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KINSHIP CARE FAQ

How can I avoid taking bad behaviors personally?

  • It may be difficult, but parenting a traumatized child may require a shift from seeing a "bad kid" to seeing a kid who has had bad things happen.

  • Your grandkid may resent being separated from their parent and wish to return, even if their home situation was dangerous or unhealthy.

  • Remember that kids often act out in a safe place, so although it may feel like your grandkid doesn’t love or appreciate you, their behavior actually means they feel safe enough to express frightening emotions.

How can I show respect towards the parent struggling with substance use?

  • Speaking negatively about the parent can damage the child’s self esteem.

  • Encourage the understanding that addiction is a disease.

  • The word “addict” creates a label and casts a shadow of stigma, as if it is the only thing that defines them. Try “struggles with a disease of addiction or with substance use disorder” instead.

How can I help a child deal with past trauma?

  • Teach and reinforce the 7 Cs:

    • I didn’t cause it

    • I can’t control it

    • I can't cure it

    • I can take care of myself by communicating my feelings, making good choices, and celebrating myself.

How can I identify trauma triggers?

  • Watch for patterns of behavior and reactions that do not seem to fit the situation.

  • What distracts the child, makes them anxious, or causes a behavioral outburst?

How can I support resilience and self-esteem?

  • Help children identify their personal strengths and resiliency. Let them know they are loved, valued, and wanted.

  • Allow children to share their story, and be willing to listen.

How can I let the child I'm caring for know that I won't give up on them?

  • Use descriptive praise statements when the child does any positive behaviors.

  • Plan for challenging behavior.

How should I discipline the child I am caring for?

  • Children who have had negative life experiences may express their feelings through inappropriate behaviors such as hitting, biting,   fighting, not following rules, and constant arguing.

  • Be clear and consistent about expectations and consequences for misbehavior.

  • Communicate and educate ahead of events what sort of behavior is expected in public.

  • Avoid physical punishment, which can worsen an abused child’s stress or panic.

What should I do if I think the child I am caring for has medical issues, not just behavioral challenges?

  • Contact a doctor if they exhibit any of the following:

    • Hyperactivity

    • Impulsivity

    • Excessive fidgeting

    • Blurting out answers

    • Difficulty waiting in line

    • Easily distractible

    • Forgetfulness

    • Failure to complete tasks

What are some examples of consistent routines that I can provide for the child I am caring for?

  • Have dinner every night as a family

  • Read a story together before bed every night

  • Include children in age-appropriate household chores

How should I help the child I am caring for feel at home?

  • Encourage their input in their new home.

  • Try to give each child their own private space and encourage them to decorate their new space.

How can I help the child I am caring for feel like they are part of a community and build connections?

  • Regularly attend events at the children’s schools.

  • Provide them with opportunities to make new or strengthen existing friendships.

  • Participate in after school adult-supervised activities for positive source of structure.