FAW: The Many Emotions of Kinship Care
The Many Emotions of Kinship Care
For a lot of kinship parents, the decision to change hats from being a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling to being in a caregiver or parent role literally happened over night – or at least with little or no warning. So many significant and abrupt changes in such a short amount of time can stir up a wide array of emotions, leaving you overwhelmed and exhausted.
Do any of these seem familiar?
- Anger towards or disappointment in the parents of the relative child now in your care
- Guilt or embarrassment or thoughts like, “how could this happen to my family?”
- Empathy for the child’s parent(s) and what they are feeling
- Divided loyalty to the parent (your relative) and the child
- Difficulty letting go of your former role as grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, etc.
- Resentment towards the biological parent(s) or even the child
- Regret for your decision to step in and become the primary caregiver
- Relief that the child is now safe and being well cared for
It is important for you to know that, if you are thinking or feeling or experiencing any of these things – or even the myriad other emotions we have not listed out – this is completely normal and you’re definitely not alone. Caring for someone else also means caring for yourself and finding ways to avoid letting all of these emotions eat you up inside, turn your life upside down, or leave you feeling more estranged from other members of your family.
- The Many Emotions of Kinship Care
- Managing Holiday Dynamics with Kin
Download: FAW Fall 2016
Author: Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
Additional Author: Foster Care & Adoption Resource Center