Primary Caregiver Issues

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I work ... as a Parent Liaison for (the Minnesota Adoption Support and Preservation Department). Once I had a phone call from a lady who blurted out, “How long does God expect me to do this?” She went on to say that she did not like her adopted child (with FASD) and did not want to live with him anymore.

I explained to her that what she was feeling was common, and what her child needed was a correct diagnosis, services, and for her to be calm. What she needed was respite, hope, a support group, to be calm, knowledge about FASD and parenting techniques specific to FASD.

   John Hays, 2009

Words to Live By

  • Create structure, routine and consistency.
  • Be positive; laugh whenever you can.
  • Argue with them less.
  • Engage them in activities that they enjoy.
  • Hug them and tell them you love them, even when you are upset or angry.
  • Crying is OK.
  • Monitor and regulate what they watch on television, video, computer, internet, etc.
  • Focus on positive decisions they make.
  • Set realistic expectations; do not ask too much of them.
  • Get enough sleep, good food, and exercise. They need you to be at your best to help them be their best.
  • Get support for yourself!
  • Never give up!!!!

"Mindfulness helps you go home to the present.
And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Just having positive experiences, feelings, and thoughts is not enough. Due to the brain's "negativity bias", positive experiences pass through the brain like water through a sieve, while negative experiences are caught.

We need to engage positive experiences actively to weave them into the brain.
  • Look for positive facts and let them become positive experiences.

  • Savor the positive experience for 30 seconds, feel it in your body and emotions, intensify it.

  • Sense that the positive experience is soaking into your brain and body­ allow it to register deeply in your emotional memory.

  • Use an image - water soaking into a sponge, balm soaking into dry lips, placing jewels in a treasure chest in your heart.... Installing, downloading... find what works for you.
Kinds of positive experiences to take in:
  • The small pleasures of ordinary life

  • The satisfaction of attaining goals or recognizing accomplishments- especially small, every-day ones

  • Feeling grateful, contented, and fulfilled

  • Feeling included, cared about, liked, respected, and loved

  • Becoming aware of good feelings that come from being kind, fair, generous, loving, and forgiving

  • Recognizing that you are alright in this moment, there is no threat

  • Recognizing when you feel safe and strong

  • Recognizing your own positive character traits

  • Spiritual Realizations

Useful Links

For Caregivers, From Caregivers
How to Care for the Caregiver of Children and Youth with FASD
Twelve Parenting Goals for Parents and Caregivers
Caregiver Syndrome Is a Recognizable Medical Condition
Valerie Lipow,
Jul 31, 2012, 3:34 PM