T HE IMPORTANCE OF WELLNESS F O R CHILDREN
with an emphasis on Foster Children
Counseling for Wellness Term Paper
2 ! ! Webster’s dictionary deﬁnes wellness as, “The condition of good physical and mental
health, especially when maintained by proper diet and exercise. (Webster’s II 2005) ! Armed with this deﬁnition and my love for children who are not recognized for their
importance or meaning, it is my sincere desire to ﬁnd a way to make wellness a part of the “must haves” when it comes to taking care of the children in our foster care system. Children who are displaced from their biological parents and/or families are often left in homes where not only do they feel very alone and scared, they feel as though they have no voice and no choice when it comes to asking for their needs to be met. As children, most do not know what their true needs are, or how to get their needs met. In today’s age, less attention has
been given to strategies for promoting children’s resilience and healthy developmental trajectories. ( Pedro- Carroll 2001) ! From the deﬁnition in Webster’s dictionary, we can see two very important con-
cepts. First, for children to have have proper wellness in their life, they need good physical and mental health. Second, this is maintained by proper diet and exercise. (Webster’s II 2005) ! For children in loving homes, we would all like to think that both of these attributes
would ring clear in all environments where stability is a factor, however that is not always the case. Children who are loved dearly by a two-parent family can also be fed unhealthy foods on a daily basis and lack any type of physical activity. (Kumpfer 2003) ! Stress factors and not having any “down” time also allows for poor mental wellness
in these same children. Families who are heavily involved in their children’s lives can #
constantly be running from one place to another on a daily or weekly basis. Parents do this to assure that their children experience the extracurricular activities they feel will encourage and maintain good physical health in their child’s lives. A parent that tries their very best can still fall short of providing good dietary health. The overactive family does not have as much time for sit down dinners as it did in the past. It has become very acceptable to dine while going through a fast food drive-up on their way to the ball ﬁelds and other activities. ! Foster children face many challenges on a day to day basis concerning their wellness.
Stress from being removed from the only world they have ever known (whether good or bad) is just the beginning of the factors that plague a foster child’s wellness. The foster child’s stress can be related to many issues in their lives. Most of these children suﬀer from anger, loneliness, fear of the unknown, and a deﬁnite fear of the people with whom they have been sent to live. If adults would simply put themselves in the shoes of these children and obtain the sensitivity to their needs and desires, perhaps that would lead to new meaning when it comes to speaking up for these children. The emotions alone can cause enough stress that a child can shut down emotionally. Some of the stressors they deal with daily !
may involve the unanswered questions in their lives such as:! ! ! a. Is this my fault? b. Where are my brothers and/or sisters? c. What about my friends? d. What school are they taking me to?
4 e. Who will feed my pets? f. Will I ever get to go home? g. Who are these people I am now living with? ! Although many adults feel that they have empathy and express concern for children
in these situations, it is very easy to look beyond the child’s needs and stick to the regimen that has been put before them as “rules to live by” when it comes to foster care. ! On September 8, 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Social Services announced
their creation of the Foster Child Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was...