Are the other houseparents at your facility friendly with one another or not? Ours are not. We went on a women’s retreat and everyone just sticks to themselves. I tried to be friendly, but always felt like the conversation was not returned. Is it this way at most facilities, or just mine?
I’ve worked at three different campuses so far……have found friendships cordial, but not close.
We have been at our current facility for almost 8 years and although we are all pretty cordial, I am not sure how close our relationships are.
We definitely have clicks that are basically divided old houseparents – newer houseparents. I try to be friendly with all the houseparents, and try to help whoever or however I can, but I am not really close to anybody.
I am so busy with running my house, all my additional duties, plus my website – I don’t really have time for any type of a close friendship. I do good to have a few moments to spend with my wife.
Friendships require work and commitment, and I also don’t really have the spare emotions to put into it. I imagine there are other houseparents in the same boat.
On the other hand I am sure it would probably be nice to have a friend that can relate to the issues you face on a daily basis, because those friends that are not houseparents, if you have any, CAN’T.
I fear that there are so many answers to this issue that trying to speak to it is nearly impossible. At our last place of employment administration used staff against one another. It was sickening, but rather than supervise, they would listen to gossip and rumors. You almost had to tell on others to keep heat off of you.
Where I am not the administration is so, so much better and from what I can tell after a year and a half 99% of the staff are friendly and not out to stab one another in the back, mainly because they don’t have to.
There is an uneasiness amongst childcare staff. Because all of us have our own “style” we are uneasy around each other because we don’t want to be challenged, more importantly we don’t want rumors to start about how we are too mean to our kids or too easy going, etc.
That’s why at sites like this one and mine we need to take EVERY opportunity presented to us to speak to one another without getting defensive or offended. We need to learn from one another in the name of the children we serve.
Currently we are in a really good place. We all seem to just “click” at the moment. I think it has a lot to do with the dynamics of the people and a whole lot on the leadership of a facility. Employee moral (in my opinion) is the reason for turnover. Happy employees will go the extra mile. Just common sense. I do go out of my way to build a relationship professionally with the people I work with because I need them and the service they perform. It is a bit selfish, but in the process I end up with some good friends. We get together occasionally and BBQ, last night a couple of the houses just decided to have a bonfire. It was a good time with the house parents and kids. We didn’t need any specific reason or dictate from admin to get together. We just do it because we really enjoy each other’s company.
My last place the house parents were friendly, but there was always a little tension between someone. Always a soap opera going on. It was also a major reason I left. My wife and I set out to specifically find a place that was more family oriented and where the staff could at the very least, be friends. We turned down an offer from a great facility, paying higher wages than here, where we have friends at, entirely based on how well ALL the staff work together as a family. I’m glad we did. Life is way to short for us to waste it in a place where everything but the kids and ministry comes first. Especially when there are so many HP positions out there.
Something that might help; Find a morning when most HP’s can get together and have coffee, start a women’s or men’s prayer meeting once a week. Have a group BBQ for absolutely no good reason and bond over greasy food that is gonna send you to Jesus a little sooner than you expect. Go way out of your way to make friends with the one staff member that seems to the most un-pleasant. If you don’t make friends with them, at least you’ll annoy them a bit and give ’em something to gossip about.
This is an emotionally and physically draining job. I can’t imagine doing it without the fellowship of my sisters and brothers in Christ to help me stay on track.
Well I am back from the Fishing Trip and I am glad to report that the kids had a GREAT time!! I had a pretty good time with only a few issues, however the biggest thing I brought back from the weekend is an insight I discovered about houseparents, at least the houseparents that were there this weekend.
There were over 30 houseparents from all over the south at this event this weekend and it should have been a great opportunity to meet other houseparents and visit with other people you can relate too. However, it wasn’t. Most everybody stuck to themselves and didn’t seem real interested in meeting anyone one else. Many seemed very stand-offish.
I tried to visit with a few people, and did visit in length with one couple that knew of me through my website, but for the most part it seemed like people were not real interested in meeting other people. I understand that we had children that needed to be supervised and I had a couple boys that were a real challenge, but I guess I just had hoped that we would all want to network more than we did.
I think this is a real issue for houseparents and is something I have resolved to work on. I probably would have been much more forward, but my wife reminded me before I left that I was representing our facility not The Houseparent Network this weekend, so I needed to keep my promoting to a minimum and I did. I didn’t even mention the website unless they brought it up.
The couple I did visit with confirmed one thing I thought about participation on this and other websites. They said they had time to read stuff from time to time but didn’t really feel that they had time to post or interact in-depth – they were just too busy.
I see the whole issue as professional development. I can find more relaxing things to do rather than read, network or listen to podcasts about my profession.
I think it is the same in any job. In the Army, people get off work and have down time. The ones that did a little time management, studied a little and strived to be all they could be, progressed. The ones that didn’t? They just did the job.
I don’t see anything wrong with those that see this as just a “Job”. However, I do not identify with that crowd and they tend have the life span of a fruit fly in the HP world.
We can and will change how we network. My wife and I have no problem, and we are planning, with contacting and going to see other house parents at other facilities on our off time when finances will allow. The only purpose we have is to meet others in this field, learn and make some good friends. This is a culture unto itself. We do what no others want to. This is a very unique ministry and we are few. No one else, except other HP’s can even begin to know what this life, or the challenges it presents are like.
As a Christian community we should be open, especially with other HP’s. I don’t know what the deal is, but I plan on knocking on a few doors. (No I’m not looking for a Job, I love kicking it Southern style here)
Maybe I am a fanatic. In the long run it really doesn’t matter what the ones that “Just Do It” think. I’m more concerned with those of us that do care about this ministry and doing it well with the time the Lord has given us to run the race.
I know what you mean. I can honestly tell you that I have considered just bagging it all and doing something else. There is always HVAC or Mechanics I can fall back on as well as working with these computers full time, even though I hate them most of the time.
Other times I want to just take care of the kids I have, and not worry about anybody or anything else.