We mentioned in our previous article that having a positive perspective and using effective parenting strategies can help to alleviate the pressure of looking after foster children, especially those from traumatic backgrounds, and ensure that your family thrives. Here are a few more tips that might be helpful to you as a foster parent.
Raising children is a challenging job, as any parent can attest to. For foster parents who face the additional challenges of caring for children who come from difficult or traumatic backgrounds, the stress levels are certainly even greater. In our previous article, we identified some issues these children may face, and how foster parents can help them in their recovery process. As a parent in this journey, equipping yourself with the right mindset and ideas for self-care will ensure that you, and your family, can navigate the unique challenges and situations as well.
In the previous article, we talked about the aftermath of trauma in a child’s life, and began discussing how foster parents can help your child along the path of healing. What else can foster parents do?
Creating physically safe climates
Children need an environment that is physically safe, where they are not hurt or threatened with physical harm. Parents should protect their child from adults who think threats or hitting are the way to “handle children”, and also from the violence of other children. This can be especially difficult (but necessary) if the abused child has developed a pattern of being physically aggressive. For example, his tendency to interpret small slights as threats can make him prone to getting into fights. You may have to invest considerable time in teaching your child how to deal with conflicts, how to problem-solve, and how to avoid violence.
The issue of bullying in schools has reared its ugly head once again – bullying never went away, it usually just goes unreported. As a parent, I am disturbed.
Watching the news on the recent case of bullying at a *local school, my husband commented that it wasn’t a clear-cut case of bullying. They boys were playful – rough play no doubt, and at a classmate’s expense. He said if it were a real case of bullying, why didn’t anyone else in the class intervene, and also the ‘victim’ didn’t seem too harassed. Perhaps it is because we have seen and heard worse cases of bullying from friends and other online videos. I didn’t agree with this observation and naturally a discussion ensued.
Fostering Children with Early Childhood Trauma (Part 1)
It is a sad reality that some children have gone through very stressful situations in their early childhood, like being physically abused, neglected, sexually assaulted or abandoned. Foster parents should be aware of the consequences of such trauma, and what you can do to help.
Understanding the Effects of Trauma
These children may experience biological changes that significantly affect them for many years. During these critical early years, when the child should have been developing emotional control and good thought processes, he could have been in a state of stress and crisis, trying to survive. Later, the child may have immaturities of emotions and thinking, for example a ten-year-old child throwing tantrums like a two-year-old. When the child has immature control mechanisms for his emotions and thinking, severe trauma can cause the child to experience extremely intense emotions. He would not be able to cope, and the emotions may overwhelm him.
The Drop Box is a Focus on the Family documentary in association with Kindred Image.
You don’t have to search long these days to find tales of heartbreak. Turn on the TV, visit a news website or open the newspaper and you’ll find an endless litany of hurt and horror, at home and abroad. It’s enough to make your heart numb. So much pain. So little hope.
The Drop Box is not one of those tales.
It was spontaneous decision to respond to a friend’s request to help out at a charity funfair. The boys were 4 and 6, so we needed to do something easy. We decided as a family to sell drinks. To run the stall, we needed to buy the drinks beforehand and sell them at the fair.
It was difficult to involve the kids in the early stages so my husband, my mum and I had to figure them out together.