Therapeutic Foster Parenting - When Everything Just WORKS

Now that summer is over and my month of work travel is behind me - I'm starting back up with being a therapeutic foster parent for kids in the community. I've missed it, but in a way, it's been pretty peaceful.  Getting back involved again though reminds me of how hard the world has been to some of our children, and how much need there is for adults to make a difference, to make the world a little less unfair.

This weekend, I had a lovely young girl stay with me. She was probably the "easiest" foster child I will ever have. EVER. Her story is a bit different, in that she qualifies for therapeutic respite care due to struggles in the past combined with a current challenging home life - she has four siblings living in her house with special needs. She has her own history of this and that, but the stress of home is a lot for any child I'm sure. 

And so she came to my house...and we got along splendidly. I adored her-there was never a time when I felt I had to be on edge, or leery of what she was doing, or worry that she was going to flip a switch and suddenly start throwing things at me. Which is nice, right?

Speaking of violent acts by children - Saturday was a required training for foster parents called Intervention Skills. It's two parts, in this first part I learned about some legal requirements I'm supposed to follow when  have kids in my care, and we started learning a little of the physical part - such as, what to do if a child grabs your shirt - there's actually a special technique to remove someones grip from your clothing. We also covered how to handle if a child grabs your arm, grabs on with their teeth (aka biting), or puts you in some kind of choke hold. There were a lot of great examples and stories by the instructor, who has worked with therapeutic children for years. And by great - I mean horrifying. 

Interesting thing about biting - if someone latches on with their teeth, you hold their head in place with the back of one hand, and then you just wait. As soon as you feel any kind of give by their jaw/teeth, you push the limb being bitten into the top of their mouth, and then you push down while rolling the limb out. If you just try to pull your arm or leg out while it's being bitten, you risk them breaking your skin, and it can tear as you're pulling out. So you just wait..and as soon as you get a chance, push in, push down, roll out. Easy right? 

Oh - and pinching -if someone grabs your skin and pinches, holding on with their little angry pincers - you just take one of your hands, keep it flat and push it down against the back of their pincer hand, while pushing up into the pinch. That causes the little pincer to open up and you can peacefully just remove your skin from their grasp and step away quickly. Easy right??  It's a cool trick. Find a partner and try it, you'll be amazed.

Anyway - this weekend, I needed none of these new skills. I had the sweetest little girl staying with me and I hope I see her again as a repeat for respite. We went to the pumpkin patch and she faced her fears of the corn maze- the corn stalks are twice her size! We picked out pumpkins from the patch and we had the most delicious corn on the cob ever. 

While at my house, we did some crafts, we colored, and we spent quite a bit of time playing with playdoh. Of which, I have 43 containers. FORTY-THREE!!! I got a great deal on a box of 36, so that really supplemented my stock.

I discovered that I have the most amazing play-doh skills EVER. I'm considering a future in playdoh sculpting. It was really hard to have to pack everything up at the end of our playdoh time and say goodbye to these creatures:
We also went to see Hotel Transylvania - highly recommend seeing it!! It's a really cute movie, great for all ages.

It was a great weekend....I only wish all foster care weekends were so wonderful! I have the next two weeks off and then I'll have a different child at the end of the month. We can only hope it goes as well.


  1. Kaylen's mom said...:

    sounds like a good fostering experience. Proud of you for fostering troubled kids.
    You always did like to play with play dough! cute animals you made.

  1. You DO have some mad PlayDo skills, girl!
    A lot of what they taught you we learn in self-defense at karate--weird how much of it is counter-intuitive, but most effective, isn't it?
    Your shelter for that girl is a blessing.

  1. Play-Doh Peeeeeeg!

    My daughter is helping to teach English to a darling little Puerto Rican boy. He draws out his short i sound like a long e.


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