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And the Holidays Begin…

This is the time of year when holiday decorations go up on the house and in the house, baking and freezing commence, the “to do list” gets added to each day, and so on.  Smiles get wider, Christmas music gets louder, “wish lists” get written and then suddenly the house gets turned upside down…metaphorically, perhaps and that is problematic enough but it could be actually.  Your child has a meltdown, and then a freeze and the smiles return, only to have them knocked down yet again.  What’s going on?  This is a happy time, a time to be grateful for all that we have. After all, we start with Thanksgiving next week and you ARE a FAMILY, with so much to be grateful for.  Unless, unless you are a foster child who has had a half dozen placements in just as many years or an adopted child who has memories (even pre-verbal memories stored in the state memory of their brain) of a different family and severed attachments.  And what if, additionally, this is the time of year, when the disruptions and re-placements occurred?  The “what if” is that your chid may, more likely than not, be triggered by memories, conscious or not and put a whole new meaning into “meltdown”.  So, what can you do?  On the front end:  BE PREPARED!  Prepare yourself for what could happen; how it will effect you, how it will effect your other children, how it will effect your extended family/friends who share in celebration with you.  And don’t forget, to prepare your foster/adopted child.  A child who is old enough to talk about feelings, have the conversation about knowing that holidays canoe a really hard time for them and it is understandable because they’ve had a lot of experience with holidays and some of those experiences have been positive and some negative.  And their head/brain may have a difficult time taking all in.  Do some front end loading of the back end…and by that I mean have a plan that you work out with your child, or if they are too young to participate in the planning, make it for them.  How can your chid signal that they aren’t okay?  If they can’t signal you, what is it they’d like to be able to do; e.g. go outside, go sit in their room, put on headphones, play a game on your phone, etc.  Have a not “what if” plan but a “when”  the trigger does occur plan, even if it is in the midst of the turkey being carved or presents being opened.