Just spoke to my youth. After the events of last night, we have decided to try the divide and conquer plan to handle the next 8 days of these kiddos.
Let’s keep it in perspective. We are the umpteenth home these kiddos have been in within a short range of time. We are strangers. And they are only here for respite. A short blip on the radar. They are in a loving and supportive foster home that truly acts in their best interest.
This is not easy – there are extremely challenging behaviors that are displayed despite their age. I have told people for years that working with foster kiddos is not all rainbows and unicorns.
Everyone always wants the littles – trauma is trauma no matter the age. How it manifests in littles is usually absolute defiance, extreme physical aggression and emotional meltdowns that could rival any hurricane.
Dude – teens are least able to tell you how they feel instead punching you in the side of head with a pink plastic teacup when you ask them to put on their shoes.
The difficulty with littles is that they can not explain the flight, freeze or fight aspects of their lives. It is intangible. Yet so obvious when watching their behaviors. Pushing every boundary gives them control.
They need control in their out of control lives. I get that. I applaud their resiliency. I know that most people don’t view challenging behaviors in a positive way, but really, when working with traumatized kiddos – you HAVE to reshape your thinking. To see life through their trauma lens.
And since we have an understanding of that – the boundaries were absolutely pushed last night because we pick our battles. We don’t have many buttons to push. Which led to even more extreme behaviors and some outright uncontrollable emotions in an attempt to get a reaction.
Oh sweet summer child – I have teenagers and an adult son … you are out of your league ….
Negative attention is always better than no attention.
This is why we are dividing and conquering. Each kiddo will get one on one positive and redirecting attention over the course of 8 days. It might not work. We might absolutely fail. It could devolve Into some Lord of the Flies chaos – but you know what, it is better to try than to not try.
Hopefully this plan of attack helps curb some of the challenges. The physical reminders of working with littles who have trauma are tangible. The emotional heartbreak of knowing that trauma is plainly evident in every foster kiddo is life lasting. We don’t forget that they are hurting or scared or confused or very very resilient.
We applaud the small things and when a four year old takes a chunk out of your forearm with her teeth because you asked her to brush her teeth, well at least she didn’t bite anyone else 😂 and you will learn to keep all parts of your body out of teeth range for the next 8 days
Tonight we tackle bath time and we are going to try to read a damn story before bed …. and maybe tonight, I will escape without a bruise or being being called “an ugly face” at the highest decibel known to man.
I have discovered that the pizza fairy is a viable incentive to promote positive choices – like not throwing your car seat at my face …. again … 😂
So tomorrow we will be having pizza. One cheese and one with pepperoni. Now I just have to remember to get pizza because the pizza fairy, much like santa, is always watching 😂 – look man – it was 2am and I was desperate … don’t fault me
I can say this – despite getting a booster seat to the face this morning, I did get a hug and a “don’t leave” when I dropped her at daycare five minutes after said booster seat took flight. Baby steps.
Wish me luck ….. because #thisisfostercare
PS: if you want to join me on this journey – I have foster parent training classes in Etown and Louisville going on right now … ❤️