You Are Loved (Foster Care in 5-7-5)

I remember the first time it happened. For a couple of months, everything seemed to be going great. Then, we had a bad day and a child had a meltdown. They ended up under their bed yelling at me: “I hate you and I hate living here!”

No one likes hearing something like that. Sometimes biological children also say it to their parents in the heat of the moment. Whether with a biological child or a foster child, to be a parent requires an understanding: You can’t take what they say personally. That can sometimes be hard, especially when not long before the outburst, they cuddle against you and show affection. You seek to love them and they are showing you love as well. Then, angry happens and hurt happens.

A child is still learning and growing. They’re learning to process their world and how to relate to the stimuli around them. A lot of children in foster care have the added layer of unprocessed trauma on top of that. Even if they’ve been badly hurt, a child still has various attachments and feelings toward their family. You, as a foster parent, represent a barrier to being with their family. There are also the cases where a child simply does not know how to appropriately love and feel love. Their outbursts are ways to gain your attention and test your love.

You can’t take it personally. Even in moments where they are screaming how much they hate you, they need you. They need to know they are safe and loved.

Sometimes, when they’re lying under their bed telling you how much they hate you, all you can do is lay on the floor, look at them, and say, “Thank you for sharing your feelings. We love you and we’ll be here for you as long as you need.”

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