As thousands of children look forward to celebrating Father’s Day, for foster children it can be a difficult and isolating time. Often it can serve as a reminder that they don’t have their biological father there to celebrate with, leading to potential emotional issues. So how can you help your foster child during this difficult period? Below you’ll discover some of the best ways to help your foster child deal with the feelings they may be presented with in the run up to, and on the actual day.
Understanding the issues that can arise
Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, can be extremely challenging for both a foster child and a foster parent. It’s tough, especially for younger children, to feel like the odd one out when their friends are all excited to be spending the day with their fathers. They may even experience emotions they don’t understand. So what do you need to be aware of?
Most commonly, the issues that can arise in a foster child on important days like this include:
Anger is a common emotion that often presents itself due to confusion and frustration. It’s especially hard for younger children to express how they feel, so anger is often an automatic response to a situation they can’t control, such as not having their biological father present on Father’s Day.
They may also feel isolated if they are made to feel like the odd one out in a group of friends. If you have your own children, the foster child may also feel left out because they are the only person in the household not related to the man of the house. They may deal with this by shutting themselves away and not wanting to take part in family events.
It’s important to remember that these emotions aren’t something your foster child can control. So what can you do to help make Father’s Day easier?
Communication is key
The most important thing you can do is give the child a chance to talk about how they feel. Ask questions and encourage them to open up. Behavioural issues around Father’s Day, and indeed any special occasion, are often due to emotions being bottled up. Explain to them that you understand how difficult it can be to not have their father around, but that they do have somebody who loves them very much.
You can also have your own celebration. Many foster kids are happy that they have at least someone there who cares for them. Traditionally it may a day to celebrate biological father’s, but explain that many children don’t have their natural father around. Instead, have a “Foster Day” – a celebration of the relationship between you and your foster child. If they have something to celebrate it will eliminate a lot of the negative emotions that come from days such as Father’s Day.
Overall it can be tough knowing how to approach the subject and dealing with the added emotions your foster child may be dealing with around this time. However, good communication and turning the day into a unique celebration can really help towards making a child feel special and loved.