Advice for foster carers, foster care system, child in foster care and affects on the familyQ I’ve been a foster carer for about a year now and I’m feeling more and more concerned about the affect this is having in my own young child.

I don’t want to stop fostering and if I speak with the social worker I’m afraid this might go against me. The ten year old boy in my care comes from a background of neglect and abuse, and more than that he often makes racist and homophobic comments (to people in the street, or he shouts things out to the television set). To make matters worse he lies and steals and deliberately damages or destroys things. He then manipulates the truth to get himself off the hook and to make my son look like things were his fault and to take the blame.

I do try and explain things to both of them together but it seems to fall on deaf ears with the foster child. The social worker says that he’ll grow out of it in time and with ‘corrective experiences’. I fear for the affect of all this negative behaviour on my own son.

Do you think this foster child will grow out of it or shall I just give up now?

A Having been a foster carer myself for eight years I do understand your doubts and fears.

This boy has grown up with certain conditioning – and so his present behaviour may be his way of keeping the bond with his birth family.

This is his ‘fantasy bond’ of attachment. The family system may be ‘dysfunctional’ and unhealthy, but it’s what he knows and feels to be the ‘norm’.

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P.T.S.D. childhood trauma and recovery from adverse childhood experiences A.C.E.Q I saw something on Facebook last week that has got me wondering if I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I haven’t had an accident or been attacked, but I do have the symptoms of always being on edge and expecting something bad to happen; having nightmares, and having flashbacks to the years of my mum and dad either beating or belittling me.

I know this stuff happened over 20 years ago but I’ve been living in a daze for as long as I can remember. It’s as if I’m in some sort of emotional limbo – until I get angry at the slightest thing and lash out.

I feel cut off and detached from people and have few real friends and no partner or kids. I always feel like I want to run away – but I don’t know what from, or where I want to run to! Might all this be due to PTSD and if so what can I do about it?

A There are different types of trauma – both physical and emotional – and our brains are affected and shaped by them, which in turn affects our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

There is a form of trauma that comes from having experienced an abusive childhood, and having had toxic parents (who poisoned your childhood due to their lack of proper care for you and your emerging needs). This is a type of ‘prolonged duration’ stress disorder.

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Low self-esteem caused by emotionally neglectful parentsQ My parents are both very brainy, but I’m so scatty and stupid. I just don’t get it. When I was small they weren’t around much because of their professional careers and I had different nannies and au-pairs until I turned 12 and had to look after myself. I’m an only child, and was often ill and looked after by the ‘hired help’.

I seemed to be OK at school and I did manage to squeeze into college, but I think they’re ashamed of me because I haven’t made much of myself and I’m so forgetful and dumb.

I do now have a partner and would love to be a mum myself one day.

If I was more like them I think we’d feel closer, and they’d like me more and want to meet up with me more often. I wonder what’s wrong with me and why am I so scatty?

A I feel discomfort both at the way you describe yourself, and your ‘inner child’s’ longing to be seen, accepted, loved and valued for who she is…without any conditions being set.

Comparing ourselves to others is a quick route to self-doubt and unhappiness – and there’s really no point in it!

You have your own unique character and personality. You may share genes with your parents but that doesn’t guarantee that you will be a carbon copy of them. Would you even want to be?

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