When Too Much Gift Giving Can Cause Harm for Youth from Hard Places

Most foster and kin parents are very aware of the hurts and traumas of children and youth in their care. Many want to try everything to heal them, help them, and offer them the best of the best. A natural response from many adults is to compensate those traumas by wanting to give, give, give.

Although giving is good, if not done thoughtfully it can cause a child or youth to feel overwhelmed. Receiving too many presents can be too much for a child to digest. It can be triggering and cause significant dysregulation.

During this time of many celebrated holidays, caregivers have the opportunity to provide the kids and youth in their care with many gifts and freedoms. What foster youth really need, the most nourishing gift you can give, is closeness, family bonding time, togetherness—moments that create memories. Try baking cookies together, driving to view neighborhood lights, playing a game from start to finish. Make a craft, or spend an hour of one-on-one time.

Give some toys, new clothing, shoes…but only in a measured amount. Let the abundance be family bonding time! After all, connection is the best medicine.