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First Time Foster Parents--Meltdown

Updated on April 23, 2016

Best Meltdown Yet

Today I am reminded of something my younger brother once told me; he said that he struggled to let go of his frustration after punishing the kids. In a moment of transparency several years ago, he said this was one of the hardest things of parenting. Frustrated at what the kids had done, or failed to do, he would have to punish them…soon afterwards they wanted him to play with them even though he might still be upset with them. “Let it go” he told me.

While I love our new calling, my wife and I are far from the heroes of the story; although we are definitely willing participants and greatly enjoy it, the children are the heroes. We have a great part to play while they are in our care, but I definitely have much to learn from them.

Today was a beautiful day full of much activity with volunteers on the property. The kids eat up the attention and I love watching our community love on these precious kids. However, I started noticing some behavior issues with the oldest later in the afternoon. By dinner time, tomatoes on the plate caused a major meltdown. It was difficult watching a 7 year old have a meltdown and painful seeing that despite his great intelligence, there are seemingly too few methods taught to him for self regulating his emotions.

After about 10 minutes of the meltdown in his room I stood at the door and gave him some choices. It took a few minutes to break through to him, but I assured him that I love him and care about him, was not angry with him, that I was not upset, that we are “still buds”, but that I need him to control his attitude so we could talk. Of course there were consequences and we talked through them, but right before bedtime he still came to me for a hug and wanted to read me a story before going to sleep. As we said our nightly prayers I thanked God for him and asked God to continue shaping this young man into His image. I read this week that "we are not raising children, but raising adults". We must keep the goal clearly defined and in front of us.

This morning a friend of mine called me and asked if he was calling too early; I responded, “No worries, I just finished giving the kids breakfast.” I never fathomed those words coming out of my mouth. Having no biological children of my own I was always afraid that I would be unable to be a good father…for many reasons being a foster parent is a miracle of God in my life. Rewarding, challenging, fascinating…so much to learn.

Heard today that we will soon have five more children in our home. I suppose they must believe we’re up for the challenge…or they’re in a hurry to get rid of us LOL.

Another day completed; I wonder what adventure awaits us tomorrow.

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