Best Parenting Apps This 2020

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From apps that chart fetal development during pregnancy to those that track a newborn’s feeding and sleeping schedules, parents can follow and document virtually every aspect of their young one’s growth effortlessly — all on their smart phone or other devices. — Susan Newman Ph.D.

Technology is improving our lives in terms of organizing everything. It also includes the way you, as a parent, handle your whole family, especially your children.

Today, countless parenting applications can guide you in every element and aspect of being a parent. Here are some of the best parenting apps you can download on your devices this 2020.

Baby Connect

Being a parent of a baby is never easy. There are a lot of things running in your mind. These include when to feed them, what their sleeping schedule is, when their next doctor’s appointment is, and whose turn it is to take care of the baby.

With Baby Connect, it is now more convenient for you to organize both short-term and long-term tasks for your child. What’s good about this program is its simple and intuitive user interface.

Cozi

Cozi is suitable for co-parenting needs. Different features make it stand out. For one, it allows both parents to share their calendars and photos and create to-do lists together. This strategy is a way for them to manage both their home and work tasks better.

What’s unique about Cozi is that it allows the users to store and share the recipes of their favorite meals. It is a handy tool for whoever is in charge of cooking in the household for a day.

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Baby Sleep Sounds

Are you tired of carrying your baby and lulling them to sleep while having to sing to them at the same time? Well, you don’t have to worry anymore. Baby Sleep Sounds are one of the most unique and useful apps out there. It offers a variety of soothing sleep sounds and lullabies that you can play while making your baby sleep.

Aside from this, it also has a timer and a night light feature that you can set if you’re not beside your child.

Even when stress hormones are revving us up, calming takes place when another person is empathic, attuned, and non-judgmental. Unconsciously received signals slow our heart rate and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. — Tom Bunn L.C.S.W.

Parenthood

The Parenthood app is perfect no matter how old your child is. It has unique features that no other app offers, such as tracking developmental milestones, perusing expert tips for the whole family, and accessing educational resources. Its dashboard also allows you to connect with other user parents from whom you can ask advice.

Parenting Apart

Parenting Apart is an app created by a well-known divorce coach and parent educator, Christina McGhee. The program aims to focus on emotional issues for children and parents instead of tackling parenting practicalities.

Source: divorceandchildren.com

Some of its most significant features include adjustment issues, emotional phases, challenges in parenting apart, and other tips and inspiring stories from the creator. Consider this as a digital robot where you can get professional advice at any time.

Getting up, dressed, or going to bed are some of the everyday routines covered. An animated hourglass offers upbeat instructions to the children followed by victory music when they beat the timer. — Robert A. Lavine Ph.D.

ChoreMonster

ChoreMonster is an app that makes chores more fun and more engaging. Its goal is to monitor the chores of the kids and reward them for completing both their daily and weekly assigned tasks.

The tracking process lets the kids earn points per chore completed. They can use the points they accumulate to claim prizes such as an hour of TV screen time, a pint of ice cream, or extra video game time.

Whether you’re a parent-to-be or a parent of toddlers and teens, these parenting apps will be your best companion in this crazy and challenging ride. So, what are you waiting for? Download now!

Counseling Destitute Children

Homeless children

It’s not overkilling to assume that children with no homes have been through more hardships than most adults. Whereas some homeless children are victims of various types of abuse that tremendously impact their mental health, other children’s parents particularly those who have low income need to look for a job or serve time in prison. It may seem as if all of their problems get resolved as soon as children go into the foster care system and get three meals a day, but the reality is that family homelessness is not that easy. It is not easy at all having to experience domestic violence, no access to education, and no safe place to reside.

Addressing Issues Of Homeless Kids

 

homeless children

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Homeless Children

Even in recent years, the foster system surely has no qualms about taking homeless children at any time. Despite that, the succession of events that led to the status of these homeless children being on the streets and without permanent housing, there was still – for lack of a better word – appropriate for kid age. A kid with no home – also called child homelessness – may end up in life having trauma, depression, increased levels of aggression, inability to trust others, or all of the above.

…the county of Orange receives over 2000 calls a month for suspected child abuse. At any given time there are approximately 2,700 children who are in out-of-home care. — Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W.

  • Kids Lose Homes Because Of Domestic Violence – The wrongdoings that people can commit against homeless children, including adults and young people, are so diverse. The most obvious ones include sexual abuse, substance abuse, torture, human trafficking, physical abuse, domestic violence, etc. But then again, it is also brutal to let children see their father beat up their mother or become an accessory to a crime. It is so hurtful to accept that children are deprived of a shelter that every child should have. How many children go through child homelessness every year? Do people even recognize their presence in their own communities? Do we as citizens try to make a difference in their lives?

Homeless families suffer a lot

The children who have had such experiences of youth homelessness in the past may wind up as criminals themselves because of being on the streets. Or these children may have zero self-confidence all their lives and negative mental health and eventually go down with depression if a therapist doesn’t get through to them immediately. These minors suffer a lot of mental, emotional, physical, and social violence just because it is all rooted in not having a loving home. They go through their lives without any financial or emotional support involved. They will definitely need to be provided with therapeutic interventions for their healing. Perhaps funding for transitional housing or emergency shelters should be provided for by the legislation bodies in the government.

 

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  • The Effects Of Poverty In  Low Income or Poor Households – Many of the children and young people who need fostering also come from homeless families that can’t provide even their fundamental needs. Rather than having three meals a day, for instance, these children can only get one. These children do not have the privilege of having support services, might end up being on the streets, and may not go to school regularly because children prefer to do odd jobs to earn money than hone their intellect. Other minors who are going through family homelessness and may need mental health care cannot see a psychiatrist too as their parents have low income or have no medical insurance for support services to cover the fees.

Regardless of the scenarios, these minors can relate to, offering youth counseling may enable them to use poverty as a motivation to change their fate.

Nearly one in three of these children and young people have significant psychiatric problems and other mental health issues during their time in foster care—especially those related to trauma and neglect that brought them into the system (McMillen JC et al, J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2005;44(1):88– 95). — Glen R. Elliott, MD, PhD

  • Parents Abandoning Their Children- An underlying reason why there are children who end up experiencing youth homelessness is that their parents abandoned them for good – no one to love them, no guidance, no shelter, no safe place, nothing at all. Children weren’t physically hurt, yet these young people got left on the street, with a non-caring guardian, or at home by themselves. They carry with them the trauma of not having security for most of their lives. They struggle to survive with their mental health at risk.

Counseling is necessary at this point as well since these minors may assume that they’re not meant to feel cared for and loved. Worse, children may desert their future families too, thinking that it’s normal.

  • Experiencing Bullying and Harassment – In not-so-rare cases, the children who are already in the system may experience harassment whenever they go to school. Some children tend to pick on their ill-fated classmates, especially once they find out that they are under foster care.

Although it is hard to predict if and when it will happen, speaking with a child counselor or having access to mental health and supportive services about this mixed form of abuse can keep the risk of further bullying at a lower level. This also helps their transition period become easier growing up. Again, providing them with transitional housing and getting support in terms of education would be a big help, regardless of the age group they are in.

The best foster and adoptive parents know that helping a child involves more than just “wanting to”—it involves sticking in there when times get rough. — Carmen Sample, MSW, LSW, CAC I

Homeless Children

In Summary About The Destitute Kids

In the end, youth counseling sessions help homeless children overcome their past so that they can dream of a bright future. Homeless children may not believe that the latter is possible if hatred, guilt, resentment, and violence still fill their hearts and minds. If they are hesitant to go to therapy, they can always find sites on the web that provide online services.

With counseling, a child with no home will be given a chance to have a symbolic place of love, care, kindness, and understanding. These will guide them to have a home in their heart and will help them build their dreams – and probably a physical home too.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where do most homeless children live?
  2. Why a street child has no childhood?
  3. Are there homeless children in the USA?
  4. What is a homeless child called?
  5. What are the street children’s problems?
  6. What is life like for a street child?
  7. What are the causes of child homelessness?
  8. Why we should help street children?
  9. How can we help a street child?
  10. How many kids are homeless?

 

 

Bringing People Together

 

 

Your Transient Community

 

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We often pass the homeless and transients on the street or in the parks in our communities and make assumptions about how they ended up there. The number of people affected by homelessness is expected to more than double by 2041.

Homelessness is often the result of untreated mental illness. About 7.7 American adults experience severe mental illness and many never receive proper treatment. — Támara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP, LPC

There are a number of reasons that someone can end up homeless and as a member of that community, it is not your job to fix them or their problems but there are a number of things that you can do to bring people in the community together to offer support to those that need it.

 

It Is Their Story to Tell

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Assuming the worst is not uncommon when it comes to people making assumptions about the homeless and transient communities. However, the truth is, everyone has a story and it is not always as bad as one tends to assume.

Women showed a slightly higher risk than men (7.6 percent vs. 5.4 percent), and the risk of homelessness also seemed strongly linked to age. — Romeo Vitelli Ph.D.

Happy Ending For The Homeless Man That Lost His Memory

 

“Charles Ray lost contact with his family in Fayetteville about 10 years ago. During that time, he suffered a stroke that affected his memory, making it impossible for him to recall their exact whereabouts. And eventually, he ended up homeless on the streets of Raleigh. It was that which landed him at the Oak City Outreach Center downtown. Shameeka Newton is a student intern with Catholic Charities studying to be a social worker. She came to know Charles while working at the center and learned his backstory.

 

“It started with one question. I said, ‘what does happy look like to you?’ and he said, basically he wants to see his family. He hasn’t seen his family in 10 years and he knows they’re worried about him,” she recalled.

 

Charles couldn’t remember much about their exact whereabouts, but he did give Shameeka his brother’s name, Eugene, from Fayetteville, so she used that to start searching online.” Read More Here

 

The fact that Shameeka took the time to speak to Charles is what made it possible to reunite him with his family. There is so much more the aiding the homeless than parting with a few dollars.

 

The Benefits of Talk Therapy

 

Taking the time to talk with an individual who is experiencing homelessness is one of the most rewarding gifts of respect and dignity that you can offer them. Doing something to help someone that is homeless is not always about handing over a few dollars. There are a number of ways to bring communities together and form action groups that can work together to tackle the support needed for homelessness in their communities. Share a meal or simply a beverage with someone, taking time out of your life to share that with someone who least expects it is one of the most rewarding acts of kindness you can share with another human being.

For most of us, walking by a homeless person who is curled up on a tattered blanket, asking for spare change seems like a common enough occurrence. Our reactions may vary, with some choosing to avoid eye contact (because it’s just plain easier), while others dig some change out of their pockets or purses. But most of us have no idea how these people turned out like this at all. — Robert T Muller Ph.D.

How Can I Help?

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  • Give them a meal, buy the food or arrange with a local diner where you can pay in advance to give them a meal when they come around
  • RESPECT always, treat them with respect and dignity. It is not your job to fix them but you can encourage them by showing them they deserve better
  • Do not make assumptions, the people you are meeting can be there due to a number of reasons, the possibilities are endless.
  • Support ministries and shelters. This does not have to only mean monetary support, you can volunteer your time and skills
  • When possible, donate clothing, blankets and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste, etc. It is best that these donations be made to active support groups in the communities.

How Fostering Makes A Difference To Your Married Life

According to Sharon Landis, MSW, with the County of Orange, California, the objective in foster care and adoptions is to strengthen families. However, she adds, “our primary goal is for family reunification, so we work to strengthen parents so that they can parent their children safely.” — Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W.

 The thought of becoming a foster parent right after tying the knot is very noble. There may be dozens or hundreds of homeless children who need a new home in every foster care facility across the country. If you can temporarily adopt one or two of them at a time, you are set to create a constructive experience for these kids.

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The question is, will it make a big difference to your marriage as well?

See the likely effects of fostering to your married life below.

It Teaches You How To Budget Your Savings

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Bringing a foster kid to your home means that you are willing to look after the child as if he or she is your own. You will feed and clothe them; you will send them to school without waiting for financial support from the government.

To well-off couples, the additional expenses won’t be a concern. For the regular working folks, however, it enables you to learn how to budget your money so that you can provide your foster child’s needs.

It Outlines Your Commonalities And Differences

The presence of a kid in the household allows the husband and wife to show facets of yourselves that never came up when you were still basically childless. Through fostering, you will understand if your views on parenting are the same. In case there are discrepancies, those will be obvious too.

The beauty of outlining such things is that you can immediately point out your lesser known commonalities and differences. In this manner, you’ll be able to retain the former and work out the latter for the benefit of your marriage and the family you may want to build.

The pros of kinship are that the caregiver is related to the child, and they probably feel a sense of family obligation to care for the child. They are probably known to that child, so moving to that household may not be a traumatic experience. — Jill Duerr Berrick, PhD

It Deepens Your Bond As A Married Couple

Fulfilling your role as foster parents may be challenging, especially if you take in a child who has a lot of angst to blow off. With you on their line of sight, they may snap at you a few times and act rebelliously no matter how much affection you give them.

During such occasions, the only rock you can hold on to is your spouse. While you may always return the kid to the system, you need your husband or wife beside you at all times to make fostering a success.

It Readies You For A Life With Kids

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Living under the same roof as a foster child gives you an idea of what it will be like once you have kids. There will be moments in which their happiness becomes more important than yours. You may get upset or feel joyful with their words too, depending on their mood.

The thing is, you won’t realize what all those instances feel like if it’s only you and your significant other in the house. You may not even consider bearing kids until they came to your life and let you take care of them. Thus, it’s a plus for newlyweds to register for foster care immediately.

Renowned psychiatrist and researcher Daniel Siegel (1999) noted, “The care that adults provide nurtures the development of essential mental tools for survival. These attachment experiences enable children to thrive and achieve a highly flexible and adaptive capacity for balancing their emotions, thinking, and empathic connections with others”. — Blake Griffin Edwards, MSMFT, LMFT

The changes brought by fostering, of course, are not always positive. You will practically go through the ups and downs that regular parents experience when raising children. There may be times as well when the foster kid may act up, and you won’t know at first how to handle it. But the more you stay in the system, the more you understand the youngsters and yourselves. Isn’t that a vital ingredient for a healthy marriage?

Find out if you are eligible for fostering today.

A Psychologist’s Advice: Discipline Your Child

The role of every parent is not an easy one because it always carries with it several problems and challenges. No matter how great you are as a parent, there will always come a time when you will feel lost about what you are going through. On top of all the things that you must do, other people expect you to be perfect at being a parent. Because of this, you may feel a lot of anxiety and stress. Do not fret for there are tons of options that you can do to beat all those negative emotions. In this article, we are going to share the smart ways on how to make it happen through the advice we received from an excellent psychologist.

Discipline is a touchy topic for many, especially because it requires so much from parents: persistence, tolerance (in the face of loud, out-of-control feelings), stepping into the unknown (a given), and faith (that discipline will work!). — Ben Ringler, MFT

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Before we go into the details, we want to remind every parent like you that you play a crucial or vital role in the upbringing of your children. You must learn how to take responsibility in fulfilling all your duties because one wrong move can alienate your kids from you or even make them grow as rebels in society. You must learn how to give the right amount of love and understanding to your kids so that they can also cultivate a lifestyle that is full of happiness and greatness.

 

The primary focus of today’s article is concerning the significance of helping your child become a responsible member of the community. Make sure that you see to it that your children are highly disciplined at all times. Failure to do any of these acts can lead to severe problems in your part. Check the list below to find the methods on how to discipline a child:

 

Keep Your Cool

 

The initial step that you must do is to learn how to control yourself when it comes to dealing with your child. Take note that he is still young, which means that he does not know a lot of things in this world. You cannot expect him to function well if he can see that you can get out of control when you are mad. The best and ideal thing to do is to compose yourself at all times, especially during the moments when your little one seems to test your patience. Remind yourself that the more you calm yourself, the easier it would be for him also to calm himself.

 

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 Consider the origins of the word “discipline.” It comes from the word “disciple,” which, of course, is a person who receives instruction from another person. Parents who have what I call a “punishment mentality” don’t teach their children to make positive changes in their behavior. — Jeffrey Bernstein Ph.D.

Use Positive Reinforcement

 

Another thing or idea that you may want to consider is to use the psychology of positive reinforcement wherein you will reward your child whenever he does something good. Make sure that the ultimate reward is commensurate with the good deed that he has done. Do not give something that can be overwhelming as it can send a negative signal to him. He will end up confused to the point that he will be clueless on what to do next. If you still feel that he has not improved through this method, it is best to change your strategies every now and then. Keep in mind that several experts have already concluded that this method works as long as you know how to apply it systematically.

 

Withdraw Privileges At Home

 

Whenever your child does something terrible, be sure that he also gets punished for it. Of course, you must not punish him physically or emotionally as it can affect your child’s mental health or state. What you must do is to slowly take away some of his rights and privileges so that you can teach him a lesson. For example, you can restrict the usage of gadgets at home whenever he talks back at you or whenever he does something outrageous to other people. Through this simple act, he will be reminded that what he did was wrong. Since something special was taken from him as a punishment, there is a good chance that he refrain himself from making the same mistakes.

 

Communicate With Your Kid

 

One of the things that many parents fail to do is to establish a real and positive communication line among their kids. Most adults assume that they already know their children, which is why they no longer feel the need to check up on the latter. If you think similarly, then there is something wrong with you. At this point, it is imperative to point out the fact that communication between parents and kids must be effective at all times. If you noticed something good about your child, make sure to let him know about it. Conversely, if you discovered something negative, let him know why it was erroneous.

 

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People don’t just stumble upon good parenting. Parenting well, like any other skill in life, is something we learn not just through what we were taught when we were growing up, but by expanding our strengths and skills when we become parents ourselves. — Ben Martin, Psy.D.

Be a responsible parent starting today!

 

Blessed With A Heart That Cares

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What does it mean to care? Is fostering a child a wise decision? Some people are blessed with a good heart that they embrace other people in their lives, but what comes into their mind when opting to foster a child? We may think it is simple. However, for some, they feel more than just care. They feel cursed for having to feel the pain and suffering of children who have to go through not having a family. Yes, some people do more than just care. They have the heart that bleeds for others, and they cope with this feeling by opting to help, and deciding to foster a child is one of the ways.

One of the reasons that foster homes are not always healthy environments for their wards might be that foster parents have a financial as well as an altruistic motivation. — Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD

Things To Remember Before Opting To Foster Care:

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  • Fostering a child makes someone feel great. It is for a fact that helping is something we need to do to satisfy that sense of fulfillment inside us. There is a particular feeling of satisfaction when we know we can do good to others, and opting to foster care is something more than just giving temporary help. It is something that may create a difference in a child’s life.

Imagine if you didn’t have the emotional constitution to live with knowing that the little one you were attempting to adopt could, at any moment, be given back to his family of origin? And not feeling happy about that and feeling guilt over that. This was the downside, at least to some adoptive families. — Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W.

  • Opting to foster care has a risk. It exposes you to the feeling of being emotionally attached to a person you are not sure to have permanently. Although there is a process for this where you would be eligible for full custody of a child, it doesn’t ascertain anything. It would still make you undergo through a series of emotional and mental threat such as depression.

 

  • It is challenging to take care of a child whom you haven’t nurtured. He may not be able to follow through your lifestyle. His values may not be by your standards, and you must be ready for this. Most of us think that children are all adorable, but we may not anticipate that they could already be dealing with personal issues which are hard to address. We must prepare to be stronger and not to quit just because it didn’t turn out to be a journey to wonderland.

Complex trauma often results in chronic anxiety—internalized as depression, externalized as defiance, or both. Children may, consequently, withdraw or explode as they navigate difficult emotional territory, and they need safe relationships where they can test the bounds of trust as they navigate a path forward through grief, anger, and healing. — Blake Griffin Edwards LMFT

  • Some people opt to foster care because they need it emotionally. If you have the same reasons, you must understand that the desire to fulfill the child’s emotional needs outweighs yours. Remember that the goal of providing a foster home is to make a child feel loved and that he has a family who wants to see him happy. It is not about what he can do for you but what you can provide him in all aspects – physical, emotional, and mental.

 

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Foster care may be simple, but it goes beyond the provision of shelter, food, and other physical needs. It requires you to have the heart to desire nothing but the betterment of the child. Remember that the moment he would have with you is something that will be a part of him forever. It is way beyond that brief time he might spend with you as it might help him form his perspective. He might live a life based on what he felt when he was with you.

 

Treating Foster Children Experiencing PTSD

We went to Russia to adopt because parental rights were terminated, because there were no reunification programs for the broken families to bring kids back together with parents who had been unable to or neglected to care for them, like at home in California. At least those programs were not in effect once the child was placed on the registry. — Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W.

When mentioning Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the word ‘soldier.’ For many, veterans and soldiers are the most associated individuals in this disorder. Surprisingly, however, PTSD also affects a considerable number of children, especially those under foster care. Before dwelling into detail how foster children face this condition, let us first explore what PTSD is.

 

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What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The post-traumatic disorder is a mental health disorder which is triggered by an alarming and grim event which was either witnessed or experienced by an individual. Some of the prevalent symptoms of PTSD include the following:

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  • Severe anxiety or physical reactions when triggered by something which reminds you of the alarming event;
  • Uncontrollable thoughts and distressing memories regarding the traumatic happening;
  • Unwanted nightmares and event flashbacks;
  • Sweaty palms and fast heartbeats; and
  • Trouble sleeping and concentrating.

Acts of aggression may stem from undeveloped empathy and impulse control that reflect an attempt to understand how others react when experiencing pain or attempts to make sense out of harm that was done to them. — Blake Griffin Edwards LMFT

Most people who undergo traumatic situations often find themselves having difficulty in coping and adjusting to their present world. PTSD differs from person to person. Some experience this for only a few months but others’ PTSD last for years. This personal complication hampers their ability to accomplish their simple day-to-day activities.

 

Foster Care And PTSD

According to studies, 1 out of 4 of children who stay in foster care result in PTSD at some point during the first 12 months from joining the foster system. It is often associated with negative experiences, such as abuse and neglect, which the children faced before entering the facility. Their condition even intensifies because of the lack of parental support in the course of the traumatic event.

 

60 percent of foster kids exposed to any violence result in PTSD. The most common symptoms these children experience from this unfortunate event are obsessive thoughts and frequent nightmares.

 

If a child’s PTSD is left untreated, there is a substantial possibility that this will escalate to a more serious mental health issue such as panic syndrome, social phobia, and depression.

Even without citations of foster home abuse, foster children are subjected to constant stressors, including being forced to move from home to home and constantly re-acclimate to a new environment and a new family dynamic, while lacking the stability of having their own family around consistently. — Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD

Treatments For Foster Children With PTSD

To avoid more severe complications, it is best to engage in treatments which will improve the mental wellbeing of these children. In fact, according to a famous trauma therapist Ann Dimarco, PTSD is the easiest childhood mental disorder to treat. Listed below are some of the most effective treatments for PTSD.

 

  1. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a type of approach which relies on the patient’s rhythmic eye movements, instead of engaging them on talk therapy. Targeting the rapid eye movements of the child will eventually lead to a dampened power for the traumatic events to pop into his thoughts.

  1. Play Therapy

Play therapy is an approach to assist the child cope with his emotional trauma and stress through playing. This method can serve as a safe space for the kid to freely express himself. Play sessions usually last for about 45 minutes per week for a maximum of one year.

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  1. Intensive Trauma Therapy (ITT)

This technique is a combination of art therapy, externalized dialogue, play therapy, psychotherapy, and guided imagery to solve the trauma problem of the child. What’s good about this approach is that it does not require the patient to relive the traumatic event. ITT only helps the kid to process the trauma carefully.

 

  1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT assists in recognizing their thought patterns and identify where the trauma comes in. Once it has been pointed, the therapist guides the child to change the said dysfunctional thoughts to a more positive outlook through a variety of skill-building techniques and problem-solving strategies.

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It is best for foster homes to cater to the needs of these children with PTSD. Engaging them in early treatments will be pivotal in these trying times and can result in better outcomes.

 

 

 

It Starts With Asking Questions

Support through Family Therapy

  

 Source: marriagecounselingnearme.org

Having three kids and fostering/raising some others years ago, there is an intuition required to navigate house rules and the individuals. One kid wilted if we corrected her, one rebelled and one being special needs, namely Autism, was another parenting manual altogether. —  

Seeking support and guidance for developing a nurturing environment for Foster Care families starts with a simple internet search. Typing “therapist near me” into any search engine will give you a number of results of active therapists in the area. However, choosing your therapist is not simply a case of taking the first name the internet search pops out.

The end goal of attending family therapy is to improve the dynamics and relationships of a family unit. Therapy is an important way of integrating the foster child into your already established family dynamics. Therefore finding a therapist that best suits your family unit is just as important as taking the step to attend therapy.

Education Is Key

Source: sjubioethicsinstitute.com

In 2013 (the most current data available), the total number of children and adolescents in foster care was just over 400,000, with 15% under age 2 and 25% between the ages of 14 through 17. — Glen R. Elliott, MD, PhD

Once you have taken the decision to seek out the support of family therapist you need to know and understand what form of therapy would best suit the dynamics of your family unit.  In order to find the right therapist, educating yourself is an important first step to knowing what you can expect from therapy and will also give you a greater deal of knowledge on what questions you should be asking your therapist before the family sessions start.

It is also important that the form of therapy you choose to follow is best suited for the child placed into your care. You have to take into consideration the child’s history, mental health and how best to integrate them into your already established family unit.

It Starts With Asking Questions

Source: nonprofitpr.org

When you seek out the services of a professional plumber or electrician, you ask questions. You want to know what they have to do, how long it would take and if it would provide the solution you desire. Seeking out the support of a therapist should be no different.

Historically, adoptions have been largely “closed,” with little to no communication among biological and adoptive parents. Times are changing, however, with “open” adoptions becoming more of the norm. — Rick Nauert PhD

Before starting therapy, you would need to be sure that what the treatment plan involves, or if it would meet the needs of your family unit. There are a few basic questions you should be asking a therapist but once you have determined what you hope to achieve through the therapy, you will have other questions relating to family dynamics, the needs and mental health of the child awarded to your care, or even the coping tools you can learn from the sessions. Here are a few examples of the basic questions you can start off with:

Ask about the Theoretical Orientation of the therapist. Not all therapists are the same when it comes to how they view the challenges you might be facing. You would need to know how they would approach a treatment plan. It is important that you understand, agree with and are comfortable with the therapy.

Ask about their experience. You would not hire a landscaper to repair plumbing so why would you hire a therapist that does not have experience in the therapy approach your family will need.

Ask about the therapy process. You need to know what to expect, how long it would take, what goals and objectives would be in place to measure the success of the therapy as it progresses. You also need to know what the end goal of the therapy might be or what coping tools you can expect to learn from the therapy.

Questions You Should Be Asking Your Care Worker

Source: thebalance.com

It is also important that you ask your Social Care Worker questions about the background history and information about the child placed in your care. In order to prepare your family and know what to expect, knowing as much as possible about the child beforehand is important. Most often children placed in Foster Care might have suffered some form of abuse or neglect, knowing this type of information is important to ensure you are prepared to address or avoid any fears or PTSD triggers the child might have.

You Do Not Have To Be Alone

“People often hear about postpartum blues when having a baby, but the emotional well-being of adoptive parents once the child is placed in the home is not really talked about,” said Karen J. Foli, an assistant professor of nursing and an adoptive mother. — Rick Nauert PhD

Creating Communities with Supportive Culture

Source: linkedin.com

I recently read a blog written by a foster parent about the challenges she and her family endured after deciding to foster children of a different culture. Her story had a happy ending, one where she found solace in an online community, however, it also got me wondering, how often does this occur? How are often are foster parents left feeling empty and alone? Her story, Adventures in Foster Parent Depression , goes on to share her struggles, the challenges she faced with depression but also how she found comfort and support through stranger chat and depression chat rooms.

After some recent research on forming support communities, there is one important thing I have learned throughout the entirety of the research project, that is that ‘you do not have to be alone’. There are other families, just like your own, why not come together and create supportive communities?

It Is Bigger Than You Could Imagine

 

A report issued by the Children’s Bureau in June 2016, shows the number of children entering the Foster Care Systems in the United States has risen from 397 605 in 2011 to over 400 000 in 2015. 45% of those children were in the care with of Foster Families. Close on 200 000 children were with non-relative families, while a further 30% were placed in the care of relatives. With those numbers, which without a doubt have continued to grow, it is safe to say, “You do not have to do this alone”.

Source: nomadicmatt.com

Being “allowed” to adopt is not the same as being recognized as equally valuable as heterosexual couples. — Abbie Goldberg Ph.D.

With the advancement of technology, bridging the gaps in communities across the globe has become a reality. With a few simple additions to your smartphones apps, you can chat in real time to someone halfway across the world. An article by The World Post has drawn attention to the fact that Foster Care is in an international issue.

  • According to STV, “Almost 63,000 children are living with more than 52,500 foster families across the UK”.
  • The executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada, Peter Dudding, estimates between 76,000 and 85,000 kids are in foster care in Canada.
  • Data from the South Africa Social Security Agency showed that close to half a million children were informal, court-ordered foster care.
  • In Australia, in 2012, there were 39, 621 children living in out-of-home care.
  • A decade ago, there were 568,000 children in the United States living in foster care.

So you see, your community is bigger than you could imagine.

 Lend Them Your Voice

Becoming a foster parent is not the only way that you can give these children a voice. There are a number of a project such as Voices for Children where individuals can volunteer as child advocates.

Source: pacer.org

It takes constant monitoring and presence — [being in] the present moment to determine the scale of discipline given the latest offense. ABC, as my Dad taught me — Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence — What started the behavior. —  

Share Your Mind

Families with experience in foster care, social workers, even therapists can volunteer and share their experience while offering support on online communities. Just being there is often all the support someone might need. Sharing your experience as a Foster Care Family with others is a great way to offer valued information and shared resources.

Give Up A Few Hours A Month

Volunteering is a great way to offer support to Foster Children and Families. Put together a community support club within your community and come together to support families with the little things that count. Help with babysitting, preparing for exams, putting together care parcels or simply just arrange a family day or date night. A time out is a great way for foster parents to re-energize.

You Do Not Have To Do This Alone

The fact is that you do not have to do this alone. There are communities and resources around the world that you can use to your benefit. There are ways for you to create communities and bring together resources that can benefit others. All it takes is a little time and imagination.

Support Through Shared Resources

Creating an Emotionally Supportive Space

Source: lycomingfostercare.org

There are a number of resources that Foster Parents can turn to for support. Seeking support and guidance extends beyond Case Workers and Therapists. More recently we have seen the increase in shared resources through communities and ‘Stranger Chat’.

Sometimes you just have questions, or need advice or perhaps just want to vent or bounce ideas and having access to the resources to do that is important to families. Often, especially when the child is approaching or is already a teenager, you are faced with emotions packed onto an already emotional individual. Not to mention the challenges that come with a child that has had to endure emotional prior to being placed in your care. Trying to integrate the child into emotionally supportive space will be challenging but not impossible and with the right support and having access to resources, you can achieve the objective.

New research finds that for children who have experienced early institutional care, a strong relationship with their adoptive parents aids brain development and improves a child’s long-term mental health. — Rick Nauert PhD

Everyone Has a Stake

 

“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people”.

Nelson Mandela

The care and emotional support it takes to raise children starts with parents or caregivers and extends to communities. Finding and sharing of support resources can be an invaluable gift to foster families and caregivers. Foster parents should look beyond the support they get from caregivers and therapists and seek out the wealth of resources right there in your own communities.

The experience, information, and support that can come from communities to help support foster families can take on many forms.

  • The first few weeks when new charges are placed with families can be a hectic, challenging time. You can consider dropping off a casserole, offer to come and help out to prepare dinner or simply assist with their grocery shopping.
  • Offer to assist with clothing or toys your own children have outgrown. Put together care packages, small inexpensive items put together by community members is great to start that bond between the child and communities.
  • Offer to assist with errands, babysitting or even helping with homework or carpooling for extramural activities.

Children in the foster care system are at risk for a number of both short- and long-term mental health issues. This is even more the case for kids who were maltreated before entering foster care. — John Smith Ph.D.

Source: fthmb.tqn.com

  • Offer emotional support, even when you have nothing to offer in terms of advice, just listening already offers the foster parents support.

Community members and even foster parents themselves can start community support groups with the goal of supporting families in the communities. This does not only have to be aimed at foster families but can extend to anyone in the community that needs support.

‘Stranger Chat’- Resources at the Tip of Your Fingers

Source: medelabreastfeedingblog.com.au

The internet has become one of the most invaluable resources for seeking information, advice, and support. The effect that the internet has had on our lives has been amazing and still continues to grow as it bridges gaps between communities across the globe.

‘Stranger Chat’ has become a popular source of information and support for foster parents and internet users across the globe. Seeking advice and support from forums, groups and communities give caregivers access to advice and information that holds no personal judgment and you will get the views and suggestions from a number of people which makes it easy to look at the problem or challenge from a number of different angles.

Primary support provides the bedrock of the parent/child relationship because it is emotionally sustaining, contributing much to the strength of attachment by which the child feels secured. It never loses importance no matter how old the child grows. — Carl E Pickhardt Ph.D.

One of the most important things about online chat communities is that there is no expectation, you are not forced to follow advice and suggestions and can take from the conversation or advice what you need. There are a number of established forums and communities for foster parents and caregivers, not only do you have to take from these communities but will find that your experiences and what you share can help others.