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Session 1/15

Page 4/5: Topic B: The first exercise in the programme

Topic B: Your personal experience with attachment and separation

Here is the first exercise to help you realize the valuable knowledge you already have about how children react when they experience separations from caregivers. This will help you understand how you can use your life experiences as a resource in understanding and working with foster children.

Interview between two foster parents:

  • The purpose of the interview is to find out what you know about being attached to important people and how you reacted to separations while you grew up. Then the aim is to discuss how foster parents can use childhood experiences in their work with foster children.
  • One participant interviews another for 20 minutes.
  • Then roles are reversed and the other person interviews.
  • After the interviews, you will discuss the outcomes with each other.


Your start in life:

  1. What was your parents’ situation when your mother became pregnant? Where did they live? How old were they? How many children did they have?
  2. Do you know how your mother’s pregnancy and your birth went? (Did your parents tell any stories about it?)
  3. Who looked after you from your birth until you were 3 years old?
  4. What is the traditional way of taking care of babies in your culture?
  5. What was the best thing about the way your parents cared for you?
  6. What is the most safe and comforting situation you can remember from your childhood with a parent or caregiver?
  7. What is the first difficult separation you can remember? How did you react to it? What did you think and feel?
  8. How did you cope with this separation? (Anger towards the parent, “freezing inside”, trying to forget or ignore and function anyway, feeling sad?)
  9. Have you seen any of the children in your care react in the same ways you did – who?


Your professional development:

  1. What made you choose to become a kinship or foster parent?
  2. What is most important for you as a caregiver for your children?


Your current work with parenting foster children:

  1. What do you find most rewarding and most difficult in your daily work?
  2. Do you recognize any of the children’s reactions to separations from your own childhood?
  3. How can this understanding be used in the way you work with them?

When you have answered these questions on your own or with a fellow foster parent, take some time to reflect upon your answers.