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Managing Behavioral Issues

Many children have been exposed to domestic violence, neglect, or physical, sexual or emotional abuse prior to being placed in foster care. All of these are traumatic events for any person to endure, let alone a child. As a result of this trauma, children entering your home may be feeling a variety of emotions. They also could exhibit some problematic behaviors.

To respond appropriately and effectively, foster parents should use discipline that praises and reinforces positive behavior. Positive disciplinary methods are preferred as they teach important skills that children will need not only in foster care, but also in life. This includes problem-solving skills, healthy coping skills and emotion regulation skills.

Discipline methods should help children feel safe and secure in the foster home. Foster parents are not permitted to use physical punishment with the children in their care. This includes, but is not limited to, spanking, slapping, hair pulling, pinching or biting the child. Foster parents can’t punish children for actions outside their control, such as difficulty potty training. They also can’t deny children food, shelter, medical care or restroom facilities, or take away the child’s right to agency services, such as visitation with family or the caseworker.

Positive disciplinary techniques

  • Praise and reward good behavior
  • Know when to choose your battles and ignore mild misbehavior
  • Redirect attention to a more productive, positive activity
  • Use time-out or removal of privileges if a negative consequence is necessary

Additional Information