We all deal with it to some extent. Different things enrage us, making us mad. We all handle it in various ways, too.
Just like our foster kids.
With some the rage is verbal. A child gets in trouble for the way he provoked another, and he ends up hiding under his bed yelling at you with tears, “You’re terrible people and I hate living here!” But then, some days you get punched in the face.
Some days you’re driving down the road and a child lets his anger fly along with his shoes as his feet pound the backs of the front seats. Then you pull the car into a parking lot, get in back with the child to keep him from running away while trying to calm him down. And when you reach over to keep him from escaping, he tries to bite you; when you pull back to keep from being bit, he throws punches; when you use your palm to absorb his punches, he tries to escape.
The rage continues. The cycle goes on. And he finally lands a fist to your lips. Fortunately the fists of a young kid don’t hurt that bad.
When the rage happens, in whatever form, you have to do your best to remain calm while also trying to protect yourself, the child, and property. It’s not easy, but your calm will help them weather the storm back to their calm.
Many foster kids have learned to be guarded as a defense mechanism. One of our foster sons, in a rare moment of vulnerability, told us that he almost always feels angry on the inside.
That’s what abuse and abandonment does. These kids deal with many bad things in life and they often grow up robbed of healthy coping mechanisms. So, when they’re in your care they can have the same sweet moments as many children, but they also have moments where the rage manifests in unhealthy ways.
Be their calm. Help them through. Remember that they need lots of love. Even on those days where they punch you in the face.