'Sometimes, healing looks like choosing marshmallows for a snack just because you can, and because now you know they're soft,' explains the mom.
Child neglect can cause children to experience trauma, which can be complicated to deal with. What helps is parents making an effort to understand these children and help them heal with gentle and sensitive parenting that keeps their past in mind. Grace (@one_more_arrow) explains how she understands this with regard to her foster daughter, Firecracker, and her relationship with a simple snack like marshmallows.
Firecracker was one of 79% of foster children who were placed in the system due to child neglect. Grace shares how she took Firecracker to Target one morning to pick out some things she liked because they were working on structuring her identity without the influence of other people. In a video that garnered over 300k views on TikTok, she reveals that Firecracker's snack of choice was marshmallows. Firecracker was eating her marshmallows in the car with Grace when she revealed how she feels about them.
Firecracker opened up to Grace about how marshmallows can be "sometimes hard, sometimes marshmallows is just marshmallows and sometimes marshmallows is S'mores." When prompted to elaborate on that, she explained she had previously lived in an abusive household before moving in with Grace, and a bag of marshmallows was found at the bottom of the pantry in the house.
Grace shared, "When things were going on that were not safe, she would go into the pantry and she said she would lick the marshmallows until somebody could get her food to eat. They were hard, they were hard as rocks because they were old." Firecracker reminded Grace of her fifth birthday party, when they roasted marshmallows, put them on a graham cracker and topped them with chocolate, but she didn't eat hers. Grace said, "It's okay sweetheart, it's just a marshmallow," when Firecracker apologized for not eating hers.
Finally, she recalled a time when they all made s'mores again, but she ate hers and realized that the marshmallow was still soft. Firecracker asked Grace to place her marshmallows on the bottom shelf of the pantry. Grace complied by placing them in an airtight container. "They won't be hard, baby girl," she assured her as she placed them on the bottom shelf.
In the caption, Grace expressed, "I have been a foster parent for nearly 7 years. I still can’t always predict what things will be triggers for the kids who enter my home. But kindness and gentleness always go a long way. And sometimes, healing looks like choosing marshmallows for a snack just because you can... and because now you know they're soft."
People in the comments admired Firecracker sharing this moment with Grace who created a safe space for her children to share their feelings. "The outright BRAVERY for her to choose marshmallows when she had so much trauma with them. Sweet brave beautiful girl," commented @lauraelizabethanne. "Sometimes, life is hard. Sometimes, life is just life. Sometimes, life is amazing," wrote @sweetosaurus_. "Thank you for keeping her marshmallows soft. I think it’s a great metaphor," added @mack.daddie. When people opened up about foster children having food trauma, Grace wrote, "Food trauma is so hard. But establishing food security is so amazing for building trust and attachment!"
It is important for foster parents to understand their child's past better. AdoptUSKids reported, "Ongoing trauma often disrupts children’s sense of security, safety and sense of themselves and alters the way they see and respond to people and situations in their lives." To help them heal, parents must be loving, kind and patient with the foster child. It is also critical to be able to communicate because the child may not understand why they are feeling a certain way. Another way to assist a child in overcoming trauma is to try to comprehend it and how it affects the child. It is critical to recognize that the child will need time to heal from the trauma, so one shouldn't expect results right away. Finally, reaching out to resources like parenting groups, counseling or a pediatrician is always a good idea.