Under the Umbrella: Forgiving to Heal

Almost everyone has been hurt by the words or actions of another at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the times when we are hurt the deepest are often the result of people we are closest to, because they are the ones we are most vulnerable to. Children and youth in out-of-home care usually suffer some sort of hurt before coming into care. Even if they were too young or do not remember any hurt, they may harbor some resentments based on the simple fact that they are in care. As you may have experienced, walking around with a lot of negative feelings for other people can take a toll on a person; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Forgiveness is not about the other person or people but yourself. The act of letting go of resentments can lead to less forgive concept tell by shy cloud naturestress, healthier relationships, a stronger immune system, and a higher self-esteem. As you can imagine, holding grudges can have the opposite effect on a person, causing some people to be more depressed, angry, and have a harder time connecting with people. At times, it can be hard for children or youth to connect their mental health battles with hurt or resentment. If a child in your home is struggling with positive mental health, it might be worth exploring forgiveness with them.

What can you do to help the child in your home learn about forgiveness? Below are seven tips you might want to consider. These tips are expended on in our Journey of Forgiveness tip sheet:

  • Forgiveness takes practice.
  • Help your kids learn the art of feeling sorry or to feel empathy for others.
  • Validate your children’s feelings.
  • Teach your children to be kind and caring for others.
  • Encourage your children to talk to the person who hurt them.
  • Teach your children that forgiving someone does not mean the hurt goes away.
  • Teach your child these statements that encourage forgiveness. “I will try not to dwell on what you did wrong and instead I’ll try to think good thoughts about you.” “I will try not to bring up the situation simply to use it against you.”
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily for most of us. Some things that have happened to some of our kids seems almost unforgiveable. But if you start by teaching your kids to focus on the smaller things that are more easily forgiveable, you’re well on your way to tackling the bigger things, all in good time. Please know that we are here to help you and the children for whom you care along your journeys. Reach out anytime at 414-475-1246, toll free at 1-800-762-8063, or email us at info@coalitionforcyf.org.

Featured Tip Sheet

Under the Umbrella is the weekly enewsletter from the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. If you would like to sign up to receive this newsletter in your in-box, please do so here.

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