Celebrating Holidays with your Foster Children
Christmas and Hanukkah can be a joyous time for most, but for many youth in foster care the holiday season can also bring added stress and anxiety.
Dr. John DeGarmo, a foster parent as well as a professional in the field, talks about his experiences fostering youth over the holidays in Foster Focus Magazine. He writes,
“When they wake up Christmas morning, and are surrounded by people who just may be strangers to them, strangers who are laughing and having fun, it can be a very difficult time for them, indeed. To be sure, it is a day that is a stark reminder to these children that they are not with their own family. It is during the holidays when families are supposed to be together, yet these children in care are not. They are not with their families, and they may not know when they will see them next.”
Dr. DeGarmo gives tips to foster parents on how to help youth through these difficulties. He reminds families that it is expected that some youth will regress during the holidays and revert back to old behaviors or attitudes. Dr. DeGarmo believes that allowing youth their own space to grieve is of utmost importance.
He also recommends that families prepare the foster youth for the holiday by talking about their family’s traditions and asking youth what their own traditions might be. Adding a child’s traditions shows the youth that you care about them and respect their birth family.
To see more of Dr. DeGarmo’s suggestions click here.