Special thank you to guest blogger — From R.J. Formanek – R.J. is one of our beloved FASD Survival Strategy Teachers
When dealing with FASD it is important to recognize that everyone is at some point, confronted with grief. And with the growing number of grandparents taking over raising children I feel it is something we need to confront, understand, and accept.
Let’s take a look at who grieves, and why.
The Child – The child living with FASD grieves for his own lost potential at times, but very often the child grieves each and every time he fails and lets down those around him. He wants to do well, he tries to do well… but when he fails often it isn’t just A failure, it’s ANOTHER failure. This leads to guilt, shame, and self blaming… that’s ALL grief. The child is grieving. The Parent – The parent of a child with FASD is often battling feelings of guilt and shame as well, whether that is their biological child or not. The reasons for the bio mom may seem evident, but the adopted mother or caregiver also join her in a shared grief of sorts. Each of them wants the best for the child, and each time the child fails at something, or is hurt the parent feels not only that pain, but the guilt of not being able to stop it. Not being able to help when you want to causes feelings of shame and guilt. The parents are grieving. Grandparents – The grandparents are often saddled with guilt themselves, and this often goes unnoticed by those who don’t really understand. There is an added dynamic here, the grandparents are naturally grieving for the child, the same as any other parent. But they are also often grieving for their own child as well, the parent of the child they are now raising. Many people do not understand this double level of guilt and shame and how it impacts so many people. Like any parent, when their child fails they feel it, and doubly when raising an FASD affected grandchild. The grandparents as well are grieving.
When we deal with people in the FASD world it is important to recognize this, and rather than ignore it we should honor what these families are going through every single day.
FREE sample pages from Broken Heart – a concrete understanding workbook to help adults, late elementary and teens deal with grief.
This is inter-generational grief. There is no ‘cure’, but there is acceptance and understanding. Everyone is at a different point in this journey with grief, and we all must deal with it at some point.
It is good to help one another along this hard part of the journey; we need to remember we are all in this together.
R.J. Formanek, FASD Survival Strategy Teacher
What is FASD?