*What to do with foster kids?*
Being prepared in a spendthrift country is difficult enough but what do you do when you open your home to abandoned kids? How does that play with your goals of preparedness? How do you get them on the line?
These kids will have ADAPTIVE behaviors depending upon the type and kind of neglect they have put up with.
Yes there Is overlap.
All these kids will have physical, emotional, mental and ethical deprivation needs. They will be needing a solid center to their lives.
Herein is the problem.
All abandoned kids will be very distrustful of adults. (For very good reason) They will try to manipulate the environment to get their needs and wants met, as everyone does daily. The difference is generally we do this in conjunction with basic ethical underpinnings. Ie. Working together, family goals, do unto others etc. etc.
Moving ahead with this
How you deal with this situation depends with the age or developmental stage they are currently at.
Generally, if they are 7yrs and younger- setting up physical comfort interactions are very important. This is despite an initial ‘I don’t want that’. They need their physical/emotional gas tank filled up. Be inventive. You do not have to smother them. Be the solid mother or father for them while setting up events where they accomplish something. Praise them. Little steps toward having a strong family core with ever increasing self esteem. “Teach them to fish – do not fish for them”
8yrs and up --Now this is another kettle of fish –very different-
They are going to remember all that has happened and perhaps beginning to model this adult–ish negative behavior. This will be on top of the adaptive behavior they have already in place.
These kids have been forced to be advanced beyond their young years. That’s right-they have been forced to survive with what skills they had. They have done the best they could and now it is your turn to help ‘round out’ their development to be a true, upright and balanced adult.
Note: Remember – these kids are advanced in some areas and developmentally underdeveloped in others. Boy-talk about being out of balance. No wonder so many of these kids who are parked in the system fly apart and self-destruct. Well, you always wanted to be part of EOD. Now you get to help defuse this bomb.
Say that they are very physically advanced - look for areas that they never had any experience with - like coloring Easter eggs or building model trains. Then do it with them and make it fun for the AND YOU. Enthusiasm and eagerness builds memories and skill quickly. Or teach them to cook and have a blast.
Remember that they became self-sufficient too early - do not down them rather praise them for being great, for surviving, for being able to take care of business etc. (And find things to fill the holes left from their family experience)
Based on my experience and IMHO, we are a group who believes (and does) in righting wrongs, supports others and are charitable (within reason).
These kids can be our best and greatest supporters of Being Prepared. They already have most of the skills already flamed hardened from personal experience.
The goals of adoptive or permanent placement foster families is to even out, develop up and connect with them at a core emotional level while being a lynch pin for stability. Not an easy task but doable.
So have fun with them. Wrestle, h2o fights, discuss, build bikes & rafts Give the freedom within bounds (keep the bounds solid but be able to move them when they show the degree of responsibility you need, let them know the level of responsibility so they can goal toward it) Teach them Goal building!
Until they KNOW you – expect all adaptive behavior to be in play. Yes, they might lie, cheat, steal, fade, hoard, gorge etc. Eventually this will fade away. Be who you are, be even in your expression and do not take it personally.
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2007 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.