It’s so easy to propose all of the things that you’re going to be when you start something new. When I was approved as a foster carer, I decided that I was gonna be more patient, more kind, I was going to ignore things that were of no consequence and only treat the child in my care with love and respect no matter how they were behaving.
I would say it took me about a month to forget all of my ‘I’m gonnas’. I knew that it would be challenging. I was even prepared for it. I naively figured that my experience with children, teens, family, god-babies and other interactions, would leave me well-equipped to breath through the tough times. Of course, in my naivety, I forgot that I don’t get to send the child under my roof back home after a day or a week. They are home!
When they tantrum, they tantrum with you. When they act up, they act up with you. When they smash things up, they are smashing up your house. When they out-right refuse to do what is right and safe, they are endangering themselves in your space. It’s odd just how acutely I felt my inability to manage every situation. After a month of dark language, violence and other extensive issues, I was exhausted.
4 months later, I have found an equilibrium that I can live with. Wanna know my secret? Ok, here’s the big reveal: I walk away! I figured that I have put in ample work over the last few months for my threat of leaving the room to be powerful enough to do the job and so far, I have been right. There have been fewer tantrums, there has been less violence, less acting up, and the incidences of straight-up refusal have reduced significantly.
The battle is finally being won, but not by me or my foster son. The fight is being won by progress. We have both learnt so much over this period. I’ll not forget how this has changed me and only hope that this 4-year old will forever be impacted by my ‘gonnas’ because without them, I am certain I would have given up months ago.
So, I am adding to my list. On top of being more patient, kind and flexible, I also want to practice better understanding of myself, my situation and of Bobby. Wish me luck!