The Top 7 skills that make people great foster Parents

The Top 7 skills that make people great foster Parents

In 2020, 400,700 kids were in the foster care system, including Treatment Foster Care. Of this vast number of children in care, nearly fifty-eight thousand kids were adopted. That means roughly fourteen percent of children in the foster care system receive a permanent home, without counting the number of children placed back with their primary caretakers or parents. 

There are innumerable kids in the system; they each need loving foster parents to give them the care and attention they deserve. Foster parenting is difficult, but you only need a few essential foster parenting skills to learn how to be a foster parent. Keep reading to find out what these necessary skills are and how suited for foster parenting you are.

Patience, Grace, Compassion

Exhibit patience, grace, and compassion when foster parenting. When wondering what I need to be a foster parent, assess your empathy for the foster children. 

You may also receive negative feedback from people close to you and your community. It can be challenging for others to understand why someone would want to make the difficult task of being a foster parent. If your spouse or children have a hard time adjusting to the idea of you becoming a foster parent, give it time there is no rush to become a foster parent and turn your home into a foster home for children in need. Your Child Placing Agency should be on board with you getting buy-in from all your potential foster family, not just you.

It's a big life decision that not only affects you and the kids you'll be fostering but the close ones around you too. Once you make this incredible decision, have grace with the kids you welcome into your home. All the skills you learn in the training and support groups, and the specific skills you learn as you go through the home study process will help you be excellent as a foster parent. The technical skills you learn in training will benefit you not just with foster children but with all your life and social skills.

They likely have moved around a lot and need time adjusting to your household rules and routine. Many foster kids have a troubled past, resulting in emotional turmoil. The child may be used to acting out in specific ways as a trauma response. 

Exhibit your patience, grace, and lenience in these situations. Know that it will take time for them to feel comfortable and learn to trust you. 

Open Communication

One of the top reasons relationships fail is a lack of honest communication. Your foster kids need to know what to expect from you and what you can expect from them. This same principle applies to all relationships. 

Communicating allows this to occur. Do not let your hardships reflect how you treat your foster kids. You'll have to learn to set feelings aside and come to any problems objectively through creating an open dialogue. 

Discipline

Foster kids require predictable and reliable disciplinary action. All kids go in phases of rebellion, testing boundaries, and making mistakes. It's natural to the process of growing up and not related to children to only children in foster care. 

However, because foster kids have a likely history of trauma, how you react and discipline them from their mistakes sets the tone for how practical your foster parenting skills are. 

Teach them to have mindfulness of their actions. You can use positive reinforcement for positive behavioral changes. Always recognize the work they're doing to better themselves. 

Alternatively, consider giving them a space to decompress when you need to discipline. Kids have heightened emotions, and instead of a time-out, they can learn and benefit from quiet reflection in a safe area of their own. This teaches them to provide a trustworthy environment to grow and learn in.

Adaptability

As you knew it before, life is going to become very different when fostering a kid. If fostering a child leads to adoption, you'll be in for life, complete with new routines. 

Foster kids require emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual effort to take care of them. You won't have as much free time as you did before. Unexpected events may come up due to your foster child's emotional, medical, or physical needs. Your time management is critical in your success with being a foster parent.

Be open to the unexpected and know that your routine isn't permanent. This flexibility and adaptability give you the skills necessary to provide for foster children and prepare yourself for them to leave your home too potentially. 

Stamina and Energy

Due to foster kids needing a bit more care than kids without emotional or mental issues, they require a ton of energy. If you fall easy under pressure and get stressed quickly, it may be difficult for you to keep up with the changing needs of the kids. 

If you find yourself stressed, there are resources provided by child-placing agencies that help you learn the skills necessary to care for children. Over time, you'll learn from the experiences and become better at handling them.

Any parent knows how life is on full-speed-ahead mode when raising children. The very same goes for fostering kids. Don't set yourself up for failure if you cannot keep up with the quick routine of raising kids.

Role-Modeling 

Many foster kids may feel lonely, having no parental figure guiding them properly. You get the opportunity to set an example for them. 

Kids are like sponges and think like a product of their environment. They will naturally and subconsciously pick up on your behaviors and speech. If your speech is discriminatory or derogatory, they may normalize this way of thinking. 

Be mindful of how you act, knowing that you can influence them positively by setting the example.

Boundary Setting

Foster kids may have a lot of pent-up hurt due to their situation. Many of them feel neglected and abandoned. A great skill to have is to establish boundaries. 

Some are even confused and frustrated about why they have to be in their situations. By setting boundaries, you know that you are there for them emotionally. However, they aren't allowed to take advantage of you or walk all over you either.

Develop a healthy balance between the two to establish a good relationship that works for everyone involved.

Foster Parenting

These skills are a few among the many needed to make a good foster parent. If you don't have them all, don't fret. The foster parenting process is a learning curve for both the children and you are not given a job description when you volunteer to help a child. Still, you will be learning a lot in the short term until you find your path to being a great Foster Parent in your unique way. 

You'll grow as a person develop healthier habits and coping mechanisms while positively influencing kids' lives in need. With so many foster kids out there, you'll match with the easier ones to handle at first. Programs are set up so you list which type of child you'd like to be matched with so that you're well-equipped to foster them. 

Contact FosterVa today here to become a foster parent! The kids need you.

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