What to Do When Foster Kids Fight
- Allow each foster child his or her own space. Having each child in his/her own room would be ideal, but it's not necessary to keep the peace. Ideas: Try giving each child their own space for doing homework. Try to take foster placements that won't be in the same grade or classroom at school.
- Give the kids permission not to like each other. It's not a requirement that they like each other. Teach respect and patience instead.
- Create house rules as a family. Allow each person to contribute something to the rules. This will give each member of the family a sense of belonging and importance.
- Involve each foster child in his/her own activity. This goes along with the idea of giving the kids space. It will also help the kids become individuals.
- Allow each child time with foster parents separate from the other foster kids. Try to set aside time to spend with each child separately. Not only will this help build bonds with you as parents, it will help build the children's self esteem.
- Allow the kids time to grow as siblings. Don't expect children from separate families to immediately embrace each other as siblings. Bonds take time to grow, so give them that time.
- Talk about issues together and openly. If there are problems within the family discuss them as a family. Hold family meetings and share. We have had this in our own family and it works. Go around the room and have each member share something they like about each member of the family before starting in on any problem. Be sure to pre-teach in this situation and remind everyone that the family is a safe place. Hopefully this will quell any rascals who want to say something mean or hurtful.
- Have family time. Doing things as a family will help to build family and sibling bonds. Participate in sports, go for walks, picnics, or movies together. Shoot for weekly family time.
- Supervise a project that the children can complete together. Teach the kids that at times, it is best to work as a team. Try giving the kids a project of their own such as a garden, redecorating their room, or something simple like an art project. Just be sure to supervise. This may be a great bonding experience for the kids.
- Accept the fact that they may not get along. The kids may not get along - ever. Accept it. As long as it is a safe environment and no one is getting smacked around, you may have to learn to live with it. If and when the situation turns unsafe, make a call to your social worker and ask for advice. Someone may have to be moved.
For More Ideas on Handling Fighting Kids See, "Child Behavior: Eight Ideas To Stop The Kid Fighting" From our Guide to Child Care, Robin McClure.