SHIELD for Protection
I’m a foster parent. Currently, my husband and I have four foster children in our home. It is fun, chaotic, stressful, heartbreaking, exhausting, exhilarating, and completely amazing. If you have kids, you know what’s like to encounter attacks from misunderstandings.
It always surprises me to have the children’s caseworker tell us he investigated us. I instantly need to protect myself emotionally by shielding, otherwise, I feel like I am being accused of doing something wrong. Like the time that Jeff*, my nine-year old, told his biological parents that we only feed him veggies. As if that would be bad, but it is so far from the truth. Imagine the confirmation the caseworker got when he came during dinner time and we were serving up gourmet hot dogs with chips and a side salad.
Or the time when Jeff really wanted a pair of heely shoes and tried to convince his parents to get him a pair by complaining he didn’t have any shoes. I had to laugh when Jeff had at least eight pairs of shoes in the middle of his room. Not to mention the brand new pair of shoes he had on.
I have to shield myself from these attacks. I can’t anticipate when the attacks will come, but I can shield myself from letting it impact me. First, I need to have nothing with it personally, otherwise, it will affect my relationship with my foster child. Afterall, he’s just a child trying to connect with his parents in a way that he thinks will work. Second, I shield myself by allowing humor to deflect off the attack. Shielding is a win-win for me. It gives me extra insight into the child without being injured by the attack.
I’ve noticed I take things personally in other aspects of my life as well. It can really hurt. Next time, I will shield. Through experience, I know shielding makes a difference in my relationship with the conflict.
Tell me what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on shielding!
*names have been changed to protect the innocent