if you don’t have to; there are too many things that can go wrong. 

The first pre-placement visit went well. I’m really confused about the family situation. I can’t tell what is “wrong” with this kid…….. I can tell that if we take him, he is going to break my heart. Since we have been doing relief, I’ve been able to keep the relationship on a relational but definitely more of an aunt and uncle level. A little one living with us all the time will definitely change that.

My wife and I have a house of little boys, now 6yrs – 12yrs old. Prior to taking this cottage, we relieved in teen boy and girls cottages. We’ve found that most of the time what’s “wrong” with the little kids are that those caring for him are totally incapable of doing it (i.e. jail, drugs, health, etc.) These little guys just need love and structure. We’ve traded the self-sufficiency and “attitudes” of teenagers for the hugs and tears of little ones. Yes, it is more physical work – laundry, dressing, baths, cleaning – but they’ve got our hearts and it’s a pleasure and honor to be the ones who get to teach them all the basics of life.

The heartbreaks are different too. Like when they go on “Home visit” and come back to the cottage not understanding why they can’t be with their family and then cry themselves to sleep because they miss their mom. But, I’ve gotten to teach them how to ride bikes, tie their shoes, make their beds, catch a ball, and pray to God. HOW COOL IS THAT?!!

We wouldn’t have it any other way!


My wife and I are trying to get a better control on the kids borrowing stuff from each other. We’re talking toys and electronics mostly as we have young boys in the cottage. We generally don’t have a problem with borrowing if they’ve received permission from the owner – we have been also been requiring that they get our permission. The problem is that we don’t want to have to give our permission for every little matchbox car they happen to swap for an hour – they’re not going to remember to do it anyway.

Any ideas?

We have had the boys do contracts in the past. Lately we have had a no trading, borrowing, lending policy in place. Mainly because we were being overwhelmed with all the contracts and back room deals the kids were making. It was like watching stockbrokers work the boards on Wall Street. 

We also have young children (ages 4-11), our policy is that borrowing is not allowed period!!! If they are playing together they can share toys and stuff, but the child that owns the toys must be present when they (the toys) are being played with. And because all our children know that borrowing is not allowed, the child playing with the other persons toys will receive the consequences, and if we know that the other child loaned it willingly we will take it up for a period of time.

We have never allowed sharing clothes regardless of the age; it just caused too many hassles.

We have found that loaning and borrowing is just too hard to police. If a child has something that belongs to somebody else it is impossible to tell who is telling the truth when one says, “he loaned it to me” and the other say, “I did not, he took it” 

Thanks WM, I think we’ll be trying your method. -TexPop

Boundaries for todays child in care

Today’s child care is very different from years past. Some things set by state standards today though are just not right at all.

Here in Texas as the new standards have come into play there is really nothing that can be done to a child to stop his behavior unless he/she becomes violent or destroys too much property. As it stands currently if you have a child who decides one day I’m not doing anything I am suppose to do, even if they carry this out more than one day. You cannot do anything to change this behavior. If the child will not follow directions verbally your simply out of luck unless they actually become a danger to themselves or others.

Example: “I’m not going to school today” if they mean it well you are out of luck there is no danger involved and nothing can be done about it so the child gets a free day off, now while this child decides to stay home he may want to roam the campus, as long as he/she does not become a danger you can do nothing but keep an eye on them.
Yes this is really happening. As long as the child is no danger to themselves or others and is not damaging too much property, Houseparents you are out of luck especially if the child decides I don’t want to talk or listen.
This may sound ridiculous but it is true. Standards will not even allow you to escort a child with this behavior to another location.

Yes there is a major flaw in the system and yes there is potential for total chaos.
This part of today’s system needs to be addressed and a change needs to be made.

Administrators say we are now working better with children getting into their head and this will make the child better.
The system justifies it by saying we are empowering the children to make their own decisions, this is bologna, the system is overpowering the children, it allows them to do what they want, and does not make them responsible for their actions. We are not doing these children a true service to make them better citizens.

I am not at all saying we need to start spanking or restraining but I am saying something needs to change.

An early prediction: If things don’t change we better start paying more taxes for jails because these children will only find boundaries once the cuffs are placed on their wrists.

Whose children do you really think are in childcare? A majority of the children are in care because their parents didn’t have boundaries and still don’t. They either don’t want or cannot handle their children. The majority don’t try to better themselves, some continue to do jail time, or drugs, or other various illegal or immoral things. Rather than work towards making a home for their children.

It’s really sad that in houseparenting you can say there is job security, because that also means their will always be kids in care.

The bounds need to be set better for the children of today and the state needs to take notice of this if they truly care about the future of the kids of today.


I also live in Texas, we have a young man now 16 who will not go to class during lunch. He takes all three lunches. The school however, is escorting him to all his classes, we now have the option to put him in a contained classroom for lunch. He is very easy going, does not disobey at home, always does as he is told and obeys rules, except school. We do have support however from the school.

I find far more methods available to Teachers and Staff in the School System than those available to us in Childcare.

We work in a total “Hands Off” facility for example and cannot touch a child for any reason. But in the schools kids are regular “escorted” from place to place and restrained when necessary.

Coming to a “Hands Off” facility was at first something of concern especially since many of the kids that come into our care are from the streets and gangs of Los Angeles.

But for 8 months now there has not been a single incident where putting hands on one of these kids was necessary.

We also empower our kids in this program to make choices. However we also readily explain the reality of those choices and provide consequences to them when they make improper choices.

The behavior modification system we utilize in our Group Homes is Life Space Crisis Intervention.…e/april98/1.htm

Even if you use other systems it never hurts to have additional tools at your disposal.

Generation Y or The Entitlement Generation, Current youth labeled Entitlement Generation


I read an article that really interested me it was on yahoo titled “The Young Labeled ‘Entitlement Generation’ ” I thought it was a very good article that explains a lot about the teens and youth today.

It also has some links to some very good resources about “Generation Why” that you should check out. I will be adding those links to my resources page soon.

Do you think this describes kids today and if so what can we do to help them be more humble and motivated.

Lady Incredible

I think today’s kids are spoiled somewhat and aren’t held accountable for their actions, why else is the juvenile system so full. The kids in my state actually laugh if you tell them they are going to court and threaten to put them in custody.
Now don’t get me wrong, not all kids are bad and I believe that even the best parents have bad kids. I’m talking mostly about the juvenile system. If we don’t hold these kids accountable for their actions then what are they learning?
Okay, I could ramble but I’ll get off my soapbox now

You are right lady incredible. Anyway these kids aren’t afraid of court or juvenile to them juvenile hall is just another foster care home. Besides these kids are smart they know most of the time they are going to get an easy rap because of their backgrounds and most of them aren’t too worried about what laws they break until they turn 18 they know whatever they do before they turn 18 isn’t going to count against them later. They might be scared of prison but juvenile is a joke. they can do whatever until they are 18 and someone still has to take of them and they know it or they can always say they are seeing things and go to the mental hospital instead. I have actually had a seven yr old tell me” miss I’m just going to keep telling the doctor I see stuff so that when I grow up I can get a crazy check from the state and keep my checks going. And miss if you tell my therapist I said that she’ll just tell you I’m only saying that because of my emotional problems, besides the more messed up I am the more money they get. Believe me I know what’s up. ”

As for being spoiled these kids get their college paid for, for all five years and financial help once they age out of care to help them get started. I know most of you don’t like to look at it this way but at 12 there are kids that kill, rape, have babies steal cars. If your old enough to do the crime your old enough to do the time. and to let them get off easier because of their backgrounds is only handicapping them for the future cause yeah everyone feels bad for that cute 13 yr old who been beat and molested but what about when he’s 18 and then 20, then 30 He can’t keep being a cute little kid forever he has to learn at 10, 12 or 13 otherwise he’s going to go into his adult life thinking the world owes him a living.


I agree but there is a degree of children just doing what they are taught to do. We have to find a way to reteach them instead of always condemning them. I know there is a fine line there and figuring out who is really willing and wants to change. But you can’t throw the whole bunch away just because we don’t like the choices they make.