Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Imagine you have just had a 6 year old boy that you never met dropped off at your house.

Now it is YOUR job to make sure his medical needs are met. His emotional needs are met. His physical needs are met. And everything in between.

So, lets say he gets to your home in the evening, right before bedtime. You put him to bed and then the next day he is still there. You know you have to meet all of these needs so you spend the next day trying to make him feel comfortable and making phone calls.

Because that is what we do.

Then, after dinner, it's bath time. But he's six.

Does he know how to clean himself?
Does he clean himself properly?
Does he have anything going on "down there" that needs to be taken care of, but you don't know about it?

Yeah. It's about to get uncomfortable.

So...what do you do?

For the first night I probably would just ask if he needs help after turning on the shower for him. But, this kid is going to be in your home for at least weeks...probably months...maybe even years.

So, do you ever find out if he is cleaning himself correctly?

How do you handle this once he has been in your home for a few weeks?


Cherub Mamma said...

I'd probably have the dad ask the questions before bath time some night.

I'd probably instruct my husband to be incredibly blunt and simply say exactly what he was trying to find out.

"It's my job to keep you safe. Part of that means I need to help YOU keep your body health (safe). Do you know how to wash every part of your body the right way?"

I'd probably try to talk my husband into doing this outside the bathroom with clothes on. Just have the kid mime out cleaning himself if you will. (My husband would do this but it'd probably make him really, really uncomfortable.)

As far as anything going on "down there", I'd get the kid to the doctor for a physical so everything can be checked out officially right away.

Shoot - you could even have the doctor go over this stuff if you wanted to.

Or...you could simply watch the underwear for stains and go from there. :)

Vertical Mom said...

A friend of mine took a 15 yo girl as a pre-adoptive placement and made no assumptions. She gave her explicit (but fully clothed) instructions on how to bathe, shave, brush her teeth, etc. etc. etc. She made it like it was how she would treat any new kid in her home. That's the approach I'd probably take.

Vertical Mom said...

I should probably add that the 15 yo is emotionally about 8 years old.

StarfishMom said...

I would MOST DEFINITELY take him to the Dr FIRST! Then I would go into the bathroom with him and make sure he knows what he's doing. I would want to be the one to teach him the right way to clean himself (or if hubby is comfortable...ask him). If he is coming from home you can never be sure what he has been taught and if he is coming from another foster home you never know what he's been taught. Hope that helps!

MamaFoster said...

doctor....good idea. obviously I would take them to get the physical we always have to, but my Dr. doesn't really check anything out besides height, weight and immunizations...I would have to ask them to specifically check different things.

Mandy said...

I used to be a Nursing Assistant and we were trained. Tell them what you are going to do before you do every step in regards to bathtime, but then go ahead and clean them. A child is no big deal after cleaning a full grown man. I am very matter-of-fact about the whole bathtime thing. At first I show, next bath I tell, and then when cleaning is going well, I step away and let them handle things themselves.

Cindy said...

It does get uncomfortable for sure. We just had a 5-year-old leave us. When he first came he was VERY uncomfortable being touched at all, he would flinch and guard himself. We were worried about abuse that may have happened to him and so I tried to keep my distance because it obviously made him uncomfortable. For the first few weeks I just pretty much let him do everything on his own. And then I discovered that he had been washing his hair with the bar soap instead of shampoo and not washing his body with soap at all (other than what was in the water from the hair). At that point I stepped in and helped him for a bit so he could learn what to do. It was still somewhat uncomfortable for both of us at first but it had to be done. I just very matter of factly told him what I was going to do and then did it. It didn't take too long before I was confident that he was going to do a good enough job on his own.

G said...

We had a 7 year old girl here for over a year. She wanted to do everything herself, with the door closed, and I wasn't sure what to do. Her 3 year old brother was easier, because he expected me to help him bathe himself.

After a few nights of noticing bubbles still in her hair and suspecting the body wasn't getting washed, I told her I wanted to be sure she was washing everything well so she wouldn't get sick. I had her take a bath in her swimsuit and talked her through all the steps--she still did it herself, and she still got the body privacy of her swimsuit on.

I also talked REALLY LOUDLY about what I was doing for/with her brother while she was in the next part of the bathroom, so she could hear me.

MamaFoster said...

bathing suit...GREAT idea!!!!!!!!!!!