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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Focus on Fostering: Hidden Holiday Traps

As the Christmas holiday gets closer and closer, don't forget to look out for hidden holiday traps for kids in care.  Remember that we often do not know what the children have experienced before coming to us.  Be mindful of mixed messages we send.  "Don't go with strangers"  but "Go, sit on Santa's lap and smile" are just one example of ways that we can certainly confuse children, and for some can terrify them.

At Christmas there are often expectations of casual kisses among friends, gifts from people who are our friends, but more like strangers to the kids. There are relatives they may never have met, and who may have little understanding of the emotional needs and issues of children in care.  These generally are children who have not experienced the public image of Christmas, the family gathered round a tree loaded with presents, happily playing with toys and games, while lovely music fills the air and good will abounds.   Try to prepare children new to the family before the fact.  Fill them in on what to expect at the caroling party or the church holiday fair, the neighborhood gathering, or even just the traditions and decorations and habits of your family.  Remember, surprises are always a risk. Prepare ye....

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