OK, this sounds like a really stupid win. Stuff is stuff…what does that even mean? To me personally, it is big point of struggle and growth. When you are dealing with kids who have gone through challenges and trauma, that trauma can come through in a lot of different ways. One way it rears it’s head is through destruction of property.
I have debated sharing this parenting win as it is one of those foster care perceptions I struggle with. To be honest, I deleted my writings numerous times and even shut the doc before deciding it was worth sharing. The idea that all kids in foster care will come in and destroy your home is not true. I truly believe that this perception makes kids out to be mean-hearted and, personally, I have not experienced this to be reality. What I have experienced is that trauma affects kids in different ways but, none the less, the effects of trauma are real and sometimes super tangible.
Through that vein of understanding, I will admit we have experienced quite a bit of destruction over the years. In this struggle we had a choice to make. Does stuff matter more than people? Even more specifically, does stuff matter more than a child? I am not saying this to devalue the idea that kids should be taught to respect what they have been given. I am also not saying this to imply that you don’t have the right to be frustrated or even angry when something sentimental of your’s is broken or, really anything that holds value to you is broken. What I have personally had to work through is how I communicate and help my child work through this behavior without making them feel like a rocking horse matters more to me than they do. Yes, my children know restitution. Yes, my children know it is poor stewardship to not treat things well. But, my children also know that stuff is stuff and people are what really matter in life.
Those that know me well know that I have really been tested on this and sometimes I have flat out failed. To my friend who talked me off the ledge when my floor was damaged, thank you. To our family that fixed the childhood rocking horse that was broken, thank you. To my father-in-law who had my kiddo work their restitution at his home because I just couldn’t, thank you. It is not about being perfect in the execution. It is about setting a value and doing your best to communicate that value to your kids as much as you can.
For us, one value my kids know by heart is: Stuff is stuff and people are what matter.
Founder/CEO Foster Arizona