By Marc Bermann, JCFS Foster Parent Recruiter/Trainer
Fostering someone else’s child is a tough parenting situation, and while a child is in your care it’s up to you to manage their behavior. Disruptive behavior can dominate life at home, as well as create problems in school and the community. The key to successful behavior management is to examine your own reaction to the behavior, change that reaction and in most cases, a more positive behavior will result. By changing the kind of attention you give a problem, it will move your focus from the problem to the solution. Here are some guidelines to consider:
If you think: “I don’t discipline until I’m really mad”, then by waiting until you’re mad, it’s too late…..you’re reacting, not thinking.
If you think: “When I get mad, I just start yelling, and my child doesn’t listen”, then take time to calm down….take a deep breath, slowly count to ten or even leave the room for a few minutes…..then deliver the consequence in a neutral tone of voice. If you yell, the child will hear your anger and not the consequence.
If you think: “I often give more than one consequence at the same time”, then try to intervene earlier. Try one type of consequence at a time, discuss the situation with the child and give him time to think about his choices.
If you think: “I find myself reacting and not knowing what I want to do”, then have a plan of action each time the child misbehaves.
If you think: “I threaten consequences, but I don’t follow through enough”, then understand that threats don’t teach a child anything, but constructive discipline as part of a calm discussion is great parental role modeling.
If you think: “Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle, and I let some misbehavior slide”, Then think about the magnitude of the behavior, the age of the child and what type of trauma history the child may have. Aim for consistency and rely on your “teacher” role to make each behavior discussion a life lesson, not a power struggle.
Remember, we’re all in this together, in the best interests of the children and teens in our care. For information about becoming a 312.673.2755., call