[P]reviously, I gave you ten recommendations to Be Prepared for Your Child Custody Evaluation, or social study as they are called in Texas. I also gave you How to Prepare for a Court Appointed Social Study. Today, I want to go deeper and zero in on the proper way to practice to win your child social study evaluation.
We Dress Up for Dates, Stage Our Homes, Let’s Plan an Evaluation
What I am about to recommendation may upset some of my readers, so I want us to examine the practice in two other areas of our lives. When you first go out on a date, do you dress like you do every other day of your life? Odds are you probably wore a little nicer clothes, dressed like you were going to church, and not your typical shorts and t-shirt with your favorite green crocs. (Note: That’s how I dress today, God help SuperParentMom.)
Do you remember walking through your house before you bought it? If pre-owned, it was in pristine condition. The floors sparkled, all the kids toys were alphabetized and in perfect order, the kitchen looked and smelled like a scene from the television show Master Chef. The reality is YOU know people don’t actually live that way, but you understand and appreciate the seller’s time and effort to put their best foot forward.
I share these stories to explain, social workers understand that you are going to do this. You will not score well if you don’t take this addition effort to have everything in order, clean, and ready for kids. NOTE: This is also the same evaluation foster and adoptive parents go through.
[tweet “2 win your child social study, your kids need 2 feel comfortable talking w/caseworkers.”]
Yes, they are going to have to talk and answer questions with strangers.
Caitlyn was four years old when a caseworker arrived at my house to conduct the court appointed social study. After checking out the areas of my house, he asked to speak to my daughter privately. We were in the middle of playing Candyland and she gave him a tour of the house and they talked with him in her bedroom.
Practice Having Your Kids Talk to Strangers
That’s a lot to ask of a young child, so I didn’t leave it to chance. For several months, I had my daughter open our front door and greet unknown friends appropriately. I had her for several months, give them tours of our home, and they asked her questions about her bedroom, pictures, games, and her bathroom. NOTE: I DID NOT tell her what to say or give her any lines, that approach will backfire. HOWEVER, we did practice politeness and becoming familiar with talking to guest.
Your children need to practice this route in your home. Over time it will become natural, and not something done last minute. My daughter did great in my home and bombed with the same social worker in the home of my Ex not once, but twice. In fact, my daughter went on to say comments like, “Well the bad movies are in a suitcase under the bed and my Mom told me not to tell you about that.” DON’T TELL YOUR KIDS WHAT TO SAY OR NOT SAY.
What advise do you have from your social study?
Featured image from Dollar Photo Club.