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The signs here are serious. Each one means the child needs professional help. As his foster parent, you will be asked to join him in his treatment. It is important for him for you to cooperate. Also, you will be given ideas about how to work with him at home. Be sure to follow the suggestions.
You will not find specific suggestions here about how to limit or control the child’s behavior. For children with serious problems, this takes careful thought and a plan. Also, the plan has to be tailored to the individual child. What works for one child can make another child worse. This needs discussed with the child’s caseworker to be sure you have the right plan for your foster child. There are no quick fixes.
Thinking about these signs will help you better understand the child and his problems. It also will help you see that, as his foster parent, your main job is to understand, be firm with him, and keep an open and gentle attitude toward him.
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Your foster child’s fit with you is not the only relationship she has that needs your help. She has relationships with other people in your family and with children and adults at school. She needs to get along with people in your neighborhood and in your community. Being able to get along with people may have more to do with her future success than anything else.
Here is the key. Because of abuse, neglect, or other bad life-experiences, foster children often have problems getting along with people. Maybe this comes up every day and maybe only once in a while. However often your foster child has problems, she needs your help.
Here are some signs of foster children having trouble getting along. Your concern and help with these problems are a start to a better life for them.
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Learning is not simple. There are three important areas you need to think about. First, your foster child’s abilities are where learning starts. Some children learn easier than others. However easily your foster child learns, he learns some things more easily than other things. Some assignments and subjects are easier and others are harder. Even if he is a very good learner, learning is hard work at times.
Next, his attitude is important. Does he want to learn? Is he willing to do what he needs to do to get the job done? It comes down to this. Does he think he is important enough to work at it? Is his future important enough to him to bother learning? Learning takes self-discipline and hard work. It also takes an attitude that says, “I am important enough to do what I have to do.”
Third, your foster child needs learning skills. Some of these skills help him pay attention and study. Some help him listen and try to understand. Others help him cooperate. Still others help him follow the rules. He also learns about what adults expect and about the rights of others. If your foster child has problems learning, look at his abilities, attitudes, and behavior.
How do you think foster children fare with school and learning? Some do better than others. Still, they have more than their share of learning problems. Understanding this will help you as you think about your foster child. Here are some signs of learning and school problems. They will help you develop a learning plan for your foster child.
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What is self-esteem? It is who children think they are. You can see it in how they treat themselves. It is there when they feel valued and important. It is missing when they feel unworthy or put themselves down.
Self-esteem can be high or low. When children think they are important and valued, their self-esteem is high. When they feel good about themselves, are comfortable with who they are, and like themselves, their self-esteem is high. When they treat themselves with respect and avoid doing things that are not good for them, their self-esteem is high.
What is low self-esteem? Children have bad thoughts about themselves. They do not think they are worthwhile people who will be successful. They do not feel good about who they are. This makes them sad and angry. They do not take care of themselves and they do things that are not good for them.
Here is the important part. Children have good days and bad days. Sometimes their self-esteem is higher and sometimes lower. It depends on how things are going for them at the time. Low self-esteem is only a serious problem if your foster child gets extremely down on himself. More so if he is down on himself most of the time.
Here is the main problem. Abuse and neglect are killers when it comes to self-esteem. Foster children have low self-esteem. It is as simple and as tragic as that. It may be harder to see in younger children but is hard to miss in older foster children. Keep this in mind as you think about these signs of low self-esteem.
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Stress is usually not much of a problem for children. At times, a little stress is good for them and keeps them sharp. Young people can normally think things through and figure them out for themselves. They can usually handle their feelings whether they are feeling good or not. They can do what they need to do. They have some stress but handle it fine.
Children can have more stress than they can handle. Foster children almost always have too much stress. When they do, you see signs their stress is getting to them. Here are some typical signs.
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Being a foster parent can be a delightful and satisfying adventure and will definitely be a difficult challenge that requires your full attention and patience. Even so and if your heart is truly into the adventure, it can be wonderful for both you and your foster child. There are many aspects to being a foster parent; but for now, let’s think a while together about a few of the behavior and adjustment concerns that may develop while the child is with you.
Your foster child comes to your home with her strong points and special problems. It is hard for any child to adjust to a new family; but for your foster child, it is extra tough. If her past family experiences had been positive and healthy, being her foster parent would be fairly easy. Loving her and giving her a chance to live in your home would be enough. It is sad but true that love and a good home are not enough for her.
Your foster child is with you because she (or he) could not stay where she was. Maybe she was abused. She may have been neglected. There might have been other problems that made it impossible for her to stay with her family. Whatever happened, she was not safe, happy, and getting her needs met. She now has more problems than most children.
Learning about her special problems is your first step. You will love her, care about her, and encourage her. That’s just the way you are. At your home, she also can count on help with her problems, whatever they are. She will get what she needs, whatever it takes.
Let’s think about children who are abused and neglected. Abuse and neglect cause lifelong problems. Being mistreated hurts children in ways you can see and in ways you cannot see. They suffer at the time and will have problems at later life-stages. Although the harm done may not be easy to see, it is there.