In a private group I belong to, this story was shared –
“I’m at a loss. We have a Foster Son age 2 and a Foster Son age 5. The 5 year old will not listen at all. We ask him to do something and he acts out or does the opposite. We have had them for a week and I have cried every night I am so stressed. I have thought of everything. I reward him for being good and it doesn’t help. I need help please.”
~ desperate Foster Parent
One of the responses was this – Seriously? You’ve had them a week and you’re upset that they are having a hard time adjusting? If you don’t have the decency to understand that these kids go through absolute hell when they are removed and placed into your home you shouldn’t be allowed to foster. Who certifies these people/trains them? Who ever it is needs to be fired.
Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of children in the US foster care system? Some recent data indicates that 690,548 children spent time in the foster care system during 2017. Many children in the foster system demonstrate post-traumatic stress like symptoms. This affects their development, coping skills, emotional regulation, relationships and attachments.
When the child has had some time to process the situation, learning meditation, relaxation and breathing techniques may be a method of learning to calm their own self, under their own control. A lack of control over their circumstances is one aspect of their acting out behavior.
Learning to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones can help the child develop a more healthy sense of self. These children need a safe play area and a nurturing environment. Over time, the children will need to learn to recognize triggers in order to gain control over their emotional states. Foster parents need discernment to ignore minor behaviors. By improving this parent-child relationship, the child may feel more supported in their everyday life.
Nothing a foster parent can do beyond patience, love, acceptance and an attempt to understand from the child’s perspective will work miracles overnight. The trauma suffered will be deep and unfortunately, to some degree, last a lifetime.