I decided to write about this after reading a really cool blog by a former foster child.

You can check her blog out here.

Fair warning, there is some pretty “colorful” language on the site.


She talks about all of the things that nobody taught her.

So I thought I would give some ideas about things we shouldn’t just assume our children were taught. Foster care is something that causes life to be very unstable and unpredictable for foster children. There a lot of problems that this causes but I am going to just focus on one.

They don’t get taught all of the things they should.

The big lesson from knowing that is you can’t assume children already know things that they should. Our foster son has had some difficulties around using the bathroom. We have tried all kinds of things to help him and have been largely unsuccessful until it dawned on me that he was never properly taught the basics of using the bathroom on his own! We were just assuming that he should know, after all he is _____old, right.

I heard a great lady, Brenda, talking about dealing with difficult behaviors in foster and adopted children. One of the things she said is this:

You can only hold a child responsible for something YOU have taught them!

This is difficult to do, for me. Especially in the heat of the moment. I recommend sitting down with your spouse before dealing with behaviors and come up with a strategy for dealing with them.

Some things that we might assume children already know, but may not.

1. Table Manners

2. Bathroom Stuff. (I’m trying to keep this polite)

3. Language/ How to communicate

4. Boundaries.

This is just a short list. There is an infinite number of things that might come up. Every child is different and their situations are different.

We need to be very careful especially when it comes to discipline. It can be very harmful to punish a child for something they don’t  know.

The big trend in horsemanship these days is Natural Horsemanship. It basically teaches that you have to teach or show a horse what you expect and then encourage the behavior you want. They are clear about the idea that punishing a horse for wrong behavior is ineffective because they don’t know what you want.

Those same principles apply even more to children. You Can’t Punish a child for something YOU didn’t teach them.

Don’t Assume they already know just because they should. It’s not their fault if their parents didn’t teach them!

Tell us about your experience!

Please leave a comment with one thing you found out your foster or adoptive child didn’t know.