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What to say?

(24 Posts)
MerryInthechelseahotel Mon 16-Jun-14 23:02:49

My ds age 5 has an older fostered sibling we see regularly. We dropped the sibling off at foster carer's yesterday after having time together and ds was very upset saying goodbye.
He thoroughly enjoys seeing his brother and although ds is very happy with us and considers us to be his family he has a huge bond with his db and I feel (amateur psychiatrist!) he remembers all he has lost (big family, only sees other sibs sporadicaly) and his db has become symbolic for this loss iyswim.
So, ds was quietly sobbing and i was saying things like "i know you are disappointed and sad and thats ok to feel that way, its only natural etc" and fc came out and asked what was wrong. Ds said he didnt want db to go and Fc then said in a strict voice "if you dont stop crying you wont have anymore contact with db!" he said "it is my job as foster carer to make sure db doesn't get upset and he will get upset if you keep on crying."
I'm fuming! I'm going to have to say something but it wasn't appropriate then. I reassured ds that fc didn't mean what he said but actually I'm not really sure he didn't!
I don't want to make a huge thing about it as the casual contact we have at the moment is good for ds. Any ideas?

MerryInthechelseahotel Mon 16-Jun-14 23:04:59

I don't want this in unanswered messages just in adoption so I'm bumping it.

tethersend Mon 16-Jun-14 23:11:39

It is quite a huge thing, though- I would definitely speak to the FC's SSW and DFC's SW. The FC is not in control of the amount of contact; if they have concerns about the contact upsetting their DFC, they need to approach DFC's SW.

Am not an adopter but work in children's services, and would be quite concerned by the lack of understanding of a child's issues that the FC has demonstrated. It's incredibly inappropriate to threaten the withdrawal of contact to a child experiencing feelings of loss. Or indeed, to any child. Contact is not a reward for good behaviour.

tethersend Mon 16-Jun-14 23:14:01

Sorry, just re-read your OP...

"it is my job as foster carer to make sure db doesn't get upset"

This shows a woeful lack of understanding of a FC's role. It's definitely worth mentioning.

MerryInthechelseahotel Mon 16-Jun-14 23:17:03

Thank you for that tethersend I was so shocked by what he said. I know it is a huge thing and I will address it. So you think it is better to do this via sw rather than directly with him?

I would mention it to social worker and I think to preserve the relationship I would also mention it direct to the foster carer. He may have been a bit taken on the back foot and could be apologetic. I hope he would be!

It may be a good idea to think how to 'manage' the farewells and get foster carer on board with the need to handle them sensitively.

pS I am anew adopter so feel free to ignore me!

Devora Mon 16-Jun-14 23:34:12

I'm really appalled, and would definitely take this further. Also makes you wonder what he's saying to your son's db if HE shows any distress.

MerryInthechelseahotel Mon 16-Jun-14 23:34:53

I will not ignore you! You speak a lot of sense smile I just wish he hadn't said anything at all! I really want to preserve the relationship for reasons I can't really go into....sorry. It's very important to ds to keep up this informal contact.

MerryInthechelseahotel Mon 16-Jun-14 23:36:48

I know devora that did cross my mind because by threatening to cut contact for my ds he is also threatening to cut his foster child's too.

Lilka Tue 17-Jun-14 00:38:36

I am shocked and appalled as well. Your poor DS! I've been doing sibling contact for years with both adoptive and foster carers and never had anything like this from the other parents/carers. But if I had with an FC, I would definitely have taken it to the SW.

One of the most worrying things it shows is the total lack of empathy for what your DS (and I expect the other child too) is going through

Lilka Tue 17-Jun-14 00:43:12

And as for making sure DB doesn't get upset - well, contact can be upsetting. We can try our best to create a good experience for the children, but we can't expect to be able to reduce upset to 0, because of the nature of the whole situation

If something one child is doing/saying is impacting negatively on the other, then you can speak privately to the other parent/carer, but not to the child directly. I mean really, that's basic common sense

tethersend Tue 17-Jun-14 06:58:44

Just to be clear- the FC cannot cut contact; he is not at liberty to make that decision.

If you want to speak directly to the FC, please also speak to SW and SSW as these are some significant concerns.

Hope it works out.

Barbadosgirl Tue 17-Jun-14 07:11:24

Have nothing to add to the words of wisdom you have already had here, just my best wishes- I echo the shock felt by everyone, what a way to speak to your son, appalling!

odyssey2001 Tue 17-Jun-14 08:01:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 17-Jun-14 08:22:12

Sorry odyssey my ds has been with me for years. I think you are just confusing me with italian

I will call sw this morning. Thanks everyone for all your support.

odyssey2001 Tue 17-Jun-14 08:53:18

I am. I will blame my child's fever of 103 and the screaming! Have asked for post to be deleted.

wonderpants Tue 17-Jun-14 09:39:02

I am a foster Carer and I'm appalled by this. How old is the sibling?
If it is informal contact, maybe it needs to be formalised as part of the older sibling's care plan, however that also means a commitment from you! Definitely talk to the SW! Poor kids, what a terrible threat from someone who should know better!

fasparent Tue 17-Jun-14 10:19:12

Never have dropped of at FC's for contact in 38 year's or visited here always arranged too meet at a mutual agreed venue where all can play let of steam talk be happy together, perhaps this is the problem., are able too relate better in a neutral environment.

Kewcumber Tue 17-Jun-14 16:49:28

shock

Just shock

I can;t think of anything helpful to say!

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 17-Jun-14 23:15:20

Was waiting for a call back from sw but it didn't happen. I will persevere. Thanks everyone thanks

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 17-Jun-14 23:17:55

odyssey I hope your poorly child is better and on the way to recovery thanks

*Odyssey hope your child is better.

Hope all is well Merry. I think you are being calm and that is good. It might be quite an innocent attempt to quieten a child but is monumentally stupid in relation to looked after children. I am new to all this and always have to remind myself when ds overreacts to stuff that there is so much else underneath his over reaction. So it may even be that one farewell is a reminder of so many, and the child (children in this case) need to grieve and express it, to repress it would be harmful. How stupid of foster carer not to see this. But we all have off days and maybe there is more to it from foster carers point of view. I hope you get some answers.

TheSarcasticFringehead Wed 18-Jun-14 00:22:52

That's appalling. I'm adopted- older brother (10yrs older) was in foster care, all but my youngest birth brothers are in foster care (my youngest brother is adopted- in fact, by his ex foster carer). It might be meant well, but there is so much confusion and loss and worry having a sibling in foster care. Contact IS upsetting- well, leaving it is- and knowing that you have to go at specific times when before you lived with them, maybe they even protected you and so on. In my case, there was resentment and a lot of other feelings mixed in. Contact shouldn't be used as a way to manipulate or motivate a child to do what the adult wants, the child could be a nightmare at home but should still go to contact, it's completely separate to crying. Also, threatening to withdraw contact must be quite worrying for his brother too (if he could hear it)- it needs to be clear that contact isn't conditional.

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