Dealing with Stressed Children
Handling stress in foster children
When a young person or child comes into foster care, they are frightened, nervous, confused and stressed. If you are a foster carer, you need to handle this problem efficiently and effectively. You are the in charge and you need to ascertain that the child is calm and at ease. In order to do this successfully, you need to understand the child’s psychology and determine what the child may be thinking at the time of his or her move. Most of the times the children in question have suffered emotionally in the form of abuse or neglect and are struggling with behavioral difficulties.
Read the complete article to learn how to deal with stress in your foster children!
It is important for all those involved in fostering to recognize that fostering is only one part of carer’s lives, and that they do, and should have other aspects to their lives which are important to them.
In reality, fostering, particularly in the case of those caring for a number of children on a temporary basis, tends to take over carer’s lives with little space or energy available for other activities. Such situations can lead to stress and general tiredness, making it difficult for carer’s to do their best for their own or foster children.
Stress is not always a bad thing. We probably need some stress every day to keep us going. However, when demands on one’s resources get too much, particularly demands for the kind of things we don’t feel too confident about, one can begin to react badly to stress.
Emotional signs like irritability or mood swings, and sometimes, just an inability to sort out thoughts and feelings. These signs should not be ignored in the hope that they will go away. They may not, and the result for you, your family and any child placed with you might end in a placement disruption and a sense of failure. If you feel under stress, talk to your partner unless you are a single carer.
A decision to use respite as a means of assisting the carers, rather than benefiting the child, must always be carefully considered. Respite from a child who is making exceptional demands should only be considered in situations where other methods of supporting the carers have been tried, and where there is a clear need for the carers to have a break from the exceptional demands made by the particular child.
You may feel you require some time out in order to continue with the fostering tasks in a more positive way. This may occur where you have been fostering a large number of children, or particularly difficult and demanding children – or for a continuous number of years, this should be discussed during your supervision or at your Review. You can ask for time out, when your own personal or family circumstances make it difficult for you to continue fostering.
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