When You Foster Siblings and the Oldest Child Acts Out
If you are in a position to take a group of foster siblings into your home, you may find that the children range in ages from very young to teenagers. This can sometimes result in difficulties, especially with the oldest child. However, giving up on that foster child or separating him or her from his younger siblings can be extremely detrimental to the well being of all the siblings. Instead, there are some things you should try before asking for another placement for that older sibling.
Foster Siblings and Family Dynamics
First, it’s important to understand the mindset of the siblings. Keep in mind that they’ve been removed from a highly dysfunctional home. In many cases, it falls to the oldest sibling to care for the younger siblings, taking on more of a parental role. A group of foster siblings will have their own way of doing things and it can take a long time before that older sibling feels comfortable. Giving up control of her brothers and sisters isn’t easy. She may butt heads with whoever is in charge.
There are some specific steps you can take to ease into the transition.
If the situation becomes volatile, you need to consider the safety of the younger children. Before rehoming the oldest sibling, though, try to work things out through counseling, weekend breaks, and setting firm boundaries. Making the decision to take on an entire group of foster siblings is a big decision. It can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Time, and a lot of patience is usually in order.
It is always best if siblings can remain together so they have at least one constant in their lives. If that isn’t possible, foster siblings should at least have the opportunity to see one another often.