My foster son is 13, I've been fostering him for about a month or 2. On Friday, he didn't come back from school and I reported it to the police (it was late by then). He came back at about 12:30 I asked him where he'd been and he told me he wanted to be alone. I told him we would've left him alone if he wanted and he didn't need to stay out. On Saturday, he snook out and he'd packed a bag, I reported it to the police, and they brought him back at about 1am, he was trying to get on a bus but he didn't have any money. I spoke to him yesterday and he told me that he'd be gone soon anyway so I won't need to pretend to like him, he said I'll just give up on him and get rid of him like everyone else. I told him that I won't and I told him I cared about him (which I do). I know this is probably normal, but I've only fostered teenage girls in the past and none of them did this. Any advice from other foster parents will be appreciated
Foster son keeps running away
Not a foster care myself - and my children were toddlers when they came - but it sounds like he is sensing that you care for him and is finding it very scary as he can’t trust relationships will last. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things on how you handle it. Can you discuss it with his SW or yours? Or other FCs you know? What do you know of his history? It’s likely he’s had lots of changes and perceived rejections / relationship breakdowns. Just concentrate on the relationship and reassuring him (and showing him) you are there for him
I am not a foster carer either. It is still very early days. I agree with Safia that he sounds scared and does not want to be rejected again. It is great that he is aware of what worries him and that you are having conversations about it.
Could you try to get him some life story work, so he has a better chance of understanding his previous moves? If not, you could look at Life Story Work with Children Who are Fostered or Adopted: Creative Ideas and Activities and try to engage him in some actitivies, some of which are trust building. Some of Margot Sunderland's guidebooks (eg. Draw on your Emotions, Helping Children with Loss) might also be helpful if he is open to this kind of work. If not, Sunderland's Conversations that Matter might be helpful.
Could you create some little daily rituals to create a sense of family, belonging, routine and stability for him? Or just emphasise something you are doing regularly a bit more for him?
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