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Hate In The Heart Of A Child

by Anonymous

I am working with a young teen in foster care. I would like to help her to overcome this problem about hate in her heart that she revealed to me. She states she doesn't know why she feels that way. I suspect it is because she can't be with either one of her parents.

I do know that the father is incarcerated and the foster parent occasionally take the child to see the father at the jail. The mother she says nothing about. One day she wrote, "I got hate in my heart and nobody's done nothing to me to
make me feel like that".

I haven't any funds to buy videos for her to view. At this present time I just ask her to put in a journal how she feels on the days of her visit. She's only thirteen. How else might I help this child?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. It is great that this girl has you in her life to care for her and help her. You are going above and beyond by reaching out on this site for more ways to help her.

The journaling is a great idea. You might ask her to bring it with her to her meetings with you, and tell her she can read it to you if she likes--no pressure, just an opportunity to share her feelings with a safe person who cares.

Here are some other things you might try:

1) Ask about her favorite things to do. Learn why she likes those things, and what she likes about them--without judgment or advice from you.

2) Ask about her visits with her father. Ask why he's in jail, but in a very relaxed way. Reassure her she doesn't have to answer any questions she doesn't want to.

3) Ask her if she has any memories of her mother. Again, no pressure.

4) If she's open, suggest that she draw a picture of how she feels. Again, no judgment--this is just another way for her to communicate. You might also suggest that she draw a picture of her dad and/or mom.

5) Ask about any pets she's ever had. Often there is an emotional connection there that will help a child to open up.

Tell her that you are very sure that she is a good person, and that the hate in her heart is because of the pain she's been through. Reassure her that there's nothing wrong with her.

Hatred comes from anger, so also ask her if she's angry about anything. Ask about what makes her happy, sad and scared. Ask if anyone has ever loved her unconditionally.

Most of all, thank you for being there for this child.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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