How Small Children Communicate Their Distress

climbing_out_of_crib-525x315Small children don’t possess the ability to verbally communicate when they are experiencing distress in their lives. It is therefore very important for foster parents to be aware of the ways in which they are able to communicate distress.

They communicate their emotional state through play, art (drawings), limited words (gestures/sounds), and their behavior. Generally, children respond to distress in their lives by reverting to behavior typical of an earlier developmental stage. These responses are considered ‘normal’ if they are of brief (less than three weeks) duration. The key is to watch for behavior that is unusual for your young child (age 1-6), or a combination thereof.

• Bedwetting (after already having mastered)
• Thumb sucking
• Fear of animals
• Crying
• Wetting Pants
• Fear of crowds
• Re-enacting event
• Excessive clinging
• Loss of bowel control
• Fear of being left alone
• Wants to go to heaven

Should you as a foster parent feel uneasy or uncomfortable in the way your small child expresses himself in these areas, you should contact a child’s therapist as soon as possible, to discuss your observations with her.

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About Helouise Steenkamp

I'm a 45 plus, Devoted Wife and Mother. Adonai has blessed us with two Amazingly Wonderful Sons. We have had the privilege of being Place of Safety parents for 1 1/2 years and there after foster parents to a Darling Princess for 5 years. She was reconciled with her biological parents in Dec'14. Our hearts are still aching from the loss, but we know that as we trust Adonai with our salvation, so we can trust Him with her future. We welcomed our new 4 year old foster child on 05JUN'15.
This entry was posted in Behavioral Issues, Foster Care Advice, Helping to bring Healing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Small Children Communicate Their Distress

  1. Minka Landman says:

    Goeie stuk

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