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Foster child is bonding with everyone except me.(43 Posts)
I have a foster child aged 9with us, she has been with us for almost 2 years, and she just doesn't seem to be bonding with me.
She has bonded with my husband and my youngest birth child. I'm trying everything to have time with her so we can bond but she doesn't want to. I should point out she has a bond with her mum, and is constantly telling me I'm not the best mum in the world but her mum is (she has been away from her mum for 5 years now). She constantly tells my husband he is the best dad in the whole wide world. She does call me mum, but to her friends at school she will say I'm her foster carer. My birth child attends the same school as her and she says he is her brother.
She has accused me of hitting her a couple of times which I have reported straight away and SS have spoken to her and she has said nothing happened. She says I hurt her when I brush her hair (she isn't able to brush her her properly herself as she acts more like a 4 years old), again I have reported that she has said this.
She does other things that seems as if she is trying to get my back up I'd I will ask her if she wants something to eat she says no and when I make myself something to eat as soon as I sit down to eat it, she will then say I want something to eat or she will ask for something to eat I will make it for her and then she will say I don't want that. She plays my husband and me off each other. Gifts my husband and I have bought for her for Christmas she says her mum and my husband bought her.
Whenever I ask her to do something IE tidy her room or pick something up, she ignores me, but if my husband tells her to do it, she does it straight away. There have been a couple of times when I've thought she is going to hit me, but nothing has come of it.
She looks as me with pure hatred sometimes (that's what it seems to me anyway)
I have told SS all about this but they say this is the most settled they have ever seen her, school say she is doing great as well. I really don't know what to do. We are currently going through the process of haven't her permenantly but sometimes I feel uncomfortable in my own home because I don't know how she is going to be.
Don't get me wrong, she is a lovely little girl and generally she is well behaved but there is no bond and now I'm finding it difficult to have a conversation with her or even to include her in anything.
I feel so selfish and childish writing this, but I don't know what to do to help the two of us bond.
I'm sure you have done the usual of spending one to one time with her, shopping trips, baking etc. It sounds like she has put her mother on a pedestal. Does she understand the reasons why she is in care?
Hi there, yes I have taken her shopping, for lunch and dinner, but she doesn't really talk to me and keeps asking when she is going back home and is quite huffy when she is with me.
She has a fantastic memory and will tell my husband things that happened when she was staying with her mum. She doesn't have a bond with her dad although she still get to see him but she sees her mum in a regular basis. So she does remember things that happened, but she blames it on her dad.
My son and her have been playing all day and now his friend has come in he doesn't want to okay with her any more so I've said I will play with her, and she told me "I don't want to play with your, your just an idiot"!
Could she be taking things out on you that she can't on her birth mother? It's sounds like there could be something like that going on? You say there's no bond but maybe it's more like she constantly tests you and challenges you to make sure you will still love her and accept her in a way she doesn't feel able to with her birth mother. It all sounds very difficult for you but keep thinking about how crucially important you are in this little girls life in so many ways. The fact she is so settled suggests you are doing a brilliant brilliant job!
There are some lovely mners over on the fostering and adoption boards who may have some useful insight.
Do you think she's testing you, maybe? To check you won't abandon her? Does she have a relationship with her birth father or is there nobody for your husband to compete with?
I should say this isn't the first time she has called me names.
What do you do/say when she calls you an idiot?
Thanks for replying, SS are constantly telling me I'm doing a great job, but sometimes I hunk what's the point (forgive me for saying that I'm only human) but then I give myself a right good talking to and tell myself she is only a child. It is hard though.
I do think she is testing me, previously she was in foster care with a short term foster carer and came to us long term with the view to living with us permenantly.
I doesn't worry me though that she has made accusations against me.
It sounds like it could be the opposite of what you're assuming. You know how chikdren often behave at their worst with people they feel most secure with? Well it could be this.
She probably needs to maintain the pretence that her birth munis the best as the alternative is heart breaking for her.
I agree with BakeryQueen. Although I understand that keeping all that in mind when you're being called names and dealing with the daily grind will be really hard for you. You just have to carry on being calmly consistent over and over again until she realises you are utterly solid in her life. The stuff about trying to ignore bad behaviour and praising good might also be useful?
Thanks bakery queen, that makes sense even though I never thought of it. Not sure if that's how she feels, last year we were going on holiday and she asked my husband if I had to go with them as it would be better if I stayed at home because they would have much more fun! You would think with her saying that that I was the only one who disinclines the children or gives out instructions, but I'm not my husband does that too, but when he gives her into trouble she gets very upset and keeps saying sorry to him.
It sounds as though she feels very loyal towards her birth mother and perhaps thinks that bonding with you, or even accepting that you look after her well, would be disloyal towards BM. No child wants to think that their birth parent doesn't care for them well enough and it might seem to her that by accepting you as her primary carer that she would be rejecting her BM, or even her BM might reject her. It's also possible that the BM may be understanding you when they do have contact.
It sounds to me as though you're doing all the right things and just need to carry on being consistent with your offers of attention, affection etc. I bet she will come round in time, but you could also maybe gently reassure her that you are not trying to replace her BM and that you know how special she is to her.
She sounds very lucky to have you.
Typo - meant to say birth mother may be underMINING you.
Does your dh back you up? What does he say to her when she says stuff like about the holiday?
She still sees her mum so probably finds it hard to accept you as mum. She already has one. It doesn't seem she has a father so it is easy to see your husband as her dad. She is probably very mixed up. Wants to fit in and be like everyone else but feels disloyal to her birth mum. She wants a family but is torn. If you are questioning whether she should stay permanently you need to discuss that honestly. Don't agree to keep her long term if you can't do it as things are now.
Calling you names isn't on and needs dealing with as a separate issue.
Thinking back I do think she has her mum on a pedestal, when in school she draws pictures she wil tell the teacher the people in the picture are her real mum, her dad (my husband), and her brothers (my birth children), and once she told my husband she wished he was married to her mum lol.
Thank you again everyone for replying. Husband always backs me up whenever I give her into trouble. With regards to the holiday, he told her we were going in a family holiday and I was part of the family and if I couldn't go no one would be going in holiday.
I'd agree with BakeryQueen's suggestion tbh, but that doesn't make it any easier for you on a daily basis, does it? It wears you down when your children don't seem to like you very much. My DC both generally prefer DH, but I am comforted by the fact that when they have properly hurt themselves they come straight to me. Thankfully those incidents are rare but the affection is a silver lining!
I'd also agree with the pp who says she does sound very conflicted about being disloyal to her BM if she shows liking towards you. Do you have a friendly relationship with the BM? Could you talk to her, pick her brain a bit?
Is she getting any CAMHS input? It sounds like she needs a lot of help to resolve the emotions she experiences about not being able to live with her mum.
Hi, I am a foster carer. Reading this, she just sounds like a damaged little girl. I doubt it is about you personally. There will be a myriad of issues that have led to this point, and really all you can do is keep doing your best.
Also- I absolutely would advise against discussing it with her birth mother. You have no idea how the mother will use your discussions in future.
Agree with many of the above.
It sounds like she's very conflicted about her feelings for her birth mother despite her apparent idolisation of her. She probably feels disloyal to her by loving you, but deep down is forming a loving attachment to you in spite of herself. This may well worry her deeply as, in some respects (though I know none of the details), her own mother would have betrayed her initial attachment to her.
Thus she is "pushing back" against these feelings of attachment to you. This serves two purposes; 1) Protecting herself (once bitten..), 2) testing you and the attachment to see if she can see any signs you'll let her down- signs she may feel angry with herself that she missed when it came to her birth mother.
I think she needs a wall of love from you. So every time you have to tell her off, or react to her bad behaviour towards you, you should add the caveat that she's a great kid and you love her/really care about her and that's never going to change.
Does that make sense??
Tough situation OP and I really admire you for coping with it.
It probably feels like betraying her Mum to get close to you. Perhaps you could talk to her and say you don't want to replace her Mum and she doesn't have to call you Mum if that would help. Does she want to stay with you long term? If it's not working right now can you delay the decision for a bit?
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