We have used alarms with our foster children to ensure the safety of others and to be able to sleep at night. I have been known to use a handful in one room for one child. Some can and will try to find a way around them, so if you have more than a couple one will sound. You cannot be too careful with your own children in possible harm’s way. I also place two alarms on my own children’s bedroom door to ensure that at night no one could harm them.
I woke up one night (because I felt someone in our bedroom) low and behold there was our son (That we later learned was schizophrenic and homicidal) standing at the end of my side of the bed. As you can imagine, I was a little freaked out (okay, I was a lot) and screamed. The truly crazy thing was that he just stood there with no reaction. I asked him, “What are you doing?” He responded, “I wanted to see what you were doing.” I was thinking, “Sleeping lightly because of your strange behaviors, thank God.”
There was no more sleep that Saturday night. The first thing Sunday morning I was calling Radio Shacks finding enough alarms to feel safe.
When an alarm sounds during the night, you wake up running. In our home when the alarm sounded, I went for my children to protect them and my husband went for the foster child. My children learned that going to the bathroom during the night would bring out the cavalry.
This can concern people that come into your home. I had friends and therapists ask me if we were ever scared of any children that we fostered. Most of the time I would respond, “Not really.” The truth is that I would have been crazy if I was not fearful of some children that I have fostered. Fear can also be a good thing; it keeps you aware of more things and ready to handle a crisis at a moment’s notice. You have to remember that a few of these children would not have a second thought about hurting you or others.
Related articles at adoption.com: