Fear is a very real part of life. Most kids are afraid of one thing or another. For example, they can be scared of the dark or monsters under the bed. Indeed, it is a normal part of growing up. Foster children, however, are plagued by fears based on the reality of personal experience. Perhaps they spent a lot of time alone, wondering when someone would come to check on them or bring them food. Maybe they were forced to hide from an angry adult or care for younger siblings.
Will I Be Safe?
While the reasons a child may enter the foster care system are too numerous to mention, they all result in leaving the youngster feeling afraid of mistreatment. They may wonder why a stranger would treat them well when their own family failed to do so. A clean, warm house will only go so far to help them feel more comfortable. As foster parents, offering a few kind words of understanding can go a long way to alleviating some of their anxiety.
Will I Have Enough Food?
So many foster children have faced starvation. It is not uncommon for them to stash food away for fear there will once again be a shortage. According to The Alaska Center for Resource Families, this survival mentality is often due to neglect and feeds the need to ensure that they will always have something to eat. In addition to hoarding food, a foster girl or boy may eat too fast, eat too much at one time, or recoil from items that are unfamiliar to them.
Can I Keep My Own Things?
The sense of self is very important, especially to children who enter the foster care system with little more than the clothes on their back, and perhaps a favorite toy. Keeping hold of their own belongings becomes paramount to a child who has lost so much. Though these items may be dirty or torn, they might be the last link to a parent or a form of security.
Helping Foster Kids Deal with Fear
Foster parents can help ease the burden of fear by showing kindness and understanding of the child’s feelings. Words alone will not be enough, but over time, continued support will bring comfort. Art, music, and play therapy with a qualified counselor are great avenues to pursue, as well.
Find Ways to Comfort Foster Children’s Fears
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