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Separation and Loss Loss & Grief Experienced by Foster Children.

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Presentation on theme: "Separation and Loss Loss & Grief Experienced by Foster Children."— Presentation transcript:

1 Separation and Loss Loss & Grief Experienced by Foster Children

2 The Loss and Grief Dilemma Few children in foster care receive adequate help in resolving the loss and grief they experience. Not many of us are highly trained in the area of grief counseling. We have problems dealing with our own losses and the grief we experience. Most professionals are not highly trained in grief counseling either. Children don’t get over the grief of losing their parents or being placed out of home, they learn to live with it.

3 Understanding From Their Viewpoint As family teachers, we have to learn ways to live with these youth while they are going through intense feelings of loss and grief. Unfortunately many of us are of the opinion that our the youth are better off with us. Our logic points to that by comparing their previous homes to what we have to offer them. We need to get ourselves into the mindsets of the youth. This will give us a better understanding of where they are coming from.

4 Teaching with Empathy Children need to feel their pain and work through it. As family teachers, we often dwell on extinguishing undesirable behaviors in our children without a good understanding of what drives them. Our kids need the time and space to work out what has happened to them. They have the immense challenge of learning to live in new and scary environments while still carrying the burdens of their losses!

5 Imagine Leaving Everything You Know? Children have attachments of some kind to their biological parents. Whether those attachments are healthy or unhealthy, the kids are still attached to some degree. When they leave their homes to enter treatment at Youth Quest, they leave their comfort zones behind. That is the world as they knew it. These youth have lost more than just the place they live. Some have lost their biological parents.

6 Complications to Grief Some factors that complicate our children’s grief processes are “magical thinking” how they view their removal from home (being given away vs. being taken away) the suddenness of their departures from home and parents. children often take on the blame themselves for what has happened in their families. In addition, they may view their parents as weak and unable to protect them, and the family teachers and/or the Youth Quest as being all powerful.

7 5 Stages of Grief 1. Shock/Denial 2. Bargaining 3. Anger 4. Depression/Sadness 5. Understanding and Acceptance

8 5 Stages There are ways to help the children deal with their losses during each stage. Remember that the stages of grief are just a guide line. There is no normal progression or time line. Each child will work through loss and grief at his or her own speed in addition to going back and forth

9 Grieving and PTDS Complications There are complications of children going through the grieving process and being affected with post-traumatic stress at the same time. PTSD is a topic that all Family Teachers need to better understand. Most clients we serve suffer from it to some extent.

10 In Conclusion Hopefully you’ve seen some new ways to look at the youth’s reactions and behaviors that are related to loss, separation, and grief, Be patient. This process is long and difficult. Each client is adjusting to a new and scary world where adults do not seem trustworthy and there are no clear answers as to what will happen to his or her family in the future. Remember that each youth is experiencing losses and be there to teach him how to live with grief.

11 T-E-A-R T = To accept the reality of their losses E = Experience the pain of their losses A = Adjust to the new environment without the lost person/comfort zones R = Reinvest themselves into their new realities

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