Toxic Stress and the Child

This is about a half hour video about how children experience stress and what affect it can have on them. I think this particular topic is important to think about, as each and every child in care has experienced the stress of being removed from their biological family. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, once they’re removed from the abusive environment, they should feel the relief of less stress. That their behavior should reflect this reduced stress. Instead, what often happens, is that they’ve learned methods to cope with stress that may have worked in the abusive environment, but appear to be wrong in the foster home. Changing these behaviors takes a very long time and some intentional work. Also, I think it’s important to realize that what might not feel stressful to us as adults, may feel very stressful to children. They haven’t had the years of experience to give them perspective on stressful events, so they have no way to put those events into context. They cannot say “Well, that was a little hard, but it wasn’t as bad as this other thing that happened.” How do you all see your kids experience stress?

Lemn Sissay: A Child of the State

Welcome everyone! This video is roughly 20 minutes long, and is by a man who was a ward of the state in England. He talks about the importance of letting foster children own their past and their experiences. In my mind, this idea is so important. It can be so powerful when kids feel like they can talk about what happened to them, and can say “this is part of me, but this isn’t all of me.” Often kids get the message that, once the abuse is over, they don’t need to talk about it because it might bring up bad feelings. I disagree with that thought. Sometimes, by telling and retelling a story, a kid (or adult for that matter) can begin to see that event in new ways, which will help them understand it better. Maybe they’ll see that what happened wasn’t their fault. Maybe they’ll begin to feel the emotions of that event less intensely. What do you think about what Mr. Sissay said?

Welcome Foster Parents!

Happy Thursday everyone!  Thanks for bearing with me as we test-run this new training format!  I would like this blog to be an interactive resource for each of you, in finding new ideas and new techniques for dealing with your kiddos.  I will be posting at least three hours worth of training material each month for each of you to have access to.  If you are a primary foster parent and participate in all of this training, this will get you to your required training hours for relicensure.

In order to get these hours, though, I expect you to do more than just watch the videos, or listen to the podcasts, or read the materials.  At the end of each post, there is a section for comments.  To get credit for participating in the training, I want you to post at least one comment about what you thought or what you learned or how you’ll implement these ideas into your foster care.  When I see that you’ve posted a comment, I’ll bring a training invoice to our next home visit for you to sign, and we’re good to go!

As we progress, I welcome feedback and ideas for how we can make this a better resource for all of you, as well as topics you would like to learn more about.  I’m also hoping that eventually, I can incorporate an online forum, so all of you wonderful foster parents can talk with each other online and get support and ideas from each other.

Happy Training!!