### Creating a Safe Emotional Space for Foster Children Going Through Trauma

Parenting Insights

Mark Daley shared a poignant reflection on the significance of providing a secure emotional environment for his foster child during moments of distress. This experience underscored the importance of creating a safe space to support children dealing with trauma.

In June 2016, Mark and his husband embarked on a challenging journey of fostering siblings, encountering the complexities of foster parenting firsthand. When faced with a tantrum from one of the children, Mark’s husband adeptly redirected the child’s attention, showcasing the value of this approach in calming the child down and fostering emotional well-being.

During a memorable incident with Ethan, the foster child, Mark found himself in a dilemma when Ethan refused to relinquish a remote control, leading to a meltdown. Despite initial struggles, Mark’s husband intervened skillfully, using playful redirection to alleviate the tension and bring joy back to the situation.

Mark’s realization of the parallels between managing a toddler’s attention and his past role as a press secretary highlighted the effectiveness of redirecting focus in diffusing challenging situations. This strategy not only proved beneficial in handling toddler tantrums but also laid the foundation for teaching emotional safety to their foster children.

Through these experiences, Mark learned the profound impact of establishing emotional safety for children in times of distress. By providing a nurturing and stable environment, Mark and his husband aimed to reassure the children of their unwavering love and support, emphasizing the importance of creating a secure emotional space for vulnerable youngsters.

Mark’s journey of fatherhood and fostering, as depicted in his memoir “Safe: A Memoir of Fatherhood, Foster Care, and the Risks We Take for Family” (Atria Books, January 30, 2024), serves as a testament to the transformative power of love, patience, and emotional security in parenting and caregiving.


The author and his husband’s fostering experience sheds light on the significance of emotional support and redirection in parenting, emphasizing the creation of a safe emotional space for children undergoing trauma.