Kia Ora everyone, Happy New Year to you all.
I really hope the summer festive season has been relaxing for you, allowing you to recharge your batteries and have some magic moments with friends and family.
Fostering Kids NZ is excited to share news about establishing a new Regional Coordinator role. This position will be 20 hours a week and based in Dunedin, supporting the East Otago region. We are currently recruiting and will let you know the outcome.
Fostering Kids NZ would like to thank Barbara for all her support and service to caregivers in the East Otago area over the last 10 years. Barbara will continue in her role as the Southland Regional Coordinator supporting Alexandra, Queenstown and Lower South. Barbara will be a great mentor for this new position.
Hei konei ra (Goodbye)
Stephanie (National Manager – Training & Support)
Kia ora koutou/Greetings everyone
For many of us looking after complex children who have experienced trauma, we can be lucky if we manage to snatch the odd relaxing moment here and there. If that is you my heart goes out to you with buckets of empathy, for it is hard. We are not super human. We can as caregivers experience secondary trauma ourselves from the incidences that we deal with, often daily.
We might also experience stress in our relationships as we attempt to reconnect with those close to us, amidst the behaviours and chaos that occur in our home, due to the ongoing snowballing process that occurs in a demanding relationship with our complex child.
This can lead to caregiver burnout. These are real and we need to validate them. I have included a good article below that reinforces what we at Fostering Kids NZ encourage you to do.
* Choose your supports wisely as often burnout can be contagious.
* Prioritise yourself and move things off your plate.
* Don’t assume that those around you understand the full impact of your traumatic experiences.
* Fill your bucket with things that bring you joy.
* Read “Managing the Toll of Caregiver Trauma” here.
Eileen Devine who wrote the above article has also said “Behaviour is communication that something is wrong”. It seems so simple, right? Hardly. Parents need to be detectives, looking for patterns and figuring out what led to what.
Intentional reflection on what occurred is a must (insight is not gained in the midst of chaos, but in the quiet moments when the storm has passed.) Regular self-care is also a must since this exhausting process of seeing heart-breaking, complex and sometimes disturbing behaviours requires us to have empathy for our child and calm responses in raging storms. Starting to see the neurobehavioral ‘parenting differently’ journey is what it is all about.”
As your children and young people start heading back to school you may see an increase in their anxieties and behaviours. It can be another difficult time as they readjust to new routines, renew or make new connections with their peers and teachers and attempt to deal with the anxieties and stress that this all causes them.
Fostering Kids NZ staff are now back on deck ready to support you, so feel free to pick up the phone to download and to help you make sense of your feelings and experiences. I am sure there will be a support group gathering near you soon. Watch our Facebook page and this space for these to be advertised.
This one day Hui in Dunedin is for caregivers, care sector professionals and anyone who touches the lives of children who are in care. We will make sense of how having experienced trauma affects a child’s learning.
We have a great line up of speakers – a tauma informed psychologist, a member of the reThink team in Dunedin and a trauma informed school principle. Our speakers and Fostering Kids NZ’s National Manager Training & Support will form a panel to create some helathy discussion and debate.
Plus it’s a great way to meet other caregivers and learn more about the services available in your community. Click here to register!
Our trainings start inlater in February with workshops and discussion sessions coming to Alexandra, Oamaru, Dunedin, Balclutha, Gore and Invercargill. Please go onto our website here and register yourself. They are all free to all caregivers.
I hope to see you soon as we attend a support group, a discussion session, a training or the Hui in April.
Ka Kite Ano (See you again),
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