What To Do When Your Foster Child Speaks To A Teacher Poorly

Many children when transitioning from one home to another will take out stress on authority figures. This is a natural defense system that many kids put up, and there is nothing wrong with your kid if they happen to behave this way. But, these issues do need to be dealt with in a manner that is appropriate for the school, and also fair for your child.

Talk to the teacher: Let the teacher know you do not approve of this behavior and you will make an effort to make sure it doesn't happen again. Explain your child has gone through a bit of stress lately, and apologize for the fact it was taken out on them.

Explain why such behavior is bad: When first talking to your child, explain why talking poorly to a teacher is not okay. It hurts their feelings. It disrupts other children's chances to learn. And there are better ways to deal with anger in the classroom.

Listen to their side of the story: Then- ask their side of the story. Let them know "Okay, I know you know what you did was wrong. But- what made you do it? Did your teacher do something to make you upset? Or another student? Or are you just feeling mad today (I feel that way some days too)?" Then LISTEN. Don't judge. Don't interrupt. Let them tell their side of the story.

Have them write an apology note: Give them a day to cool down from the episode, and then make them write an apology note to the teacher. Even if the teacher did do something wrong- have them explain in the note how the teacher's actions hurt their feelings, but they still want to apologize for acting out the way they did. This teaches your child open communication skills- that allow relationships to develop rather than walls to be build.

Offer alternative ideas: Then work together with your child to create a list of alternate ways to deal with anger in the classroom. Have them give an idea, and you give an idea. Take turns writing down good ways to deal with being mad. Here are a few ideas.

        Write down your thoughts: Have your child write down what makes them angry. If they're teacher is being mean to them, have them write down their issues and bring them home to you. Together you can decide how to approach the teacher in a nice way.

        Call home: If your child is truly having a very bad day, where everything is making them mad, offer to them the option to simply call home. Let them rant for a quick minute and ask your advice on how to handle things. Just letting off the steam over a phone call can make a difference in attitude.

        Talk to a counselor: Again, if your kid is just having a bad day and they are super mad- taking a moment to take a visit the counselor and talk through their issues can help clear their head and let them finish the day without an issue.

Things To Teach Your Tween Foster Child

The 'tween' years are tough for any child. Hormonal transitions and the confusion of Jr High can overwhelm any child- but it can be especially daunting for a kid in foster care. There are a lot of basic skills that many tween kids miss out on learning, because of constant transitions or less-than-great adult role-models. Tune into your inner teacher while a tween is in your home, and teach them a few of these great basic skills that can take them so far in life later on.

How to cook basic meals: Get in the kitchen with your kid and give them the basic tools to be able to feed themselves! Teach them how to read recipes, how to use measuring cups, and how to use an oven, stove top, and microwave to cook many meals. These basic tools aren't often taught to kids who spend a majority of their time in foster care, but are necessary things they need to know in the 'real world'.

How to save money and spend wisely: A simple penny bank can go so far in teaching your child money saving and spending techniques. Small savings habits can add up over time, and teaching your child to budget their gift money and allowances and save for bigger purchases can give your child the money-skills to be successful later in life.

Basic sex ed: I know it's awkward- and it can be a touchy subject with children exposed to sexual harassment in the past. But it is SO important to teach your tween safe-sex practices BEFORE they become active. Be upfront and honest about STDs, the emotional ties that sex can cause, and of course- pregnancy. Kids need to know the basics to protect themselves and the people they are active with later in life. Many tweens in foster care move from school to school and often miss the two-month 'sex ed' course. With the help of therapists and counselors, work to teach kids this course yourself- it can literally change their life later down the road.

How to use a schedule/planner: In Jr. High many schools will start requiring kids to use a planner, and I think this is fantastic. Encouraging your child to use a scheduler or calendar at home, as well, can help create organizational skills and planning skills that can keep them on-the-right-path through all of high school and leading into college.

Responsibility through pet care: I believe between the ages of 10 and 13, is the PRIME time to get kids interested in independent pet care. I'm all about letting my foster kids have pets, and encourage my tweens to pick out a small animal that they- and only they- can be responsible for (of course with my monitoring in the background for the well-being of the animal). Easy-to-care-for reptiles, freshwater fish, small pet rodents, and small birds all go over very well with my tweens. Not only does it give them a much needed emotional animal/human bond, it teaches them how to responsibly care for something!

Why You Should Buy Your Foster Child New (Not Used) Items

I'll admit that I stock up on all sorts of thrift-store items for my foster children. I buy bulk lots of clothes on eBay for them. It's impossible to afford a brand-new wardrobe for every child that comes into my home. But it's NOT impossible to buy them a few new things, that THEY picked out. And I think it's extremely important that you get your child new things while they live with you. I realize that if your child comes to you with two shirts and a pair of pants- it's more financially-friendly to buy them bulk-lots of used clothes. And that is fine as well! But treat your kid to a few new things once in a while. It won't break the bank, but it will make a difference- and here's why:

Most kids in foster care are constantly getting hand-me-downs and used items. There are a lot of organizations that outfit child services with lightly used items for kids in care. With that being said, the kids almost NEVER get to pick out these items for themselves, and none of the items are personalized. They're used to getting these 'used' things handed to them- and although they are obviously grateful, the items don't always feel like 'theirs' because they don't necessarily match their personal style or preferences.

Personalized items can mean a lot to anyone, but especially a child in foster care. Living in a world where everything is 'temporary' is tough. They have a 'temporary family', a 'temporary bedroom', possibly a 'temporary school' and 'temporary friends'. So having something permanently theirs can mean so much. Having a bedspread that THEY picked out can be such a nice thing for them to bring from place to place. Having clothes that express their style and were purchased brand new for them can help them keep a bit of their identity amidst all of the changes.

Another reason new things can mean a lot- is because OTHER kids have new things. Simply because they are in foster care does not mean they should not be able to have new and nice items. But a lot of times that's the case. And 'foster care' is used as an excuse to let a child go without new and nice items. New clothes can help your child feel more confident in school. Personalized bedroom decor can help them feel more at home in your home. Give them the same things every other kid gets to have. The time they live with you, and their 'foster' status shouldn't prevent them from being treated to quality items once in a while.

December Foster Parent Bucket List

Visit A Lights Show: Many places hold free light-shows. Specific neighborhoods often go all-out. Zoos have drive-through evenings. And churches and other organizations will sometimes put up a sparkling display. They're often free or low-cost. So why not spend a night driving around?

Send Holiday Gifts To Siblings/ Birth Parents/ Relatives: Christmas can be a difficult time for foster children. They'll often worry about their siblings, parents, and other relatives. If they themselves get gifts, they may feel guilty wondering if the rest of their family did. Prevent your child from feeling too overwhelmed by allowing them to buy and give gifts to their birth family. It will ease their minds and give them a chance to celebrate with their birth members.

Feed Birds: In the winter, many birds rely on birdseed to survive. So make a day and create a winter birdfeeding area. You'll draw in nature for your child to enjoy- and make many feathered neighbors very happy.

Learn About Other Cultural Holidays: Even if your child celebrates the same holiday as you- make a point to teach them about other cultural holidays. Take time to open your kids eyes into the traditions of Kwanza, Hanukkah, and Christmas.

Bake And Decorate Cookies Together: There's no better time to bake and decorate cookies- than around the holidays. Stock up on frosting, sprinkles, and decorations. And let your imaginations run wild with baking creativity.