May 15, 2013

My Child Constantly Asks Questions

Category: Children
Posted By: Susan

Question: We have a 6 1/2 yr old foster child, who is challenging as we have hit the boundary testing stage, and we are dealing with these as they arise, but we can't see how to deal with some of the attention seeking behaviour.

He constantly asks the most inane questions, and I have tried to steer him towards having some sort of chat about any of his interests, or what he likes about school.

He also interrupts all the time before you finish your sentence, if I vacuum he will go into that room, if we have a plan to go out before tea, he asks every 10 minutes about it.

Answer: Dear Susan, thank you for your question and for making such efforts on behalf of your foster child.  Your email made me smile as I have worked with so many looked after children with similar behaviour and I could recognise it instantly.  It is most usually a way of coping with anxiety.  It seems like this may well be the case with your foster child too as you also describe two other examples of anxiety; sticking to you as you go from room to room and constantly needing to go over plans for anything unusual such as outings.

The fact that he is in care means that he is likely to have good reasons for anxiety and I’m sure you know his background well and can make these links.  With regard to his constant questioning though it might be an idea to pay real attention to the types of questions he is asking as it might give you some clue as to what the anxiety is about.  For example children who feel unsafe often ask constantly about the structure of buildings or the nature of the surroundings or the way that things work.  If they are overly anxious about something they may ask the same or similar questions over and over.  If you can get a feel for what might be the anxiety behind the questions then you can give him answers that help him with those underlying anxieties rather than having to answer the seemingly endless questions.  For example you could say that you have noticed that he often asks about outings and perhaps he gets anxious when he doesn’t know exactly what is going to happen and where they are going?  Then you can let him know all the details or perhaps plan outings together so that he feels safe and remind him of these plans when he again becomes anxious.

If you think it might be helpful you could see if the social worker would arrange a few sessions with a child or family therapist for you.  I don’t think it would need to be a long-term piece of work, just a chance to get some advice on the nature of the anxiety you foster child is experiencing and to understand some of his difficult behaviour.

I wish you both luck,


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