To Give Our Best to Our Children, Resource Parents Need Support from Each Other

by Bob DeMarco •

When children have experienced trauma, we sometimes need to parent them differently. This can make all the difference for our kids, but it can also lead us to isolate ourselves from those who can support us. Left unchecked, this can lead to ineffective parenting and a generally unhappy home.

Really, social interaction is a lifeline for resource parents. Spending time with others who have also given of themselves through fostering and adoption can be a significant source of rejuvenation and fuel in your parenting “gas tank.”

Parenting a traumatized child is akin to running a marathon. We might be able to go the distance alone, but our chances of finishing well dramatically increase when there are people handing us water along the way and we are invigorated by the energy that comes from those cheering us on. Who knows? If we run with friends, it might even be fun . . . .

Friends Who “Get It” Matter

Last spring was pure chaos in our home. For some unknown reason, two of our kids lost their sense of safety and so they began to act out in an effort to gain control. They ran away, found and used matches, stole and hid kitchen knives, had tantrums, and hid from us.

We had the police visiting us, we had hospitalizations, and we missed work due to school suspensions and meetings. My nerves were frayed, my fuse was short, my blood pressure was high, and I wasn’t sleeping well.

During that time we were hanging onto God, our friends, and each other for dear life.
Having close friends who “get it” provided a much needed outlet to express our anger, frustrations, secret thoughts, fears, and plans. And, since our trauma-informed friends were not as close to our situation as we were, they brought an informed and more objective viewpoint as we struggled for calmer waters at home.

The storm eventually subsided for us, but now our friends are in their own storm, and we are able to support them as they struggle to stay afloat.

Excerpted from “Together in the Trenches,” which appeared in Fostering Perspectives v. 20, n. 2 (May 2016)