Updated: Apr 21, 2021
If you’re like me, you have really missed the close physical contact with family and close friends during this seemingly endless season of Covid-19. I miss the handshakes and hugs, and the freedom to sit closer that six feet from some of those (other than my immediate family) who are dearest to me. We are feeling restricted from something we’ve always taken for granted.
Consistent, healthy human touch is necessary to our emotional and mental well-being. Unfortunately, this has been a missing element in the lives of many foster and adopted children. The only type of touch many of them have known has been harmful and abusive. We’ve all heard stories about children who have been taken away from a physically abusive parent, only to pine away in his or her desire to be back with that parent. It sounds crazy, but in that child’s mind, physical contact that is painful is better than no physical contact at all.
Studies have shown that children living in some orphanages are often touch-deprived. This has been especially true in Eastern European orphanages where there is often a very low caregiver-to-child ratio and where caregivers have been instructed not to get attached to the children. Orphanage children in these “cold climate” countries are also often wrapped in several layers of clothing in the winter (due to lack of adequate heat in some these facilities), thereby making critically important, nurturing skin-to-skin contact with caregivers even more difficult.
What should healthy touch look like with a foster or adopted child who has been neglected and/or abused? There are numerous factors involved in order to answer
this question. In my next post we will explore these factors. Thanks for reading and
Photo on Pixabay by duncanreid