Deck the halls with boughs of holly…Rocking around the Christmas tree …Ding Dong! Merrily on high. Festive fun and frivolity and a good time is had by all…isn’t it? This myth buster, we want to explore this further.
Just recently, whilst watching Coronation Street’s ‘Mary Taylor’ wistfully burn some memorabilia from a difficult period in her life, I recalled a memory of a young person, ‘C’, on their fourteenth birthday. C struggled to cope with the birthday decorations we’d put up, resulting in C taking them down and then proceeding to barbecue some of their memorabilia, whilst playing a recorder.
This may not be the norm for many people but it is important to realise that for some children and young people who are fostered, ‘family times’ can be extremely difficult.
Such events can trigger memories of good times spent with their birth family and a child’s longing to be with them still. The good times spent with a foster family can provoke feelings of being disloyal to their birth family – even if the child cannot recall any good times with them.
Often feelings of loss are not about ‘actual’ loss but ‘perceived’ loss…loss of what is felt to ‘should have been’ can be incredibly painful for children in foster care.
This is compounded by what can be an overwhelming onslaught of images in the media, of families enjoying togetherness and joy.
For people considering becoming a foster parent, there is a need to not assume that providing warmth, nurture and a safe home is enough to automatically ‘make things better’ for foster children. The foster carer will have to bear in mind that there is a process for the child or young person, which may involve healing and acclimatising, before they can really enjoy the spirit of Christmas.
At Chrysalis Care, we help foster carers to sensitively manage such processes and to deepen their understanding of the meaning that a child or young person may be placing upon a situation and how this may affect their communication. To find out more about how to become a foster parent with Chrysalis Care, please complete our contact form here.
In the meantime, Chrysalis Care wish you all a Merry, Merry Christmas.