For children in a foster care situation, it can be hard to easily adapt to new care situations. Fostered children have often witnessed or experienced traumatic situations or chronic neglect and often show severe anxiety in their new circumstances. Here are some of the signs to look for, as well as some of the ways you can look to address this anxiety.
Severe seperation anxiety
Some children who fear being abandoned again will show a strong attachment to their new caregivers to the point where it can be hard on other relationships in the family unit. Plan with the foster child for a gradual and stepped down response, where they might spend the first week sharing a bed with their primary care givers, the next few weeks in a mattress in the room and slowly move to another room for sleep. Allow the child to keep some comfort items to remind them of your love and attention continuing even when you are not physically present.
If your child is used to only getting attention for negative behaviour, they may act out through violence and aggression to get attention. Underlying this action is often concern that you won't notice or care about them without these actions. It's important not to overreact to these incidents in the first instance, but use a calm and consistent response to discipline without resorting to physical punishment or withdrawing affection. Instead, withdraw privileges such as time on electronic devices as a punishment, and continually reinforce the rules within the context of your home being a safe and loving place for everyone.
Some children, especially those who've spent a lot of time in the foster system, struggle to bond with new carers and can seem disengaged. This is a safety mechanism they develop to avoid being saddened when they leave a home. Remember that your job in the short term is both to keep them safe and to model a family environment. For a very anxious child, even the chance to observe healthy family interactions and even if they don't feel comfortable participating, it is still a useful part of their fostering experience.
If you are a fostering kids with anxiety and find they have troubling settling in your home after a long period of time, it can be useful to access some counselling for your foster child, so that they can work through any underlying concerns or issues.Share
8 October 2015
My name is Janet Tuck. I am so lucky to be established in my dream job as a life coach. My job mostly involves listening to people and helping them find their own solutions. Marriage troubles, career stagnation, personal identity issues and grief are all problems which can benefit from professional counselling. Unfortunately, many people just won’t admit that they need the help. As a life coach, it isn’t my job to give direct advice. After completing a course with me, some clients decide to undertake further counselling with a specialist. Months later, they return to see me with a whole different attitude to life. I started this journal to let people know about the importance of seeking help, the types of counselling available and the incredible long-term benefits. May you find your true path in life and be happy in all that you do.