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How can I address challenging behaviors in my adopted or foster child?

Hi everyone,

I am a new foster parent and have recently welcomed a child into my home. However, I am struggling to address some challenging behaviors that they are exhibiting. I am not sure how to approach these behaviors in a way that will help the child feel supported and understood, while also maintaining a safe and stable home environment.

I am hoping to receive some advice and strategies from other foster or adoptive parents who have dealt with similar situations. How can I address challenging behaviors in my adopted or foster child? Any tips on how to deescalate tantrums, manage aggression, and promote positive communication and behavior would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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I agree with all the excellent advice shared here. As a foster parent, I have personally found that it's also important to engage my foster child in activities that are both enjoyable and therapeutic. Such activities can help them build their self-esteem, develop better coping mechanisms, and provide a positive outlet for their emotions.

Examples of such activities can include sports, art, music, drama, or even cooking or baking. For instance, my foster child loves playing soccer, and we make sure to participate in games or practice sessions regularly. Doing so has helped him establish positive relationships with his peers, stay physically active, and better manage his emotions, especially after a stressful day at school.

As a foster parent, it's crucial to remember that every child is unique and that what works for one child may not work for another. Therefore, it's essential to keep trying different approaches and strategies until you find what works best for your particular child.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that, as a foster parent, the key is to be consistent, patient, and supportive. It's a challenging but rewarding journey, and the love and care that you provide to your foster child can make all the difference in their life.

Best of luck on your journey!


Hello everyone!

As someone who has adopted a child who exhibited challenging behaviors, I can definitely relate to your situation. One approach that has helped me is to focus on building my child's self-esteem and confidence. This can be done through positive affirmation, praising good behavior, and creating opportunities for success.

It's also important to remember to stay calm during difficult moments and avoid getting drawn into power struggles or becoming reactive. By staying regulated, I've found that I'm able to help my child regulate their own emotions and behaviors as well.

Another tip is to work with your child's therapist or other mental health professionals to come up with a comprehensive plan that addresses both the behavior and underlying causes. This might include therapy, medication, or other interventions to help your child cope with their unique challenges.

Lastly, I would say to be patient and compassionate with yourself as a parent. This journey is not easy, and every child is different. But with time, love, and consistency, you can make a positive impact on your child's life, and help them reach their full potential.

Wishing you all the best!


Hi there!

I totally understand where you are coming from, as I have been in a similar situation with my adopted child. One of the most effective strategies that I have found is to create a calm and structured environment in our home. This means setting clear and consistent boundaries, routines, and consequences for behavior. It also means taking the time to listen to and validate my child's feelings, while still holding them accountable for their actions.

Another key piece of advice I would offer is to seek out support from other foster or adoptive parents. Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly helpful for both emotional support and practical strategies. There are many online support groups and local organizations that can connect you with other parents.

In my experience, addressing challenging behaviors in foster or adopted children is an ongoing process. It takes time, patience, and a lot of trial and error to find what works best for each individual child. But with persistence and dedication, you can create a safe and loving home environment for your child to thrive in.

I hope this helps and wish you all the best on your parenting journey!


Hello everyone,

I understand how challenging this experience can be, and I can definitely relate to it. As another foster parent, I suggest developing a safety plan for your foster or adopted child. This safety plan should include various strategies to help your child deal with their challenging behaviors before they escalate too much.

For example, you might develop a list of calming activities that your child enjoys or create a designated safe space in your home that they can use when they feel overwhelmed. The plan may also involve having specific verbal or nonverbal cues that indicate that a break is needed, or it may include the involvement of other supportive persons to respond to the situation, such as a therapist or support group.

It's important to sit down with your child to develop this safety plan together, which helps ensure that they feel heard and that you understand their unique needs and concerns.

Additionally, it's necessary to keep in mind that children often act out when they are struggling with a problem that they cannot articulate on their own. I suggest trying to uncover the real cause of the behavior in each case instead of merely addressing the problematic behavior.

In conclusion, I urge foster parents to be patient, compassionate and intentional in their approach to addressing challenging behaviors. It's important to remember that every child is unique and requires a tailored approach that fits their specific needs. It is always best to involve experts, schools or relevant agencies to ensure that complete assistance is provided to the child.



As a foster parent, I have seen that challenging behaviors can arise due to the difficulties and trauma that many foster children have faced. Addressing these behaviors requires a trauma-informed approach, which means understanding that the behavior is often a coping mechanism and addressing the root causes of the behavior.

Some strategies that have worked for me include providing a predictable and stable environment, taking a non-punitive approach to discipline, and using positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. It's also essential to prioritize building a relationship with the child, as trust and safety are crucial for a child to feel comfortable opening up and working on their behavior.

Lastly, I would like to emphasize the importance of self-care for foster parents. Caring for a child with challenging behaviors can be emotionally and physically draining, and it's important to make time for yourself to recharge and seek support when needed. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Wishing you all the best on your journey as a foster parent!



As an adoptive parent, I advise you to take care of your needs and emotional health. Parenting a child with challenging behaviors can be emotionally intense and drain your energy. Hence, it's important to take care of yourself by engaging in self-care activities.

I have found that meditation, yoga, and exercise can help alleviate my stress and cultivate a sense of calm. I ensure that I engage in smart self-care activities by setting aside time every day for myself. It's important not to feel guilty about taking breaks for yourself as you cannot be present for your child if your tank is empty.

It can also be helpful to seek support from family, friends, or mental health professionals. These people can provide a listening ear, offer guidance and advice, or simply be there for you during challenging moments.

Lastly, educating oneself about trauma and the impact it can have on children is essential. Learning about how to address challenging behaviors through a trauma-informed approach can be incredibly helpful. Many resources and books on this topic can be found online or through support groups.

I wish you all the best on your journey as a parent, and urge you to ensure that you are taking care of yourself as well.


Hello everyone,

I have been fostering for a few years and have learned a lot from my experiences. A key lesson I have learned is to shift my perspective and focus on seeing the child's behavior from their point of view.

By seeking to understand the root cause of the behavior, it's easier for me to develop an approach that works best for my foster child. For instance, if my foster child is having trouble following instructions, rather than assuming that they are being defiant, I will try to break down the task into smaller, more manageable steps.

Another strategy I have found to be effective is to give choices to the child. It's common for children in foster care to feel out of control due to the disruptions and changes they have experienced. By offering them choices, they are likely to feel empowered, which in turn can help reduce challenging behaviors.

Lastly, I recommend seeking out training and resources that will help you understand trauma better. Understanding how trauma impacts the brain and behavior can help you tailor your parenting approach to meet the child's unique needs.

In conclusion, fostering can be a rewarding experience but can also come with its challenges. By shifting our mindset, giving choices, and seeking training and resources, we can provide a safe, supportive environment for our foster children.

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