How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums

How to Deal with Your Foster Child’s Tantrums

How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums: Five Ways to Effectively Address Tantrums

Imagine this. You’re in the local supermarket trying to get your groceries for the week. Your child asks if you can buy him the very candy that makes him the most hyper. When you say no, he proceeds to throw himself on the floor and create a scene that makes it look like you’re the worst parent in the universe. Embarrassment comes over you as you see familiar faces walk past with looks of “How come they can’t control their child?” This, of course, is a lighter scenario than some of the more serious tantrums that can occur; it’s important to be as prepared as possible so you can effectively deal with your foster child’s tantrums.

How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – Control Your Emotions

Operating in anger can indicate a loss of control. When your child sees that you lose control from his actions, it may be an indicator that he can do the same thing over and over again to solicit that response. In anger, things can be done and words can be said that will make the situation worse than it actually is. If a child is expressing anger via a tantrum, it is not beneficial to react off of your own anger, but rather respond in a calm way. When you show that you are able to maintain control and composure, you will be well on your way to quenching the tantrum.

How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – Don’t Give In

It is imperative that you do not give in to the tantrum. If you give in during this time, the child can interpret that as a method to use when he wants something or needs attention. Entertaining the tantrum can tell him if he truly wants something, he can conduct himself in that particular manner to obtain it. Standing firm can also open a great door to a dialogue, so it is a much better alternative.

How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – Be Assertive

Aggression may escalate the situation. By being assertive, it lets the child know you have control and know what’s best. You can change the reaction of a child by causing him to look at the situation differently. It may take moving him to a private area (if you are in public) or using a time out if necessary until he calms down. Doing this can show him you care about his well-being and can bring the safety and security that he needs.

How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – Ignore the Tantrum

It may seem cruel initially, but once you remove the child from possible danger, ignoring the tantrum will prevent it from becoming a heightened situation; in time it should run its course. When a child knows that you are not being affected by his behavior, it’s possible he will change it for a better outcome. Non escalation is a great way to improve the situation.

How to Deal with Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – Communicate Effectively

An old adage says “communication is key.” The child in your care has experienced a very traumatic past and he may have not dealt with a variety of overwhelming experiences in his life. Get him to openly and effectively communicate to you what he needs and why he needs it. It could as simple as him knowing you will be there for him. Sometimes all he needs to know is that he can feel secure in your care.

How to Deal with Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – When Children Need Professional Help

Sometimes your foster child’s tantrums can be the symptom of a more serious issue. FAFS’ Home Correspondence Course Understanding Anger in Children and Adolescents recommends you to consult professional help when:
• Tantrums continually last over a half hour
• Tantrums are violent and forceful
• Tantrums involve self-harm
• Tantrums occur often and over a long period of time
• Your child is over four-years-old and continually has tantrums

For in depth information on how to deal with your foster child’s tantrums, please refer to the home correspondence course that was previously mentioned. Also, please note that this course is only for licensed resource parents in New Jersey. Click here to access this course.

How to Deal with Your Foster Child’s Tantrums – Knowing How to Tackle Tantrums

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide on how to address tantrums in your child. You have to figure out the best and most effective method for you to practice. It will definitely vary depending on the child’s age and circumstance. What you should know above everything is that there’s a way to cope with and address each outburst. You can turn the negativity of a tantrum into a positive dialogue and a lesson the child can take with him into his adulthood.

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Author: Salendria Mabrey, FAFS Communication & Development Associate

Salendria Mabrey is a Communication and Development Associate at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.

2 thoughts on “How to Deal With Your Foster Child’s Tantrums

  1. I have a friend who has adopted 4 siblings. She alrady has 3 of her own, the youngest child that she adopted was maybe 6 months when she was awarded to my friend as a foster child. The child’s mother was a drug (meth) user during her pregnancy with this baby. The little girl now has anger problems. She also feels jealousy toward the biological children of her foster mother; who has now adopted her and her 3 brothers. My friends’ mother also lives in the home and the little girl doesn’t listen to nor obey the grandmother. I think they do a little too much yelling and hollering. The little girl is the youngest ( with the exception of my friends’ new baby who is approx 6-7 months. The little girl supposedly bit the baby and acted as though she didn’t know anything about the reason the baby was crying. Now the mom won’t let the little girl have anything to do with her baby. I said I feel I could give the little girl the attentin she needs. I want some suggestions to use when I babysit this youngster…I know the situation is not a loss!

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