I was wondering how your foster kids cope with all the moves some of them have to make. My husband and I moved house with our two boys last year. My youngest son (aged 4) has become very clingy and has started wetting the bed. My eldest son (7) is now very rude to us and blames my husband and I for making him leave his old school and friends. We had to move because of my husband’s job but that doesn’t seem to make any difference.
Essen, Bristol, UK.
CG: Dear Essen, as adults we can under-estimate how unsettling it is for a child to move house and leave behind friends and all that is familiar. Ideally, a child should be prepared in advance for a move by talking to him or her about the move and why it is necessary; visiting the new home and discussing how they would like their bedroom decorated, and also visiting the new school. I appreciate this isn’t always possible but once the move has taken place, as in your case, there is still plenty you and your husband can do to make the boys feel more settled. Make sure the boys understand why you moved, you could have assumed they understand, but this may not be so. Talk to them and listen to their worries and concerns, then try and help them to integrate into the new community. Are there clubs or out of school activities they can join? Are there similar aged children in the same road who can be invited round as well as new friends at school? Encourage them to keep in touch with their old friends, particularly in the early months, just as you will doubtless be keeping in touch with your old friends. In respect of behaviour, remember that the behaviour which was unacceptable before the move is still unacceptable. The boundaries and routines you had in place before still apply. Don’t allow your son to use the move as an excuse for allowing his behaviour to deteriorate. You moved for the good of the family and you and your husband don’t need to feel guilty. Very best wishes to you all, Cathy.
Pause For Thought: When asking a child to do something, be certain your request is reasonable and you are not simply exerting your authority as an adult. It is reasonable for a child to have a bath every night, but not if it is always timed to coincide with his favourite television programme.