- Fritzie Saintoiry
Building Healthy Relationships with Foster Children!
This week, millions of kids across the nation will arrive at school on Valentine’s Day with cards, sweets or other goodies packed lovingly by their parents to share with their class. Valentine’s Day is a day to express closeness and to reflect on the value of your loved ones. Yet as sweet as this holiday is, most foster children are set back significantly in terms of relationships with their family, their peers, and any other people in their lives; feeling distanced and disconnected, the whole concept of a “valentine” is foreign – or even painful.
Forming healthy attachments is crucial in childhood – but this becomes extremely difficult for children who enter the foster care system. Constantly changing schools, homes, friends, and authority figures can leave children feeling disconnected, alone, and without guidance.
When children form unhealthy attachments in childhood, they are at greater risk of developing psychological and behavioral problems later in life. At Genesis Hopeful Haven, we focus on building social capital for our youth by surrounding them with positive people who can demonstrate love, compassion and other valuable traits found in healthy relationships.
Children and adolescents in foster care need long-term, supportive, and nurturing connections. The reality is that many foster youth lack these connections, and the longer they spend in care, the harder it is for them to learn to build a healthy bond.
You may find that foster children have difficulty trusting. They need to be surrounded by people who are consistent, emotionally available, and non-judgmental. Children in foster care must experience healthy family relationships to re-frame their concept of what a good parent looks like.
Many foster children have been conditioned to feel like they are just one of many children in need of a home and a family. To start unraveling that feeling of insignificance, they need to be shown real love.
Adverse childhood experiences, especially early in life, can have long-term implications for children as they learn to develop relationships and healthy coping skills. As a Friend of Genesis, you have the opportunity to serve as a positive role model, offering empathy, compassion, and concern to a child struggling with the complexities of a life in transition. Modeling healthy relationships, including positive communication and conflict management, can help these kids establish a solid foundation for strengthening resiliency and developing proper relationship skills that will serve them into adulthood.
Last month, we discussed making Genesis Hopeful Haven part of your New Year’s Resolutions. And it’s not too late to join us in this great venture! This Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to dedicate your heart to a foster child in need of your love. Let’s build healthy relationships with the foster youth within our reach and help them find their new beginnings.
It’s a sad truth that children of former foster kids end up in foster care as well, continuing the vicious cycle because they never learned how to love. It’s our job to show them how to break the cycle! And this is why we hold monthly engagement events – they’re a great opportunity to hang out with our youth and show them what positive relationships look like.
Let’s commit to these children who so desperately want to love and be loved. You have so much you can offer just by being available! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join us in our journey as we foster new beginnings.