Back to School

back to school

Back to School season brings up a myriad of emotions for parents of kids who have been exposed to trauma. We worry about academic performance and learning challenges. We are unsure about advocating effectively, so they can thrive in school. We understand your concerns, and we bring you these high-quality, evidence-based resources to prepare you to get the academic year off to a great start. 

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5 Tips for Healthy Family Communication

Communication is one of the most impactful and long-lasting elements of a successful family. Unfortunately, many of our kids learned unhealthy communication before coming to our home. Building healthy communication while raising adoptive, foster or kinship children can therefore be extra challenging.

How Do You Manage Intrusive Questions about Your Adopted, Foster, or Kinship Child?

Are you a conspicuous family? Do you and your kids “match?” Do you show up at community events with a new kid in tow occasionally? Many adoptive, foster, and kinship families face the challenge of intrusive questions when they are obviously of different races or ethnicities from one another. Foster families commonly face intrusive questions when they get new placements joining their home. Though we live in the perspective that families form in many different ways, society around us often still asks nosy questions about who we are and how we built our family.

Easing the Transition to a New School Year for Adopted, Foster, & Kinship Kids

Adopted, foster and kinship kids often struggle with new experiences and relationships. Truthfully, transitions and change are scary to most folks, but our kids who have been exposed to trauma, abuse, or neglect have heightened sensitivities to change. The impacts of their trauma require predictability, connection, and routine to settle those fears and navigate life. How can we ease the transition to a new school year for our kids?

Help! My Child Hates School

There is almost nothing more challenging about parenting during the school-age years than a child who hates school. When the school is not a good fit for your child, it colors almost everything about daily life together. Navigating the school system with a child who has learning challenges, a history of exposure to trauma, or prenatal exposures can be overwhelming, defeating, and exhausting to the bone. When you have a child who hates school, you feel the weight of their future world is squarely on your shoulders. Your worries keep you up at night, and trust us when we say that you are not alone in your anxiety!

What Do You Share At School About Your Child’s Story?

Your child spends several hours a day with his teachers, and you want to set his whole team up for success in the classroom as early as you can, right? One of the most common questions that foster, kinship, and adoptive parents ask in our online community is how much to share about their kids’ stories to support the child’s success in the classroom. It’s a dilemma because adoptees frequently tell us that a child’s story should be guarded and held carefully until the child has agency to tell or not to tell. Where is the line, and what do you share about your child’s story at school?

7 Tips for Adoptive Parents at Beginning of School

In most respects the beginning of the school year is no different for adopted kids than for kids born into their families. We buy the school supplies and new clothes, fill out reams of paperwork, and sent them off with a kiss and a prayer. But adoption can add complications at school.

A Letter to My Adopted Child’s Teacher

Adopted parents may feel uncertain about the messages kids receive in school about their family, their unique story, or the child’s individual needs or experiences. If you are like many adoptive parents in our community, you might find it helpful to start the school year with a letter to your adopted child’s teacher.

Advocating for Your Foster or Kinship Child at School

If you don’t have experience with the jargon of educational supports, IEP’s and 504’s prior yet, advocating for your foster or kinship child in school can feel intimidating. It might sound like a whole new language at first. However, learning how to advocate for your foster or kinship child in school is an extension of the care you’ve been offering this child already.

When the School System Feels Like the Bully

ARGHH! Nothing in parenting has caused me such frustration as working with the school system to help my kid who struggled at school. I have felt so helpless and frustrated at times that it has brought me to tears. Of course, it’s no walk in the park for the kid with the challenges either, but make no mistake, parenting a child who struggles in school is hard, hard work.

The Dreaded Family Tree Assignment in Adoption

While many schools are catching on quickly to the perils of assigning a project that defines “family” or digs into a child’s history, many families still face difficulty when their child is asked to bring in a baby picture or write family names and relationships on a hand-drawn oak tree. Any non-traditional family is subject to the triggers, but certainly, our kids who have come to us through adoption or foster care can really struggle with these assignments.

Practical Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD

Parenting a child with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can be challenging. Your child’s behavior, lack of focus on tasks, and struggle to follow your family’s daily flow feel overwhelming and draining. What more can you implement in your home to ease the frustration and set your child up for success in his everyday life?

Establishing Daily Routines for a Child with Prenatal Exposure

Parenting a child with prenatal exposure often requires additional scaffolding to help them learn the daily routines we take for granted. Establishing consistent daily routines for your child with prenatal exposure gives repetitive experiential learning that supports him as he acquires the skills to grow to adulthood.

Labeling Kids with Special Needs – How Much to Share

I have a love-hate relationship with labels. They can help our children get the help they need and can help us find the support of others in a similar situation, but they can also come with the baggage of stigma and preconceived ideas. I worry about the long-term impact of labeling kids.