Dealing with Difficult Children

As an intensive foster parent, I am often grasping for ways to deal with the strong emotions that come from my foster son. He is a beautiful, bright boy that has seem stomped on by the world. Frankly, he has all the right in the world to be angry and act out. Unfortunately, this understanding of his circumstance doesn’t really help me cope with and deal with his outburst. Fortunately, I have found a few books at the library that have helped me with some concrete advice and you do not have to be a foster parent to appreciate these.
Parenting With Love And Logic by Foster Cline was the first book that was suggested and it was a sure fire hit. It focused my parenting goal’s and plans on behaviors on could change and made me think about not forcing issues I could not win. The first portion of the book lays out the love & logic philosophy focusing on putting responsibility where it belongs, natural consequences, and empathetic compassion without rescuing. The second half of the book uses these guidelines in specific parenting issues: literally guiding you through temper tantrums.

The second book was also in the Love & Logic series, but focused on older children. Parenting Teens With Love And Logic also by Foster Cline. Reiterated the same philosophies as the first book but applied them to more teenage issues like substance abuse, curfews, and dating. One of the most interesting and astounding points that they made was that follow through on consequences and making boundaries at the younger ages in critical because the consequences in the real world will be far far greater. The longer we allow our children to get away with selfish, defiant, troubled behavior the greater disservice we are doing in the long run.

The third book interestingly is written for couples, but I found the information easily applicable to any relationship. Overcoming Anger in Your Relationship: How to Break the Cycle of Arguments, Put-Downs, and Stony Silences by W. Robert Nay, PhD. is based on cognitive behavior therapy. The author of the book also gives very concrete models of how to deal with anger of a partner. It is not a book about how to change the other person, but instead how to change ourselves: How to set boundaries, reestablish self-esteem, and maintain boundaries. While this book is very helpful given my foster son’s specific issues, it is applicable to parents, spouses, caseworkers, or frankly anyone involved in a relationship that revolves around anger. There is a particularly interesting chapter about dealing with passive aggressive anger.

While these have been excellent resources, I am always looking for more ideas. If you have read any books that may be of assistance, please share them in your comments. In the meantime, if you are feeling frustrated, I’m glad that you are here looking for help and taking a few minutes to do something for yourself. Don’t stop looking for help and don’t be ashamed of sharing your problems. There are more people than you might realize in similar situation.

Dawn ♥

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