Effects Of Child Abuse And Neglect In A Foster Family
A Guide To Fostering Abused And Neglected Children
We all know that child abuse and neglect is bad but few of us know that we can truly make a difference in the life of a child who has been abused or neglected. That you can offer them something they have never been offered before. There are so many ways to positively change a child's life but for now, let us focus on fostering the abused and neglected.
Fostering a child can be one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding things a person could ever do. You get to truly make an impact on a child's life and teach them how to interact with others in a helpful and positive way. You get to offer them a support system that they might not have ever been offered before. But what do you do if the child your fostering has a history of abuse and neglect? How will this impact your relationship with them and the role they play in your family?
When the child is first coming into the home there will be a period of adjustment, they are in a new place with new people and they might be scared. They can be unsure of themselves and of their relationship with you. This can cause them to be fearful around you or others, be patient with them as this is totally normal.
If the child comes from a home where abuse and neglect was present they might have picked up some patterns and habits from their last home. Gently guide them into a more calm, kind, and appropriate behavior. You can do this by using time outs or other consequences to discipline negative behavior and by using positive reinforcements like treats or special activities to reward positive behaviors.
When the child becomes fearful or hesitant in the relationship they might push the people who are there for them away out of fear, denial, guilt, or anger. When this happens, give the child space but let them know that you are there for them and that you do not plan on going anywhere and that you want to be there for them long term.
Unfortunate, when a child comes from a broken home they are more likely to struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, programmatic stress disorder and more. You may find it helpful to reach out for professional guidance or even look into medication or a homeopathic method of managing their symptoms.
Since the child may be struggling with mental health and may take time to be able to fully trust their new family and support system they may not be able to confide in you to tell you what is wrong or why they are so upset. Or they might even be too young to express their emotions clearly. It is important to try to do what you can for them without overwhelming/scaring them.
If you offer a child a home you are giving them a chance at a more normal life. You can teach them the dynamics of healthy relationships and encourage them to drop negative behaviors that otherwise might turn into another cycle of abuse. You can help them so much just by offering them a place to live and a support system to turn to when things get hard.
Although fostering a child can be difficult, especially if they have a rough past, it can be very rewarding and can change everyone involved lives drastically. To offer a child unconditional love is one of the best things that can be done for them. Every child should have someone that they know loves them more than anything but some children just cannot find that in the circumstances that they are in. If you find a way to offer it to them, they will be so grateful for you.
You can help break the cycle
It's hard and requires more work than most kids
You might have to teach them how to interact with your family/others
Giving them a love they might not have had before
You can help them through the pain and trauma and make their life better
PROS & CONS
Fostering An Abused/Neglected Child
Foster, Donna Gillespie. “Fostering the Sexually Abused Child.” Fostering Perspectives, NC Division Of Social Services , 1 Nov. 2000, fosteringperspectives.org/fp_vol5no1/fostering_sexually_abused.htm.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2018). Parenting children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Brandy. “A Foster Child's 5 Stages of Grief.” The Foster Parent Assistant, 13 Jan. 2018, thefosterparentassistant.com/2017/12/11/a-foster-childs-5-stages-of-grief-2/.
Feit, Monica N., et al New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research. N ational Academies Press, 2014. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=867888&site=ehost-live.McQueen, Daniel.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy After Child Abuse : The Treatment of Adults and Children Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse, Violence, and Neglect in Childhood. Routledge, 2008. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=367010&site=ehost-live.
South Carolina Children's Code (2008 Act No. 361, Section 2Turner, Raymond A., and Henry O. Rogers. Child Abuse : Indicators, Psychological Impact and Prevention. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2012. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=541949&site=ehost-live.