JFS Newsletter

Dear Director: Mental Health & The Adopted Child

Dear Director,

We learned in our foster care training that kids who experienced early trauma may develop mental health issues later on in life. And sure enough it is happening to our 12-year-old adopted son, who is struggling at home and school with tantrums and nightmares. We just received the results from his Psychological Evaluation, and he has been labeled with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We are shocked, and really don’t know how to understand these labels. We are also afraid they will follow him as he goes through adolescence and may change how other people see him.  We love our son and fear for his future with these mental health disorders, help us understand.

Sincerely, Worried Sick

Labels: Shame, and Fear: Destigmatizing the Stigma in Mental Illness

What comes to mind when you think of these three words: LABELING, SHAMING, AND FEAR? I would wager that we all know someone who suffers from mental illness, if not ourselves. Overcoming the stigma that society has placed on mental illness is an uphill battle. Continue reading to learn ways you can help your child if they are struggling with their mental health. After all, breaking down the stigma means accepting that mental health challenges are real and then working as a team to gather support for your struggling child.

The Lorax

I grew up kind of obsessed with the book The Lorax. This certainly served me well as it was the foundation from where I parented my special needs child. When you think of the word advocacy, you may think of legal and political issues. But I urge you instead to think about advocacy in term of the Lorax. As parents, we are our children’s voices. Even in the most uncomfortable situations, we must put on the Lorax role, and speak up for our children.

How To Be Your Child’s Best Advocate

Advocacy is an art. How you approach conflicts, situations, and people makes a huge difference on how things work out. Advocacy demands that you are calm, intentional, and collaborative in every situation. You get more bees with honey is a saying worth remembering when advocating. In other words, no matter what, always be kind. How you make your child feel, their teacher, that doctor, their friends will dictate how well you are doing your job as an advocate. Being respectful and reasonable always works to make others feel good.

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