Myths About Adopting Teenagers in Foster Care

Creating a supportive environment for children can help them handle the stresses of  growing up and provide tools for maintaining mental health. 

The benefits of a loving and supportive family are clearly established. Yet, misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding the adoption of older children and teenagers in foster care mean that they often face more challenges during the adoption process, compared to younger children. Ensuring that these false impressions are addressed is essential to ensuring that barriers to adoption, especially of older children and teenagers, are reduced. Here are five common misconceptions about adopting older children.

Adoption is Too Expensive

Adoption from foster care tends to be less expensive than adopting via a private agency. Although it is state-dependent, the small costs involved are often reimbursable and support is also available to help ease the financial burden involved with adoption. In cases where children are over five (including teenagers), a child from a minority background, or from a sibling group is adopted, the adoptive family may also qualify for additional financial support.

Adopt US Kids has much information for each state.

Teenagers Don't Want to Be Adopted

When a child enters the foster care system, it is always intended to be a temporary measure. For many children, the goal is to be reunited with their biological families. However, for about 25 percent of all children in the foster care system, reunification is ruled out as an option. Their aim then becomes finding a home through adoption.

For some older children and teenagers, their past experiences can make them distrusting of adults. However, regardless of their age, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be adopted. Ultimately, all children (including teenagers), want a loving, stable family and a permanent home they can call their own.

Twenty-three thousand teenagers leave foster care at 18 without ever finding a permanent family, according to Good Housekeeping.

Teenagers Won't Form Attachments

Teenagers may find it initially harder to create attachments, often as a result of their previous experiences either whilst in foster care, or those which led to them being placed in foster care in the first place. 

Every child wants to form attachments, irrespective of their age. It may be more challenging with an older child, but it is amazing what a consistent, safe and loving environment can provide for a child. It may take time and support, but even teenagers will be able to form positive attachments to their new family.

Child Welfare says that many areas of the brain, like the parts responsible for empathy, are developing rapidly during adolescence. 

Adopting Teens is Less Rewarding

Some people mistakenly think that by adopting an older child or teenagers, that they will be unable to create a rewarding and long-lasting bond. However, the bond between a parent and child doesn’t cease to exist when a child turns 18 or begins to live alone. In fact, teenagers and older children benefit greatly from having a loving and supportive family. 

The bond between parent and child, and the comfort and care a family provides, lasts a lifetime.  Supporting a teenager as they navigate through the transitions from adolescence into adulthood can be extremely rewarding. Your experience and support will help them to overcome the challenges they face as they become young adults. By providing a teenager with a stable home, you will be giving them the foundations they need to become successful adults and build a lasting connection with that child.

Again, according to Good Housekeeping, only 2 percent of the children who leave foster care without a permanent family will go on to attain college education, so when you provide a teenager with this stability, it is very valuable.

Teens Have Behavioral and Mental Health Problems

Children who have been placed into the foster care system are usually there, regardless of their age, due to the actions of their biological parents or legal guardians. Most often this is due to abuse or neglect. This does mean that for most children, they will suffer from some form of trauma -  separation from the birth family alone is trauma, after all. 70.4 percent of this study’s sample had suffered trauma. Each child will have their own story and some may need professional intervention to help them to overcome their past experiences and successfully move on. Yet others may simply need consistency and support. Each child, however, is deserving of a loving home and family.


Author Bio

Beatrice specializes in a variety of topics and is a professional copywriter at Dissertation Help and Academicbrits.com. She is always keen and open to share her personal experience at Phdkingdom.com and offer advice and support to others. Beatrice enjoys working with beginner writers, helping them to develop their skills and supporting them to create content that sells.

Teenagers Won't Form Attachments

Teenagers may find it initially harder to create attachments, often as a result of their previous experiences either whilst in foster care, or those which led to them being placed in foster care in the first place. 

Every child wants to form attachments, irrespective of their age. It may be more challenging with an older child, but it is amazing what a consistent, safe and loving environment can provide for a child. It may take time and support, but even teenagers will be able to form positive attachments to their new family.

Child Welfare says that many areas of the brain, like the parts responsible for empathy, are developing rapidly during adolescence. 

Adopting Teens is Less Rewarding

Some people mistakenly think that by adopting an older child or teenagers, that they will be unable to create a rewarding and long-lasting bond. However, the bond between a parent and child doesn’t cease to exist when a child turns 18 or begins to live alone. In fact, teenagers and older children benefit greatly from having a loving and supportive family. 

The bond between parent and child, and the comfort and care a family provides, lasts a lifetime.  Supporting a teenager as they navigate through the transitions from adolescence into adulthood can be extremely rewarding. Your experience and support will help them to overcome the challenges they face as they become young adults. By providing a teenager with a stable home, you will be giving them the foundations they need to become successful adults and build a lasting connection with that child.

Again, according to Good Housekeeping, only 2 percent of the children who leave foster care without a permanent family will go on to attain college education, so when you provide a teenager with this stability, it is very valuable.

Conclusion

Parenting is not an easy job, whatever the age of the child you adopt might be. The reality is that no child should ever be considered too old to be adopted. Adopting a teenager or older child may not be suitable for every family. However, all young people require support and guidance. All children, regardless of their age, deserve a loving family and help as they transition into adulthood. Are you able to provide that supportive environment and be that loving parent?


Author Bio

Beatrice specializes in a variety of topics and is a professional copywriter at Dissertation Help and Academicbrits.com. She is always keen and open to share her personal experience at Phdkingdom.com and offer advice and support to others. Beatrice enjoys working with beginner writers, helping them to develop their skills and supporting them to create content that sells.

Tips for Easing Child Anxiety

Creating a supportive environment for children can help them handle the stresses of  growing up and provide tools for maintaining mental health. 

Is your child withdrawn and glum on most days? Have you noticed a drastic fall in their grades? Have they lost interest in activities that they loved in the past? Do they get increasingly cranky and aggressive? Are the mood swings hampering their everyday routine? There is a chance that your child is suffering from mental health issues. Anxiety and depression in kids are widespread these days. 

Children are often malleable, gullible, and innocent of the ways of the world. Peers, teachers, and families are some significant influences in a kid’s life. It is, therefore, imperative for parents to create a healthy and holistic environment for their children. You will want to protect your young one from all the pain and suffering of the world, but that is not how they would grow up to be mature members of society. Develop a transparent and trusting bond with your kids. Here are some tips to ease anxiety in children:

Create a Safe Space 

Children instinctively learn to imitate their parents and adopt their mannerisms. Young ones are especially impressionable. They are more likely to develop toxic behavior patterns and perceptions based on what they see at home. The relationship between the parents, the lifestyle choices you have- children observe everything. 

Some children in foster care have also experienced abuse - both physical and mental- from their peers and elders. Create a safe space for your kid, teach them the right words to express their emotions. They should feel comfortable to talk about their troubles with you. 

Encourage Them to Maintain a Journal

Sometimes, kids are not comfortable talking about their troubles. It might be something as simple as getting a bad grade, but children often find it easier to express their emotions through other mediums. If your child is unwilling to discuss their issues with you, then encourage them to write it out. Maintaining a journal or diary is a very intimate process. It helps them catalog their day, keep a check on their thoughts, and record their reactions to things in a systematic way. Journals are also spaces where one can be truthful.

Having an outlet for emotions is very important. Kids, in particular, must be taught the value of letting their feelings out. Suppressing them would only add on to the trauma and manifest itself in unhealthy ways. Motivate your child to paint, dance, write poetry, play an instrument, sing- art is the ultimate healer of the heart.  

Talk it Out

Often, a good conversation is all it takes for your child to open up about their troubles. It can be anything from bad grades to bullying- the life of a child is not all rainbows and sunshine. Believe in your child, validate and treat their concerns with the utmost seriousness. It takes real effort to build that sense of trust with your child. 

Diet and Exercise

One of the quickest ways to battle anxiety is to practice deep breathing exercises. Ask your child to take a long deep breath through the nose. Follow this pattern the next time you notice them getting worked up. Yoga, meditation, and pranayama also work wonders when it comes to calming the mind. 

Physical exercises, light workout regimes, or any sports activities also help release the pent-up energy in kids. Enroll your children in activities that interest them, but ensure that you don’t fill up their entire day. Encouraging kids to follow a balanced diet, eat their veggies, and regular exercises contribute to their holistic development. 

Give Them Space

Kids grow up pretty quickly. It might seem like just yesterday when you helped your toddler take their first steps. Now they’re ready for their classes and dances and numerous other activities. As parents, you need to accept that your child has grown up. You are no longer the center of their universe. That doesn’t mean that your value has in any way decreased. Look out for your young one. Keep an eye out on the kind of company they are keeping. But don’t try to impose your authority on them. Instead, try to gently but firmly explain the ways of the world. 

Also, respect their privacy and sense of individuality. If your child needs help or feels comfortable approaching you, they will. There is a fine line between protecting and pampering. Don’t smother them with your affection. Encourage them to be self-reliant. Work on your relationship, earn their respect, treat them like responsible individuals. Having a strong sense of self-worth and a foundation of support from you can greatly reduce the anxiety they feel.


Author Bio

Mary Jones is the co-founder & editor-in-chief at TopMyGrades, which focuses on Content Marketing Strategy for clients from the Education industry in the US, Canada & UK. Mary has conducted a series of webinars for AssignmentEssayHelp as an assignment expert. She has extensive content editing experience and has worked with MSNBC, NewsCred & Scripted. She has also authored blogs on Lifehack.org, Wn.com, Medium.com, Minds.com, and many more digital publications.   

 

Taking Your First Family Trip with Your Foster Child

Planning a family trip with a foster child requires planning, but can be a great bonding and trust building opportunity. 

If a foster child has just joined your family, you may be excited about taking your very first family vacation together. As found by researchers at Penn State, all children – including teens – benefit from spending time with their parents; doing so has “important implications for adolescents’ psychological and social adjustment.” Because daily life is usually busy, a vacation is an ideal way to give children this much-needed time, but also to get to know them – their interests, passions, and unique personality traits. How can you ensure that your first vacation together has all the ingredients you need to achieve this aim?

Organization is Key

In order to travel with family peacefully and efficiently, organization is vital. If flying, ensure your children’s documents (passports, etc.) are up-to-date (if you are traveling internationally), book early so as to take advantage of cheaper airfares, and be prepared for contingencies such as lost luggage. Ask your child to pack a backpack (which they can bring on board as their hand-carried luggage) with a pair of sneakers, a change of clothes, spare medication (if they are taking any), their favorite snack, and their cherished entertainment items (including tablets and smartphones). This will ensure that if their luggage is temporarily lost, they won’t be left without important devices.  

Keep in mind that each child’s case and state laws vary. Make sure you receive all necessary permissions; and consider alternatives if travel is not approved so your foster child can participate in the shared family experience.

Togetherness is the Goal

Instead of dreaming up the ‘perfect holiday’ – one that can cause financial stress or involve too many planned activities — focus on holiday types and locations that will strengthen your bond as a family. Your foster child will most likely take time to get to know you, so your first holiday should not be so jam-packed with activities that you don’t have enough time to talk. Rather than focusing on amazing sites, focus on experiences you can enjoy together. Think of ways you can converse, laugh, and create memories to be cherished many years later.

Make Nature a Priority

Nature-based vacations (think visiting the seaside or mountainside) are a fantastic way to enjoy a wide range of activities together while taking advantage of the stress-busting benefits of the Great Outdoors. One of the best things about planning a visit to a natural park or coastal area is that you don’t have to worry about purchasing tickets or catching public transport to a host of busy sites. In the midst of majestic nature, it is easier for children to communicate, enjoy physical activity, and take part in a host of adventures (think canyoning, hiking, swimming, or skiing) with your family.

A Bucket List for Everyone

Once you have decided on your destination and mode of transport (air travel, road trip, train ride, etc.), try and discover if your foster child has a dream destination or bucket list that includes sites close to where you will be traveling. Although it can sometimes be difficult from a practical point of view, allowing each family member to choose one site to visit is a great way to ensure the vacation has something for everyone. A road trip is an ideal way to accommodate disparate tastes, since you can change your mind as required, and take little detours (or even spend more or less time in a given place depending on how much fun you are having). 

The first holiday you take with your foster child can offer a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other and build wonderful memories together. To reduce stress and travel peacefully and confidently, ensure that all documentation, booking, and planning is done well in advance. Choose nature-based destinations if possible, since these invite shared activity but also offer the peace and calm that nature brings to both adults and children.

Adjusting to Having a Child with Food Allergies in Your Home

Understanding the causes, signs, and emergency recommendations for children with food allergies can help caregivers provide a safe environment. 

For those who have kids with food allergies, food is a risky experience. Their immune system labels a particular substance as dangerous and releases inordinate amounts of histamine. It can put children in danger, so they have to be careful with everything they serve on the table or keep in their home. It’s not just about avoiding peanuts or any other allergen. It’s about making the home a safe place for the kid, who can’t fully control their food choices without help from grownups.

What Is a Food Allergy?

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly sees a harmless substance as dangerous. Even the smallest traces of the allergen can trigger an immune reaction. 

These foods cause some of the most common food allergies in children:

  • Milk (lactose
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy

These foods are all high in protein.

How to Find Out If Your Child Has a Food Allergy

To be sure that your kid has a food allergy, they will have to taste the food that causes a reaction. However, you should know that during the first exposure to allergens, the immune system may not react. Allergies can be developed. With nuts, for example, the second exposure may be more serious than the first one. 

You’ll know that your child has an allergy when you notice the symptoms. You have to be attentive when introducing new foods, so you’ll know what caused the reaction. You must also know how to react in case of serious symptoms.

Be Aware of Food Allergy Symptoms

These are the common symptoms that you’ll recognize if your child is allergic to any food:

  • Trouble breathing is a very serious symptom. It occurs as a result of spasm and swelling in the airways. 
  • Swelling of the tongue and/or face (mouth, eyelids, throat, and lips). Sometimes the hands and feet may also swell. 
  • Hives, which you’ll notice by the itchy, red bumps on different areas of the skin. They may be visible on the neck, the face, or all over the body. 
  • Itchy throat and mouth may also occur as an allergic reaction. 
  • Stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea usually happen when the child is allergic to gluten or lactose. 
  • Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that leads to shock. It can happen immediately after consuming the allergen, but it may also take up to two hours to develop. The condition involves several symptoms, including throat tightness, hives, swelling of the tongue and face, difficulty breathing, dizziness, lightheadedness, and unconsciousness. It’s a scary situation, but you have to stay level-headed and react ASAP!

Steps to Avoid Allergic Reactions

 1. Always read the label
If you know that your child has a food allergy, read all labels carefully. Even traces of the allergen can be dangerous.

2. Know the ingredients
When you go to a restaurant, always ask about the ingredients in the meal you plan to order. Inform the waiter that your kid has an allergy, so they will be careful. 

 3. Educate the entire family
Keep your home free of allergens and educate everyone who spends time with your kid. The kid’s teacher and friends should know about the allergy, too.  

4. Focus on safe foods
Prepare fun meals, so your kid won’t feel like they are missing out on something. 

5. Stay updated to new research findings
Kids with Food Allergies is a great source of information. You’ll find safe recipes, but you can also get informed about the latest research findings.  

6. Look for treatment
Antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids are the most commonly used allergy treatments once the allergic reaction occurs. However, they are used only when allergens are ingested by mistake. The only long-term treatment is to avoid the foods that trigger reactions.

It’s Not Easy, But You Can Do This!

If your child has any kind of food allergy, you’ll have to be careful with the foods you prepare for them. You’ll patiently educate them about the foods they can eat and the ones that cause them harm. You’ll keep your home free of allergens that they can reach. If your child is allergic to peanuts, your entire family can live without them. Traces are more problematic; they can be found in common foods that we buy from the supermarket. 

You’ll have to read labels and be prepared for action if anything unexpected occurs, but you can keep your child safe. 


Author Bio

Robert Everett is a writer for EduBirdie.com. He loves researching topics related to childcare, family values, and social studies. Robert is an activist for several causes, hoping to make small contributions towards great improvements.   

The Importance of Sibling Relationships in Foster Care

Keeping siblings in care together is not always possible, but studies show the importance of maintaining these relationships. 

Adapting to life in foster care is not easy for children. They have to adjust to the new environments, caretakers and schedules. They face limited contact with their biological families and may need to work to keep their sibling connection intact. Fear of losing siblings can lead to feelings of insecurity, depression, loneliness and anxiety. They may not openly express their feelings, so establishing trust and communication with foster parents and the family unit as early as possible is vital in a foster care setting.

Family System Theory

Family Systems Theory, also known as Bowen Theory (1999) describes patterns and relationships that are created within a family system. Foster siblings that are involved in experiencing intense emotional traumas will have different needs and expectations of their caregivers.

The theory explains the triangle of relationships among families. When children experience trauma, siblings may experience anxiety and trust issues with adults outside of their bond. Also, if they came from dysfunctional relationships in foster care, it impacts their  behavior in a new family unit. Children replicate triangular patterns of Bowen’s theory (1985) in sibling relationshiops. These may lead to less positive and more harmful impacts that may ultimately affect the role of sibling bonds in the family unit and foster care. 

Impacts Of Keeping Siblings Together

The current literature states that mental and emotional wellbeing, linked to  the positive implications of sibling’s relationships is the most critical benefit to foster siblings. According to Hegar & Rosenthal, 2011, children were reported to feel closer and more comfortable when living with their siblings at their foster parent’s home. Being close to a sibling improves the sense of belonging. Siblings living in different foster care units were reported to have more unstable lives.

Moreover, children that were kept with their siblings had a more positive and long-lasting relationship compared to those who were separated. Thus, placing siblings together positively impacts their relationship with each other by acting as emotional support after times of trauma and abuse.

Biological siblings who are in touch or raised together have higher self-esteem, social support, and stronger relationships and are more successful professionally as adults. Along with noted behavioral benefits, studies prove the profoundly positive impact of keeping foster kids together on academic performances along with overall behavioral and social dealing of routine issues. 

 

Impacts Of Separating Siblings

As mentioned above, there appear to be many behavioral and psychological benefits and issues associated with separating foster siblings. Children entering foster care due to abuse and behavioral issues may display fewer behavioral problems compared to those who are separated from their siblings.  

When children are placed in foster care systems, initial bonding with their new home and feel family is invaluable. In some cases, a strong sibling bond may actually hinder the process of adaptation. In these situations, a child may like to interact more with the sibling instead of interacting with the foster family. 

Unhealthy relationship patterns may also carry over into care. An adoptive family may be unable to protect a child from its sibling, and these are cases where separate placement may be in the best interest of both children.

“It is more likely to be tough to find the perfect family and accommodate siblings together every time,” Rosella Thomas (Foster Parent of 3 children); Management Services, Crowd Writer, said. 

Creating a stable environment for a child, even if it means placing them in separate homes, can lead to lasting benefits. Placing them as a group with accommodating and equipped family should be the first choice, though. 

Although there are multiple studies to claim that adolescent siblings act as emotional and moral support to each other while, younger siblings are unable to support each other as they need to get stable under guidance themselves. These siblings may not have a secure attachment with each other. 

Attempts To Improve Mental And Emotional Support In Foster Care

Despite individual circumstances and characteristics, the amount of access children have with their siblings plays a significant role in adjusting to the separation associated with foster care. Being attached to a foster family along with a sibling is extremely important to develop and improve their individual mental health and overall emotional support. There is no measure to check for the impact of these relationships. However, a positive approach towards patience and stability can lead to better success in an entirely new environment.


Author Bio

Stella Lincoln is a qualified child psychologist and therapist. She has worked with a number of NGO’s and specialized in foster care writing. Currently, she is working as a Psychological Counselor and Educational Guide at Academist Help.

Keeping A Family Journal

Journaling as a family can be a therapuetic bonding experience and create a record of memories. 

A journal captures the memories that could easily escape your mind. These memories are usually raw and can be passed down for generations through the family tree. The benefits of keeping a journal cannot be overemphasized, but they get more pronounced when it becomes a family project.

Each member of the family has a unique perspective on life. A similar event will be recorded in multiple unique ways by each member of the family. The family journal will, therefore, cease to be a monotonous narrative through a single eye and become the combined efforts of all persons in the home. This adds beauty and multiple voices to the project.

The Beauty of Family Life

A family is like an orchard made of beautiful fruits. Each member of the family has a different flavor that makes moments beautiful to share. This uniqueness and beauty can be seen in a family journal. The journal provides a chance for each member to express the moment in his or her voice. Whether the journal is read at the moment or later, the beauty and voice of every member will be heard in writing.

Keeping the Family Together

Families grow old, and members go in different directions. It becomes difficult to meet regularly and share beautiful moments together. The family will be kept together by the memories that are stored in the journal. Everyone will look forward to sharing moments similar to those recorded in the journal. The need to create similar moments pulls family members together. Children will carry forth the dream of their parents as they were captured in the journal. They will also be compelled to create similar memories for their families.

Time to Reminisce

Families enjoy the similarities between parents and their children, grandparents, and grandchildren, cousins, and other family members even without direct blood relationship. A journal will help you identify character traits that are similar and events that might repeat themselves in the course of life. It is interesting to spot similarities or even appreciate that one character is totally different from the others. These similarities and differences can only be spotted through journaling.

Therapuetic Angle of Journaling

Journaling has been cited as one of the ways to maintain emotional stability. Recording experiences is similar to sharing it with third parties. It also helps you to offload the nasty experiences without throwing them away since they remain a part of your life.

Journaling is not just for nasty experiences. It helps you to keep the good memories alive. Writing a family journal means that good memories will not be lost. In case a conflict arises, you have a reference point that your brother, sister, parent, or any other member of the family once gave you a reason to smile. If the person has made you angry today, the anger will be diffused and transformed into beautiful memories.

Making a Family Journal Fun

Not every family member is born a writer. Proposing that everyone participates in the writing process, therefore, becomes a tough job. How do you make everyone buy into the idea of writing a journal or participating in one? 

  • Review the entries together- indicate the memories and entries that should go into each episode. You might assign the duty to everyone so that one is writing about foods while the other captures the trips, evening activities, new babies into the family, and such elements. Everyone will find something interesting to say about a particular area. 
  • Do not criticize entries made- let each writer capture the events from his or her perspective. Agree that each perspective is accurate since it is personal. 
  • Use technology in journaling- create a website or social media page where family members can make their comments and entries. The page should remain strictly about the family. 
  • Include pictures and videos- a picture can capture a thousand words. Reviewing a video makes family memories even more interesting. Capture the memories using all devices possible and freeze them for future reference. 

It is impossible to predict the direction a family takes over the years. Journaling helps you freeze your most beautiful, as well as trying moments as a family. These memories can be passed down through generations and play a huge part in keeping the family together.


Author Bio

Bronwyn is passionate about education and had been working for several years as a teacher. Now she is working as a writer for ibuyessay.com. She believes everyone needs a helping hand sometimes and tries to turn her writing into real assistance. 

Three Parenting Pitfalls That Can Impact Mental Health

Creating an open, healthy relationship between children and caregivers is vital, and there are some things that may get in the way of well intentioned parents.

No parent can claim to have cracked the code on how to raise children. We are all trying to do what is best for our young ones. Yet, mental and behavioral health challenges are at an all time high in America. Understanding a few of the pitfalls parents may fall into can help you guide your children while maintaining a positive relationship.

Watch Your Parenting Style

You can sometimes differentiate between democratic and dictatorial home settings by observing how the kids behave around the parents.

Unfortunately, most caregivers don’t know the difference between authoritative parents and authoritarian parents. They want to be authoritative, but they end up being authoritarian. The latter method can lead to relationship challenges.

Experts say that authoritarian parents leave no room for failure. They give orders without explanation, and failure to obey or produce the results the parent wants results in yelling, criticism, and punishment. This can result in a fear of making mistakes and a lack of trust. Authoritative parents, on the other hand, can end up with respectful, but trusting, children.

Be There When You Can

If your kids keep complaining that you are never available for them, don’t dismiss them. Instead, promise to share your free time with them. 

Counselors argue that children with absentee parents are at a higher risk of developing mental, emotional, and social instability. If you are not physically present, you can choose to call them at least once a day.

Build Trust

Recently, one of my friends shared that her daughter had depression.

On enquiring further, we learned that the young girl was in a toxic relationship, and each time she tried to leave, the man threatened to hurt her. The shocking thing is when the counselor asked the girl why she didn’t confide in her mother; she said that she didn’t trust her.

When a child does not show trust, don’t dismiss yourself as a bad parent. Most parents assume that trust between parent and child comes automatically. That’s not true. But do your best to keep the door for conversation open.


Author Bio

Heman Thuranira is a competent SEO content writer who specializes in offering blog writing, ghostwriting, and copywriting services. He takes pride in providing SEO optimized, engaging, and high-quality digital marketing content to both B2B and B2C businesses. His content will increase your business, blog, or website social media attention and search engine ranking. For any SEO content writing service assistance; he is your go-to Guru.

5 Safety Considerations for Parents on Halloween

Ensure the physical and mental well-being of  your children on Halloween by keeping these things in mind.
Erntedankfest - not Halloween

All Hallow's Eve has become a tradition for many American families, where children have the chance to express creativity and imagination through costumes, as well as enjoy the process of collecting free candy. While it may seem like a light-hearted evening of sweets for the young ones, parents need to have a broader view of the evening. Here are some things to keep in mind for a safe, fun, and inclusive holiday. 

1. Costume Safety

While it's important for children to be happy with their costume, their well being and comfort throughout the night should be top priority. Ensuring a proper fit is crucial, as costumes that are too long, or have flowing components, such as capes, can cause a tripping hazard. Masks can restrict vision, so consider an alternative such as face paint. Children walking around in the dark can be a frightening though. Try to find costumes with a glow in the dark aspect, or fine a way to add reflective tape in a way that your child is happy with. Taking as many precautions as possible can help the night stay focused on what the goblins really care about: candy. 

2. Candy Bucket Colors

We all know pumpkins are orange, so it's no surprise to see that many of the pumpkin candy buckets children carry with them are in that color as well, but if you see a child with another color, don't always assume they just prefer that or wanted to stand out. The color may mean something. For example, a dark blue bucket can indicate an individual with autism is on your doorstep, so they may struggle to communicate in the way other children do. A non-verbal child may just hold out their bucket without a "Trick or Treat." Eye contact is often extremely difficult for children on the spectrum, so having an understanding of this could be helpful. A teal bucket can mean the child has food allergies, so having an alternative to candy such as trinket toys would allow those children to enjoy the experience as well without posing a health risk. 

3. Trauma Triggers

Halloween can be fun, but it can also be very scary and stressful for some children. Children who have experienced trauma, like many foster and adopted children have, may view certain costumes or the experience of going door to door in the dark differently than their guardians would anticipate. It's important to be aware of this for children in your care and, if necessary, seek alternatives such as community events during the day time which could allow them to trick or treat without the potentially triggering elements. Emotional health is more important than one evening of candy. 

4. Trick or Treating Location

When choosing where, and when, to take children trick or treating, there are a few things to consider. If you live in a large neighborhood where you trust those around you, it may be best to stay on your own stomping grounds. If not, you can google safe places to trick or treat in your area. You will likely find several lists and suggestions. Look for well lit neighborhoods and consider calling local nursing homes to see if they like community children to come through, as this is often a very fun experience for the residents as well. 

5. Treat Safety

Unfortunately, concern about the safety of candy passed out to children has been an issue in recent years. Do you research and have a conversation with your children about what they are and are not allowed to consume. Teach them to check to see if candy is open, and you may want to tell them they can only accept home-made goods from people they know. If you plan to hand out home-made treats, be aware that other parents might have concerns. 

Debunking Adoption Myths

Society's portrayal of adoption often does not match the reality.

Adoption is a lifelong process that creates families with unique stories. Yet, there is a lot of misinformation about this process and the impact it has on those involved. Here are three myths about adoption often harbored both by adoptive parents and the people around them.

Adoptees are Lucky

Adoption stories are often written by the adoptive parents and they are focused on the process of finding and bringing a longed-for child home. These stories have a happy ending.

Yet by calling adopted kids “lucky,” we dismiss challenges they keep facing after the adoption. We miss the chance to acknowledge the trauma these children experience. Changing homes and guardians is difficult, especially for young children who do not fully understand why all this is happening.

While adoption can be a very positive thing for many kids, it’s still complicated. Some adoptees might feel quite a pressure to appear happy and grateful, to avoid hurting their adoptive families or giving adoption as a whole bad name. After all, in popular culture adoption is often shown as a reward for hardships, both for the child and for the adoptive parents who waited for this for so long.

Adoptive parents aren’t saviors and adoption isn’t a triumph over adversity.  Adoptive parents are just that – parents, as loving, as wonderful, and as flawed as any parent can be. Adoption is just the beginning of a unique story with its own ups and downs, challenges and rewards, sadness and joy.

For many adopted children, being an adoptee becomes a part of their identity, just like race or gender. Not because adoptive parents were, in any way, not enough – of course not – but because that permeates many things and experiences in their life.

Race Doesn't Matter

What do differences matter when you have so much love to give? Loving care helps to create strong bonds within the most diverse families. However, that also means you have a responsibility to keep difficult ongoing conversations about race and ethnicity with your beloved children and be their closest allies in a world that might point out the differences that don’t matter to you in a straightforward way.

Consider your extended family, social circle, and neighborhood to make everything you can so that the child of different ethnicity can feel comfortable and accepted. Be realistic and do this work because it is important for the wellbeing of your child. Instead of simply shielding him or her, prepare and empower.

Understand that even if you have done everything to celebrate their birth culture, to make them keep in touch with their community, and provide role models in whom they can see their reflection, it will still be hard for them. Racial and cultural connectedness is a complicated thing. Some of their peers will still drop phrases like “You aren’t really black/Asian/brown”, while some people will keep complimenting them on their English and ask “Yes, but where are you really from?” Don’t leave them alone in their quest for identity; be ready to support them.

A Fresh Start Means a Clean Slate

Even adopted as babies, adoptees may challenge the narrative of their origin. As much as you want to give your little one a story that will comfort or empower them, if it isn’t the whole truth, they could start to search for the rest when they are old enough.

They may ask about their birth parents, why they were given up, to meet their biological siblings and to know their roots. This journey is likely to happen even in the case of closed adoption with no information exchanged and no further contact planned between adopted and birth parents. 

While growing up, adopted kids can have a lot of questions about their identity, about how they think of themselves. Children are more sensitive to nuances and detail than many adults give them credit for. They pick up the cues and hang on to accidentally slipped words. They wonder whom they have inherited their eyes from, why no one in the family seems to like the poetry they are obsessed with, and why online homework help with math is their guilty secret when it was their parents’ favorite subject in high school. 

Try not to let it hurt you. That doesn’t temper their love for you in any way, but even if not being vocal about it, they will have a special place in their heart with all the thoughts about their birth family and the feeling of loss. Part of them may wish that things could have been different and that their birth parents could have raised them together with their brothers and sisters. Being in the company of people who share their features can give a strange sense of belonging.

Try to support this search for identity with a positive outlook. They may feel guilty for these thoughts because they do love you and are endlessly grateful for everything you gave. Your being upset or feeling jealous will only make things tougher for them.

The best you can do is to make your child feel safe, cared for, accepted, and loved no matter what. Remember, you are a family – nothing can cancel that.

Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits in Children

Working toward positive eating habits as a family can set children up for a healthier future.

Children between the ages of 2 and 18 years should consume less than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. That’s about 25 grams. Yet children in the US consume roughly 16% of their daily caloric intake from added sugars alone, while missing out on the vitamin-packed foods they need in order to support their growing bodies.

The abundance of added sugar coupled with foods that are low in nutrition and additional complications with less-than-ideal eating habits can make for a real challenge. It can be difficult to guide your child to healthy habits to begin with, and even more so if you’re welcoming an older child, who may already have developed certain food preferences or dislikes, into your family. Thankfully, with some know-how, enthusiasm and patience, you can help instill healthy eating habits in children of all ages.

Opt for Healthy Sugar

Everyone knows that kids love sweets. This is thought to be a trait of evolution that causes children to seek out sources of food high in sugar to fuel their rapid growth, as well as sustain the body during times of famine. Excess sugar, however, can lead to a number of health issues.

It’s true that sugar is sugar, but the source of that sugar is what really makes a difference. Healthy fruit and veggie smoothies, for example, have natural sugars, but they also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber - while still being low in calories. A serving of cookies, on the other hand, will have just as much (if not more) sugar, while offering little to no nutrition.

To encourage your kids to eat more nutrient-dense sweets, let them choose their own fruits to try, and spend some time looking around the produce section - it’s a great learning opportunity. Swap out traditional store-bought sweets with healthier, homemade varieties. You can bake a variety of cakes, cookies and other treats using healthier ingredients, like applesauce instead of table sugar.

Science Develop Natural Portion Control

Excess sugar isn’t the only issue when it comes to dietary concerns. Overeating has become an increasing problem among Americans, children included. While there are a number of contributors, often overeating is the result of eating too quickly. The stomach needs time to process and send information to the brain to let it know that it’s full.

The hustle of modern life can lead to rushed mealtimes, which can mean eating more food than necessary because the body hasn’t had time to communicate that it doesn’t need any more. For this reason, it’s important to help children develop natural portion control by eating slowly. Make a point of having relaxed, no-rush meals together as a family.

Not only does this help digestion and allow for the natural ‘full’ mechanism of the stomach to work, but it’s a great way to spend time together and actively communicate with your children.

Don't "Diet"

Though it’s important to encourage healthy eating choices, it’s equally important not to implement a strict, rigid diet for children. Children need to develop both healthy bodies and healthy minds, and an over-concentration on a specific diet or weight/size goal can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem. When healthy eating meets moderation, there’s no need for restriction. It’s best to guide your children rather than dictate their food choices.

Perhaps the best bit of advice when it comes to instilling healthy habits in children is to lead by example. Show your kids it’s important to eat healthily by doing so yourself, and make it a family affair.