Is there a good resource for dealing with "sibling" rivalry between foster kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-14-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm having a hard time staying calm. We are new foster parents and AS (4) is having a hard time sharing his toys. Our last FS was a fiery little guy who stood up for himself but frequently got himself into trouble for it, b/c he would scream bloody murder, spit, hit, etc. to get his way. It really upset me. DS also turned into a little Jekyll/Hyde and I was stunned by some of his behavior; it just wasn't "like him."


Now we have a new little guy who is 3, and he is very shy and quiet and scared. He has a couple of older brothers who were placed separately, so I know he is missing them. I also assumed that he would be a little tougher because of them. But he's not -- he doesn't know how to handle DS's grabbing/bullying. (It's not really bullying, he's just being a non-sharing 4 yo, but it's "not nice" and I really don't like it. Neither does FS!)


Normally, I'd let them sort it out themselves and if they want to beat each other up over a puzzle piece, then so be it. But I don't know what kind of violence FS has been exposed to and whether that's such a good idea. DS is pretty nonviolent and would stop fighting and cry if he ever actually got hit, but yesterday he got so angry and frustrated that he charged FS and started to swing at him. I stopped him before he did it, and let him know that's NOT allowed. But what about the squabbling and crying? If I let it go, it may escalate again. If I intervene, they don't learn to work it out themselves. Obviously, I have done something wrong with DS since he hasn't learned how to deal with this yet, but I don't know what to do, and I don't know if it's okay to "let them work it out" if it means FS may never "win" or get his way.


Is it different when it's a foster child rather than one who is going to be around permanently? How do you handle it? I'm getting really upset and that's not helping.... :(

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#2 of 4 Old 07-14-2012, 01:22 PM
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So your biological son is the one being aggressive to the foster son? That sounds hard! I think setting limits is important because you want everyone to feel safe. Do you think it might be just a chemistry issue between these two? Can they talk about it at all? Is it mostly around sharing?


I'm wondering if there could be a box of toys that each boy doesn't have to share--that are just for them, unless they want to share. Might that give them a feeling that there are some things that are "just theirs?" Thinking out loud.


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#3 of 4 Old 07-14-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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He's adopted, not bio, but he has been with us since infanthood, so it's pretty much the same thing.


And yes, it is "my" son who is instigating. FS is very shy and really isn't showing any signs of being aggressive. It's all about sharing toys. My son is also just acting out in general, trying to get attention any way he knows how. He is being rude, getting in FS's face, that kind of thing.

It's probably not a chemistry thing. He does these things when he's super-excited and he treated the last foster placement we had the same way. It's like he's trying out his "big brother" cred or something.


I think the box of "non shared" toys is good but I'm not sure how I'd divide them up, other than to rotate boxes each day. And then there would be complaints about one wanting the other box that day..... You know, the typical "grass is greener" mentality they have at this age.


They are not much for talking/listening. I have tried to say short things like "treat him like you want him to treat you -- that means if you want him to share, you need to share," "be nice," "be a good friend," etc. but it doesn't get through.

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#4 of 4 Old 07-21-2012, 04:46 PM
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Our situation was different, but for what it's worth...


My DS was 5 when we got a 1 1/2yo and his 6mo old brother and we had them for 7mo.  Bedrooms were allowed to be private areas that were only shared when they wanted to be.  If DS or the older brother didn't want to share their room they didn't have to.  They were each allowed about 2 or 3 toys that wouldn't be shared, so if there was fighting over those toys I would step in and the owner would have to play with it in their room if they didn't want to share.  Other then that they were all fair game...whoever got to the toy first got to play with it.


Of course it was a bit easier with the bigger age difference because many toys were too big for the 6mo old (he was bad about putting everything in his mouth!) and so they just wouldn't be brought out into common areas so that he wouldn't have access to small pieces, etc. and I think that helped us a lot.


I did have to do a lot of talking about was a pretty new concept for DS.

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