Is your Foster Child suffering with Hopelessness?
Fostering a child that is suffering with feelings of hopelessness is very difficult. The sad reality we face is that some foster children will have experienced unimaginable trauma and pain in their lives, leaving them with the feeling of hopelessness that can linger for a long time.
Sentiments like “why bother, nothing will change”, “nobody cares anyway”, “whats the point, nothing will work out anyway” are all shared by those plagued with hopelessness.
According to medical professionals, hopelessness is related to depression and can strike anyone regardless of age, race or socioeconomic standing. It’s not an uncommon emotion for many people, but it is usually fleeting. However, for some foster children, hopelessness is can become somewhat of a “black hole”.
As a foster parent, if you believe your foster child might be showing signs of depression or hopelessness, it’s vital that you contact a medical professional so that you can help them.
There are nine types of hopelessness that you can look out for in your foster child…
- Alienation – The belief that you are different, have been cut loose and are not worthy of love or support.
- Forsakenness – The belief that you have been abandoned at your time of greatest need. A foster teen could feel abandoned by his biological parents and left alone to the care of strangers.
- Uninspired – The belief that you cannot grow, create or transform. This often effects members of underprivileged minorities who lack opportunities for growth and positive role models.
- Powerlessness – The belief that you are powerless to change or impact anything for the better.
- Oppression – The belief that you are being put down as a person or as part of a group. For a foster child who may feel different than his peers because he doesn’t live at home with his parents, he could believe he is being put down behind his back.
- Limitedness – The belief that you are deficient and lacking in the skills, personality and intelligence to be successful in the world.
- Doom – The belief that your life is over and that death is imminent.
- Captivity – The belief that you cannot escape an abusive relationship.
- Helplessness – The belief that you can no longer safely live in the world because of trauma you previously have experienced.
Hopelessness can be overcome by accessing the right kind of hope-sustaining relationship – which is where the relationship with your foster child comes in. As a foster parent, it’s important that you are aware of the symptoms of hopelessness which include:
- extreme fatigue,
If you believe your foster child may be exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, it’s important that you involve a medical professional.
As a foster parent, you can help with their recovery through understanding and encouragement. You can help them feel needed and important by giving them control of something – a task as simple and choosing dinner for the week or give him the opportunity to feel wanted, appreciated, and in control of their own destiny. It’s important to also let your birth children know that they should come to you if your foster child confides in them that they are feeling hopeless. It takes a family to keep a family safe, and you should make sure all the children in your home understand they play a part that.
Unfortunately, there is no sweeping cure for hopelessness. Each situation is different and requires an understanding of the issues at play to help your foster child.