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The Power of Therapeutic Life Story Work within Fostering

The Power of Therapeutic Life Story Work within Fostering

Everyone has a Story!

The fundamentals of how we view, internalise, experience, and respond to the world are embedded in our earlier life experiences. We all have a history that speaks to the sense of self therefore, having access to your history is important. When children experience multiple moves within the care system, they move further away from the people they have shared life experiences with which results in a fragmentation of their personal history and makes it more difficult to develop a strong sense of self and identity. Furthermore, being denied access to these earlier experiences and understanding their impact on the present and the future makes it difficult to develop into a psychologically healthy adult.

Why do we do therapeutic life story work?

Life story work gives children who are in the care system or who have been adopted, access to their history and supports them in processing and making sense of their past experiences. It aims to provide a written interpretation of the child’s life journey from birth to the present. Whereas ‘traditional’ completion of life story work does not always include the child or the caregiver, therapeutic life story work invites the foster carer and the child to participate in the process along with the life story work practitioner. This allows for both to develop their knowledge of each other, thereby strengthening the connection between the two and allowing them to become attuned to each other.

What are the Benefits of conducting therapeutic life story work with our young people

Therapeutic life story work not only focuses on the who, what, when why and how of past experiences but also considers the impact, these experiences have on the child in the present and how it may manifest in complex behaviours and feelings. The model offers not only a way of knowing your past but also an opportunity to heal and reframe negative narratives and empower the child in creating a strong sense of self. It can be powerful in helping children to reflect on how they approach various difficulties in their lives and lead them on a path of resolution and healing.

I worked with a 14 year old male and his foster carer during the process. J stated: ‘Lifestory work has helped me to recognise my feelings. It helped me to not put it in a box’.

The foster carer stated: ‘He has stopped being afraid to say what exactly is going on for him. He is more expressive’

Nicky Challen-Probert our Team Manager is an accredited Therapeutic Life Story Work Practitioner and has been working with many of our young ones to help them through this process, Here’s what Nicky has to say.

To find out more about Therapeutic Life Story work click through to TLSWi

If you would like to find out more about fostering with Ascent call us on 0203 757 0070 for chat or attend one of our open mornings.

Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP)

Dan Hughes, a Clinical Psychologist, created Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP) as a treatment for families with adopted or fostered childrenwho had experienced neglect and abuse in their birth families and suffered fromsignificant developmental trauma.

DDP is a therapeutic model which combines Psychotherapy & Parenting, focusingon the importance of the quality within the relationship between child/youngp erson & carer/parent with emphasis on safety and connection. There is so much to unpack in this model but below are some key topics to give a little flavour of what it’s all about!

The DDP model unpicks the difficulties children and young people present with because of developmental trauma. Developmentally traumatized children learn to survive and navigate their everyday life without safety, security or healthy connections. This is often done without the stability of a responsible adult due to growing up an environment which includes physical or sexual abuse, emotional harm or neglect. As a result, these children present with behaviours rooted in fear, shame, developmental delay and pain which relays in unhealthy ways such as self- harming, self-sabotaging, emotional outbursts, withdrawal/isolating, etc.

As dyadic means between 2 people, intersubjectivity is a key term in DDP based on reciprocity dynamics: “I impact you and you impact me”. With this in mind, the DDP model centres a great deal of its strategies and teachings around a concept called

PACE– Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. The DDP approach believes that this combination of affection, enables healing and creates psychological safety.

PLAYFUL – being playful creates an open and approachable atmosphere.

ACCEPTANCE – acknowledges and validates the child/young person’s internal experience and sense of self.

CURIOSITY – in the stance of wondering WHY? Or WHAT is driving the behaviours/feelings of the child, leads to a path of understanding. Dialogue and thought opens up to think more and find solutions than to react to the situation. Using phrases like “I’ve noticed that…” Or “I wonder why you…”

EMPATHY – creates capacity to imagine what the child/young person is feeling and is shared, letting the other know they are being understood and are not alone in their feelings. This can be demonstrated through letting them know how their story/behaviour/ feeling that they’ve shared has impacted you eg. “I can see how hurt you feel and hearing about this painful experience, makes me feel so sad to know you have gone through this. It must have been so difficult for you”.

Another little nugget that the DDP model highlights, is a concept of “Blocked Care”, addressing when it becomes challenging to continue giving care to a child/young person because of the lack of response that their giving when support/care/help is provided for them. The model acknowledges that this feeling of “wanting to give up” is a normal response but highlights that the child’s/young person’s lack of response to care given, comes from a place of the distorted ways in which they’ve learnt to relate, with the unconscious intention of controlling the others’ emotions via evoking/projecting feelings of anger, inadequacy or hopelessness. When Blocked Care is acknowledged as a normal response to the child/young person’s behaviour rather than a state of being or a sign to throw in the towel, it becomes a lot easier to address and recover from!

In short, the DDP model is very experiential and worth exploring when it comes to working through the trust process that takes place when building the relationship between a carer/parent and child/young person.

Here at Ascent Fostering, we train all our staff and carers in the DDP model. The PACE concept has become second nature to our foster carers who have been able to engage with their young people in a positive and constructive way.

Find out more about DDP

If you live in South London and want to learn more about Fostering, we’d love to hear from you. Either click on the link and we’ll call you back or call us on 0203 757 0070.

Parent and Child Foster Placements

Parent and Child foster placements are a very special type of fostering placement. The placement provides mum or dad with a great opportunity to learn how to parent their child and give them the skills, knowledge, and confidence to live a successful safe and fulfilled life with their baby.

Who are the parents?

Most placements are for young mothers who have either experienced poor parenting themselves, have been in care, are victims of domestic abuse or have mental health issues.  Many will not have the benefit of a supportive family and they may well suffer from low self-esteem and motivation.

What is the role of a Parent and Child foster carer?

The role of the carer is to provide a healthy environment for both parent and child to grow. This is achieved primarily through mentoring and observation.

Young parents who have had a tough start in life sometimes struggle to understand the enormity of caring for a new baby, they will require lots of support and guidance. This could be by helping them identify why a baby is crying, whether it is for comfort, food, a nappy change, or whether they are in distress. Helping the parents understand nutrition and food preparation and creating a stimulating environment for the baby is essential for their growth and development will be one of the key objectives.

Some parents may well be disengaged from the baby and give precedence to watching television, being on their phone or wishing to go out with friends rather than prioritizing the needs of the child,  it would be important to encourage a proactive involvement with the child.

Danielle’s Experience with a Parent and Child placement

Our carer Danielle believes that nurture and attachment are the foundations of a successful positive outcome for parent and child foster placements. Her advice is to meet the unmet needs of the parent so they can in turn meet the needs of their baby. She found that at the beginning of her placements taking on daily practicalities such as washing, cooking, cleaning etc to give mum or dad the time to concentrate on feeding and building a strong bond with the baby was paramount, the practical side can be slowly introduced at the right time. Providing a no judgemental narrative with the parent about the baby’s responses and reactions really helps an understanding of the baby’s development.

Danielle found that writing logs together was a good way for both carer and parent to reflect on how they are coping, what they feel they need additional support with and how they are bonding their child.

Challenges and Rewards of Parent and Child fostering placements

We asked Danielle what she found the most challenging and the most rewarding part of her fostering experience with Parent and Child.

“One of the main challenges was managing the expectations of the different agencies involved as it is likely both the parent and child are looked after and ensuring that each agency was communicating and working together towards a common goal.  Another consideration is to the relationship of the mother or father’s partner and if there is co-parenting to be considered.”

“I took so much joy from seeing how “T” grew to love her baby and how her baby loved her back”

Danielle and her family are in regular contact with “T” and her growing family, they often babysit and share family days out.

Helping to keep families together can be the most rewarding experience.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer and working with Parent and Child  placement,  please call our office on

0203 757 0070

Or visit our website

Ascentfostering.com

Dispelling the myths around fostering

There are so many myths and misconceptions floating around about fostering that at times it can be confusing and can create stumbling blocks when looking into your suitability to foster. My advice is always to make a call and speak to your local fostering agency, they will guide you and give you the best advice for your situation. However, I thought I would share some of the most common myths and hopefully dispel some of the misconceptions.

DO I NEED A SPARE ROOM?

Yes, is the short answer.  It is incredibly important that young people coming into care have their own safe space and privacy. The only exception is if you are fostering babies,  babies can be in the same room as their carers till the age of 12 – 18 months.

I DON’T OWN MY HOME?

Not a problem,  it is not necessary that you are a homeowner, if you are renting we would just need assurance that there is stability on your rental agreement and that your landlord is in agreement with your fostering application.

I’M SINGLE CAN I STILL FOSTER?

Absolutely!  Being single is no barrier to fostering, we would just ask you to consider your network and who can give you support.

AM I TOO OLD TO FOSTER?

There is no upper age limit to foster, all we ask is that you are young at heart, fit, healthy and have bags of energy.

CAN I FOSTER IF I HAVE PETS?

Having pets does not prevent you from fostering, in fact, they can be an asset to a foster family. However, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour. As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you would feel and react if a child injures one of your pets.

DO I HAVE TO BE A BRITISH CITIZEN IN ORDER TO BECOME A FOSTER CARER?

You are not required to have British citizenship to be a foster carer in the UK. However, you need to be a full-time resident in the UK. Children from a wide range of backgrounds need fostering, so foster families usually come from all walks of life. If you are in the UK for a limited time, we will not pursue an application due to the time and cost implications of approving people to foster.

CAN I FOSTER IF I HAVE A LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITION?

Your health will be considered when applying to foster and any long-term conditions are taken into account. The most important factor is whether you are physically and psychologically fit enough to cope with the demands of caring for a child – this may vary depending on the age of the children that you are approved for.

CAN I BECOME A FOSTER CARER IF ONE OF MY OWN CHILDREN HAS DISABILITIES?

You can apply to become a foster carer if one of your children has a disability. The fostering service that you apply to will want to discuss with you how you would balance the needs of any children who are placed with you with those of your own child and what the impact of having other children in their home could be on your own child.

I WORK FULL-TIME. CAN I STILL FOSTER?

A fostering service may have their own policy regarding foster carers working, but it is often possible to work full-time or part-time, however, this will be dependent on the needs and age of the child(ren). Foster carers are expected to be available to care for children, attend meetings, training, support groups, and to promote and support contact between a child and their family. Ascent Fostering would not usually consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time daycare while their foster carer works, but may consider the use of after-school clubs and other childcare arrangements for older children.

I do hope you have found this useful, if you have any additional myths you’d like us to bust, please call our friendly team on 0203 757 0070, we’re here to help. Or visit our website www.ascentfostering.com and sign up for one of our online information sessions.

Ascent is a South London-based independent therapeutic fostering agency, rated outstanding by Ofsted. We look to recruit foster carers in the boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton, Bromley, Wandsworth and Merton.

What is respite foster care and who can provide it?

What is respite foster care?

Whilst a child is in care their foster parents may need to take some valuable time out either to recharge their batteries, deal with family circumstances or have time to heal from illness. It’s at these times we would reach out to our respite families to have the child or children come and stay for a short period of time in respite foster care.  Stays could be just overnight or potentially for a week or two, some children receive regular respite.

During their stay, the respite carer would take on the full responsibility of the primary foster carer, ensuring that the daily routines and structure in place are maintained to give stability. This could mean facilitating the school run and after school activities, birth family contact, health professional appointments, etc.  We encourage our respite carers to build positive relationships with our young people by involving them with aspects of your own life.

Here are a few quotes our respite carers would like to share.

“As respite foster parents, every child we have looked after has had a positive impact on our lives”

“We aim to find out about the child ‘s routine, likes/dislikes before their stay from their main foster parent(s) and/or the agency so that we can maintain consistency and, if possible, meet them in an environment which is most comfortable for them; this can be a visit to our home or their home or a meeting in a park/public space.”

“A meal together at the table or a slice of cake creates a warm welcome for our foster children on arrival.”

“We have enjoyed many long walks, through woods, parks and countryside with our foster children and sometimes together with our extended family.
For those older children who like animals, we have walked rescue greyhound dogs.
We have fond memories of sitting in our garden for hours with a teenager discussing current affairs.”

Could you become a respite foster carer?

All we ask for is a spare room in a loving home, your patience, resilience, time, and compassion. No experience is necessary, however, experience with children with complex behaviour is always an added bonus. Respite placements are usually planned and there is normally time for you to meet with the young person prior to them staying with you.

The process to become a respite carer is the same as becoming a foster carer, you will receive the same training opportunities, be assigned your own supervising social worker, and be included in all our family activities regardless if you have a child in placement or not. Steps to becoming a foster carer.

If you would like to find out more about respite fostering and help make a positive impact on a child’s life, please call us on 203 757 0070 or click on the link to request a callback.

Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week – Growing Together

7th – 13th February

We were pleased to learn that this week’s Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week theme was “Growing Together” as this perfectly reflects the work that Ascent Fostering and our carers aspire to achieve with all the children who come into our care.

It’s been a really challenging time for children over the last couple of years, with the covid pandemic changing their routines and stability. More time being spent at home has, in some cases put children under an enormous strain and stress, and potential danger. Social Media continues to bring its’s own challenges, managing our children’s access to disturbing content and images remains a constant battle.

We support our foster carers and children with a number of activities and training that really focuses on growing together. Our Sensory and Nurturing attachments courses are great examples of this, as we give our carers the tools to understand when children are finding situations overwhelming and how they can regulate their behaviour.

We’d like to share “Maria’s Story” an example of how we grow with our carers and children.

Maria’s Story highlights that strong consistent parenting support can have a positive impact on young people. The community is also extremely important in the journey, Ascent is pleased to partner with a local charity Reaching Higher with offers a number of programmes that challenges young people to be leaders of their own lives.

For more information on Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week and how you can get involved visit

https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/get-involved/

If you live in South London and would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer and giving children who have had a challenging start in life a safe and loving home, please give us a call on 0203 757 0070 we’d love to hear from you.

Ascent 2021 Round Up

Here is  the Ascent Fostering 2021 Round Up. It’s that time of year again, I can’t believe we are already in 2022!

It’s been an eventful 2021 for us here at Ascent Fostering Agency, with some extremely exciting changes and updates that took us into 2022, As always we strive to be constant innovators within our field, which brings us to the exciting announcement that we are expanding our services with the opening of Aspen House, a residential home for boys aged 11-15.

Ascent Children Services will now serve as the umbrella company that encompasses Ascent Fostering Agency and Ascent Family homes. As always we are committed to a therapeutic approach, to build strong relationships, establish ourselves within the community and give young people the skills and strategies to cope in their world. Our vision is to see Ascent grow into an organisation that is known for supporting young people in reaching their full potential.

Head over to the website to learn more about our newest venture:

www.ascentchildrenservices.co.uk

So much went on in 2021 and we want to share with you what happened:

Ascent has a commitment to learning so we ensure that our staff and carers are fully equipped to support our young people and give them the best care. This year we delivered new training courses such as:

The Just Right State Programme

This training gave foster parents an insight into how to regulate their child from sensory and attachment perspectives. They learnt about; the different levels of self- regulation (physiological, sensory, emotional, and cognitive); the regulating effects of food and activities; and how to create an enriched environment that is tailor made both for you and your child’s sensory-attachment needs.

Creative techniques for communicating with children

This workshop looked at the principles underlying art therapy and how you can use creativity to support the mental health, emotional wellbeing, and resilience of the children you care for. It also explored building and strengthening your relationship with your young people. Sharing how you explore how you can harness the interests, culture, and inherent creativity of children to support them to make sense of themselves and their world.

We also have some exciting new courses that will be introduced in 2022:

Girls Group

Trudy Darien will be facilitating a 2-day course to explore the disadvantages faced by girls and young women in society with an emphasis on the vulnerability of girls and young women in the care system.

  • To further reflect on the unmet needs of girls and young women in our care.
  • To understand these needs in the context of Trauma
  • To develop our understanding of cycles of abuse and dependency
  • To develop a strategies of support

We also had the pleasure of welcoming new carers into the Ascent family, they included Marlene and Patricia as well as saying hello to new team members Cheyenne, Supervising Social Worker and Diana Finance Manager. They have been a wonderful extension to the team and we are grateful to have them.

This year we welcomed another cohort of students; Tatum, Keilly, Abigael and Melissa.

With hellos, there were also some goodbyes. We were sad to say goodbye to Remi and Chantelle who were fantastic members of the team and who will be greatly missed but we wish them the very best on their new career journeys and can’t wait to see all they achieve.

As the Covid restrictions began to lift it meant we could get together again and go on Ascent days out.

In April, the sun shone brightly as we headed out to the South Bank for a stroll and took a river boat down to Greenwich for lunch.

In August, we took the whole Ascent family to the seaside for a day out in Southend. There was fun and games on the beach followed by a fish and chip lunch (because what’s a day at the seaside without a classic fish and chips).

Before we headed back to school in August we held our first annual Ascent Fest, lots of families joined us for a picnic in the park with rounders, tug of wars and plenty of arts and crafts.

Earlier this month Sita organised a great evening out for our young people to see the London Lions basketball team take on the Manchester Giants at the Copperbox arena –  The Lions smashed it beating rivals 107- 80.

Even with the unrest and uncertainty of Covid, we still have been able to have an eventful year. As always we remain vigilant about the pandemic and ensure that we operate a safe environment in line with the government guidelines.

We want to thank all our team members, foster carers, trainers and those who work with Ascent for all their continued support and hard work and we look forward to what 2022 has to bring.

Until next year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

What is GDD and how common is it?

GDD (Global Development Delay) is a slower progression of development, usually affecting two or more of the cognitive, social, physical and speech milestones that a child reaches. Our team manager, Zoya recently held a training session with our foster carers to give them further insight into GDD and what it means.

Cognitive – relating to a child’s ability to learn and solve problems.

Social and emotional – relating to a child;s ability to interact with others as well as self-control and self-help skills.

Speech and language – the ability to use and understand language and all forms of communication.

Fine motor skills – control of fingers and use of small objects such as cutlery and pens, etc.

Gross motor skills – control of large muscles resulting in the ability to walk, sit, etc.

A diagnosis of GDD means that a child has not reached two or more milestones in all five areas of development. As with developmental delay, GDD is a spectrum. The number of areas in which a child is delayed varies greatly within the overall diagnosis. However, in all cases GDD will result in special educational needs (SEN).

In our experience, GDD is likely to have a significant impact on a child’s ability to access education and the way in which they are educated. In some cases SEN support is sufficient enough to help, but in many cases Education, Health and Care Plan will be necessary.

What are the components of a structured assessment approach to a child with developmental delay?

Below are the factors taken into consideration when assessing whether a child has GDD.

History

  • Family History – e.g. recurrent spontaneous miscarriages, stillbirth, medical history, exposure to potential teratogens, for example antidepressants or binge drinking in the first trimester.

  • Nicotine and illicit drugs

  • Early neonatal events – complications of delivery, hypoglycaemia

  • Family history of neurological disorders

  • Learning or developmental problems

Physical examination

  • Growth parameters

  • Dysmorphism

  • Neurological signs

  • Hearing assessment

Developmental assessment

  • Health visitor – your health visiting team will send you a questionnaire, known as the “Ages and Stages Questionnaire” or ASQ-3 to fill in before your child’s 9 to 12 month and 2 year developmental reviews. Older children are reviewed at different intervals, depending on the leading professional.

Targeted tests

  • IQ test for older children

  • Play tests for younger children

  • Gait test,

  • Hearing and visual test

  • Genetic and blood tests (in the case of suspected syndromes)

What are some of the therapies used for Developmental Delays

  • Physical Therapy – physical therapy is often helpful for children with delays in gross motor skills.

  • Occupational Therapy – this can address fine motor skills, sensory processing and self-help issues.

  • Speech and Language Therapy

  • Early Childhood Special Education

  • Behavioural Therapy

What are some Early-Intervention Therapies?

  • Children with GDD and those on the ASD spectrum require high intensity teaching, coaching and encouragement to learn skills that come naturally to neurotypical children. This applies to many foster children who suffered abuse and neglect early in their lives (environmental cause of GDD).

  • This means that children require 1:1 support to master essential developmental steps.

  • This work should continue until adulthood and sometimes beyond as many GDD children will never catch up with their peers but follow their own developmental timeline.

What are some creative support strategies for teens with GDD?

  • Music therapies – to improve psychological wellbeing, communication, concentration, fine motor skills and organisational skills.

  • Art therapies – to reduce anxiety, improve concentration and fine motor skills, improve emotional wellbeing.

  • Dance therapies – to improve physical, social cognitive and emotional integration, concentration, balance and coordination.

  • Sensory and aromatherapies – to reduce anxiety, improve concentration and improve psychological and emotional wellbeing.

  • Speech and Language therapies – this can also be very useful for teens.

  • Meditation, mindfulness and breathing – these exercises reduce impulsiveness, improve decision making and self-regulation.

  • Horse riding – improves core stability, muscle tone and posture.

Below are some further links that can provide you with additional information and support:

Support for parents with children who have disabilities – Gov UK

The Fostering Network

Petra’s Place

The Importance of Foster Carer Support

Without foster carers we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. They are the backbone to our agency and allow us to provide loving, supportive environments for young people to thrive.

Being a foster carer is a full-time, 24/7 job. Foster carers don’t have the luxury of clocking off at 5pm each day and then winding down on the weekends. They have chosen a role that requires them to give so much of themselves mentally, physically and emotionally on a daily basis. Many of the children and young people who come to Ascent have had a traumatic start to life which means they usually present extremely challenging behaviours that need extra care and attention in order to support them.

With that being said, as much as foster caring can be a rewarding experience, in the same breath it can also be a very demanding and draining role that takes a lot out of you. Which is why we think it is important to provide foster carers with a strong support system to guide them through their time as a foster carer. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a foster parent, you still need a network of support.

Here at Ascent Fostering Agency, we provide that support in a multitude of ways, ensuring that each of our foster carers have access to support that works for them. We host a fortnightly group supervision session, adopt an open-door policy where our carers can feel comfortable enough to drop in and speak to the team, organise social events annually and provide a calendar of training sessions each month. We encourage our foster carers to build connections with one another as it helps to know people who share similar experiences to you.

Having strong support from your family and friends can make all the difference. Action For Children spoke to foster carers in the UK and asked them to share the support they had received from family and friends. Simple gestures such as building connections with foster children, taking them out and helping out with homework can make all the difference to a foster carer. Friends and family are a reliable lifeline to our foster carers. They make a difference to vulnerable children by being available, reliable, and because they care.

Becoming a foster carer is a huge responsibility and having the right support network can make the journey a lot easier. As a fostering agency, we believe it is our responsibility to build a support framework to provide our carers with all the tools they need to help them on their fostering journey.

If you have been thinking about becoming a foster carer, or have questions about fostering you can join us at one of our Online Information Evening sessions, where you can learn more about fostering in South London and what it is all about. Sign up here to attend one of our sessions.

Dealing with past trauma

A large majority of children who come into foster care have experienced trauma. Being a foster carer for children who have experienced early life trauma – such as emotional and physical violence – can be challenging, complex and confusing. For children, experiencing severe early trauma can manifest in difficult behaviours, resulting in unsuccessful foster care placements.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to an intense event that threatens or causes harm. The harm can be physical or emotional, real or perceived, and it can threaten the child or someone close to him or her. Trauma can be the result of a single event, or it can result from exposure to multiple events over time.

When children have experienced trauma, particularly multiple traumatic events over an extended period, their bodies, brains, and nervous systems adapt in an effort to protect them. This might result in behaviors such as increased aggression, distrusting or disobeying adults, or even dissociation (feeling disconnected from reality). When children are in danger, these behaviors may be important for their survival. However, once children are moved to a safer environment, their brains and bodies may not recognize that the danger has passed.

How to help?

At Ascent Fostering, we believe in a therapeutic approach in everything that we do. Which is why all foster carers, members of staff, support staff and mentors all have been trained to have a therapeutic understanding.

Ensuring that we understand the root of trauma and the effects that it can have on a child, allows us to build trust to create strong and meaningful relationships.

Seeing the world from the child’s perspective informs how we engage and go on the journey with them. By being a supportive and caring adult, children can and do recover from trauma.

Here are a few helpful tips that you can do to help your child on their journey:

  • Respond, don’t react: Sometimes your reactions may trigger your child and if it does, remember to stay calm and reassuring. Acknowledge their feelings and be sure to talk them through their emotions until they feel relaxed.
  • Don’t take it personally: Allow your child to feel their feelings without judgment. Help them to find acceptable ways to express their feelings and give them praise when they do so.
  • Listen: Don’t avoid difficult topics or uncomfortable conversations. (But don’t force children to talk before they are ready.) Let children know that it’s normal to have many feelings after a traumatic experience. Take their reactions seriously and reassure them that what happened was not their fault.
  • Be consistent and predictable: Develop a regular routine for meals, play time, and bedtime. Prepare your child in advance for changes or new experiences.

Help yourself

Parenting a child or youth who has experienced trauma can be difficult. Families can sometimes feel isolated, as if no one else understands what they are going through. This can put a strain not only on your relationship with your child, but with other family members, as well (including your spouse or partner).

Learning about what your child experienced may even act as a trigger for you, if you have your own trauma history that is not fully healed. In order to take good care of your child, you must take good care of yourself as a foster parent.

It’s important to be honest about your expectations, having realistic expectations about parenting a child with trauma improves the chances of a healthy relationship.

Learn not to take things personally and understand that your child’s struggles are a result of their trauma and does not reflect on your parenting or you as an individual.

Lastly, be sure to seek support when needed. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the resources that you have available to you.

Conclusion

Understanding trauma is a huge part of overcoming it. And by walking through it with your child every step of the way, they know that they are not alone.

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