Journey of Hearts: Understanding Child Behaviour in Fostering – A Christmas Revelation

Join us on the Journey of Hearts series as we delve into the complexities of understanding child behavior in fostering. Learn how Erin's first Christmas as a foster carer became a pivotal moment for gaining insights into the children's perspectives.

Welcome back to our Journey of Hearts series, where we explore everything to do with foster care from the perspective of foster carers and we dive into some of the situations that come up in their day-to-day lives. Today, we're sharing a bittersweet story that sheds light on understanding children's behaviour when they enter foster care, particularly during emotionally charged times like Christmas.

Erin, one of the foster carers with Origins, recalls the first Christmas with the children in their care, noting that it was filled with challenging behaviours. This was pretty surprising for Erin, given that Christmas is generally considered to be a time of joy and excitement.

When they felt that excitement, that was for a positive thing, it came out as a negative behaviour.

Careful Curiosity

Understanding child behavior in fostering often requires digging deeper into the child's past experiences with a careful curiosity. When she took the time to reflect and engage in conversation with the child, asking the child about her past Christmas experiences, Erin learned that the children associated excitement with a period of heightened stress, which went a long way to explaining the challenging behaviour she had witnessed in the run up to Christmas.

Gaining Perspective Through Communication

One of the most revealing moments came when the eldest girl commented, "Well, nobody's fighting yet." This statement provided valuable insight into the type of Christmas they were accustomed to, and the related stress that the children must have been feeling. The main type of excitement they had experienced before coming into care was associated with negative and stressful experiences, like a confrontation-filled Christmas. Recognising this, Erin points out that it's not hard to see a correlation then between the challenging behaviour and what she would have otherwise thought to be a positive experience.

Seeing the Impact of Understanding

When foster carers take the time to understand the underlying reasons for a child's behaviour, it opens the door for more effective communication and a stronger bond. This understanding can be a turning point in helping the child feel more secure and part of the family.

Would you like to be a guiding force of good in a child's life and provide a safe, loving and nurturing home for a child? Start your fostering journey by filling out our application form or connect with our team at Origins Foster Care to learn more about the impact you can make.

A portrait photo of Eithne Larkin, a team member at Origins Foster Care smiling and looking at the camera.
Written by:
Eithne LarkinEithne Larkin
December 15, 2023
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