AdoptUSKids just tweeted 6 Things You Shouldn’t Say to, or in Front of, Your Foster Children, by Tracy Dee Whit. I love her list and I was inspired to add 5 more:
1. Why the child is in foster care
It seems obvious but people are curious about the circumstances. It also is a natural introduction to sharing an estimate of how long the child will be with your family.
2. The whereabouts of birth family members
Another question people gravitate toward … What about her father? Grandparents? Try your best not to get caught-up in this line of conversation. Sometimes just a look down at the child, a silent pause, and a grimace can cue others to move the conversation along.
3. Labels like ‘trauma’ and ‘reactive attachment disorder’ (RAD)
Kids don’t need to hear about your foster parent support group lesson on RAD. Even if a child has RAD, there’s no reason for him or her to be familiar with the term until they’re much, much older.
4. How annoying it is that their birth parents didn’t show up (or sign documents, or call back, etc)
I try to keep the same rules as divorced parents are to keep. No bad-mouthing the other and keep the kids out of the details.
5. Asking the foster child what his/her choice is in a matter that he/she has no choice
Young children don’t usually have a choice as to whether or not they want to visit their parents. So don’t ask. Instead do your best to prepare and transition them for visits. Even if you’re not excited, try to conjure up something positive to encourage your foster child to look forward to visiting.
More posts from Rebecca this month: