Today at Extraordinary Moms Network, I posted an article called "Playground Politics" about helping your foster child (or any child, really) cope with playground bullies. As I mention in the article, foster kids tend to see the world as a place they need to protect themselves from ... Either through aggression, or through passivity and withdrawal. This three-step strategy for kids will help boost their confidence, and turn them from targets into leaders!
When you are raising children, empathy and simple listening to the feelings behind a child's words is an important step in confidence boosting. One of the best ways to do this is through reading, both together and individually (for the adult). Here is a list of books I've found helpful over the years.
Tapestry Books is an especially good resource for books for adoptive and foster parents, with offers for parents and children alike. For the resources below, I've provided links to Tapestry for those products they offer -- the others are from Amazon.
For foster children:
* Maybe Days, by Jennifer Wilgocki (an especially good read when they first join your family)
* My Body is Private by Linda Girard (especially for children with abuse and boundary issues)
For foster, adopted, and special needs children:
* How Do Dinosaurs... Series by Jane Yolen (child friendly way to teach them about their world, from going to bed to teaching manners)
* I Will Always Love You by Jane Gerver (a gentle, reassuring book about two pandas, celebrating unconditional love)
* Ruthie and the Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin (the importance of truth-telling)
Especially for adopted children:
* Forever Fingerprints, by Sherrie Eldridge (for teaching facts of life to adopted children)
* I Don't Have Your Eyes by Carrie Kitze (especially good for trans-racial adoption)
Especially for parents: Some of these I've reviewed before. Where applicable, I've included a review link in addition to ordering information. An additional list of resources from Tapestry Books may be found here.
* Adopting the Hurt Child, by Gregory Keck (especially good for foster-adoptions, where child has suffered abuse or has other trauma). Review.
* The Connected Child by Karen Purvis (I noticed there were other books that ranked higher than this one at the Tapestry website, but I've read this one myself. In my opinion, if you buy just one book on attachment and related issues, such as learning disabilities, this is it!)
* Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel (about recognizing our own limitations is an important step in being a better parent). Review.
* Beautiful Boy by David Sheff (an intimate portrait of drug addiction, especially for parents whose children have birth parents with addiction issues). Review.
* Silent Prisoner by Amanda Young (a former foster child's story of emerging from her past). Review.
SPECIAL OFFER! Have you thought about joining the EMN mailing list and just never gotten around to it? This month you can also receive a free music CD of Lorraine Hartsook's "Bring That Child to Me" (an inspiring ballad about adoption) if you send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with (1) A link to your blog and/or website with the EMN logo on it and (2) Your name and address. Hurry! Offer good to the first 50 women who respond.