Hey all! Would love some advice from working moms. After some turn of events, I now have temporary custody of two wonderful boys (7,9). They are incredibly easy to care for and relatively low maintenance. Truth is, I’m freaking out. I don’t have kids or expected this to be my life although I’m happy they are with me. It is summer now and probably will move from the city into a suburb for that grade A free public school and have family support. In the meantime, I need a crash course on parenting.

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Well….

A few things. If you have temporary custody because of some trauma they experienced, know that trauma adds a whole extra wrinkle to parenting. Check out Karen Purvis TBRI (trust based relational intervention) on the web. She has some fantastic resources for parenting kids who come from a hard place.

Regarding crash course in parenting: some of the best advice I got from a pediatrician when my eldest (now 20) was a baby was “there is very little you can do with good intentions to screw up your kid.” Meaning - if you want what is best for them, you’re probably going to get at least most of it right.

I’ve raised two boys to adulthood and at 7 and 9, they need a lot of exercise, balanced meals (it’s easy for them to overdose on sugar and carbs) and someone who finds them fascinating. Listen to what they have to say about whatever they are into, whether that is dinosaurs or superheroes or basketball or Legos or Harry Potter. Be engaged with them. Don’t worry about getting it all right.

Other piece of advice - remember that you are the parent (or parent figure) and the best thing for them to understand (especially if they come from an unstable background) is that you are in control so they don’t have to be. I don’t mean that you are an authoritarian or a crazy control freak - I mean it’s scary to be a kid and to worry that there aren’t any adults in charge because that means they have to assume that role and they know at some level they aren’t ready for it. Knowing that you’ve got the basics covered and they can count on you to do the adult things (like make they sure brush their teeth and hair, have the fridge stocked with good food, get them to school on time, etc) will make them feel safe.

Good luck! I’ve got 4 kids via adoption and work with a child welfare non-prof, so feel free to DM if you have questions.

likeupliftingsmarthelpful

Great point, MK1 about giving them agency. Providing age appropriate choices can be empowering and avoid many battles. When my kids were younger, I’d limit those choices (“do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt”) so they wouldn’t get totally overwhelmed with too many options. My youngest was 8 when I came into her life and those choices were really important. For example, brushing her teeth was not negotiable, but when she brushed them and what toothbrush and what toothpaste she used was up to her.

Also agree about the therapy piece - especially for you.

I’ll try to find some resources later, but Google “adopting school aged kids” or “fostering school aged kids” to get started.

How wonderful for these boys to have you!
There are many parenting books out there. I don't have one that I would necessarily recommend. Talk to your local librarian or reddit threads about adoption maybe?

What I can tell you, is that they need love. Whatever happened to bring them to you was surely traumatic in some way. Trust your gut, but also try to be aware of your own shit getting in the way. Be calm and consistent.

Help them fill their time productively with sports and clubs and adventures.

I would also start family therapy with them now so that it will be normal to them when you end up needing it during teen years.

Again, wonderful thing you are doing! Think through what your own self care looks like too so you can be strong for them.

helpful

If they have any devices make sure their parental controls are set and their usage is heavily monitored. That’s one of the biggest risks for kids these days. I have a 6 and 8 year old and we don’t allow them unsupervised internet access and have rules around the games they can play (like no games that allow chatting with strangers).

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Anyone has any advice or resources I can look into?

I guess there is a working moms/moms in consulting bowl. You could try posting there too. Good luck!

Check out Janet Lansbury books on respectful parenting. You’ve got this temp mama!

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