Grief in Foster Children
Grief can cause trauma in foster children
We all have our share of grief in our lives. The worst type of grief that we encounter is the loss of a loved one. Grief being a very strong emotion, can cause us to act very differently than our normal selves and can cause us to lose our composure. Imagine a small child, being separated from his or her family. Isn’t his or her grief justified? Foster children have to leave their own families, school and friends and live with complete strangers in a different home, town or city. If we fail to recognize the grief and its cause for foster children, it can prove to be very harmful in the long run.
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If a small girl is pulled from her mother’s home, only to be placed in the safety of strangers, and she attends school later that week, only to throw something at another student or even the teacher, is she grieving or a troublemaker?
Children are often unable, and fail to recognize the underlying cause of their own behaviors, unable to make the leap that their grief and sorrow may be connected. Professionals often dismiss these problems as impulsive behaviors or a symptom of a larger psychological issue. Some foster children are not so social; they do not talk much to other children, and have a difficult time understanding their own feelings and actions.
These children have suffered a tremendous loss — a deep sadness and grief that often goes unrecognized, and often leads to deeper traumas. When we learn to recognize that a child may be grieving, it may be easier to throw our arms around them and tell them everything is going to be OK, instead of issuing a punishment.
Author: Shenandoah Chefalo
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