What makes a good foster parent for children in need?

What makes a good foster parent for children in need?

Who makes a great Foster parent?

Making strong Foster parents make strong families for our children in care

Foster Parents play such an essential role in a child’s life! They come from various backgrounds, and all have a different reason for what led them to become great foster parents. However, what makes someone an effective or “good” foster parent?

Empathy and excellent listening skills 

You were empathetic means that you could understand and share the feelings of another. Ways to show empathy include acknowledging the person’s pain, being open about your feelings, showing gratitude to the person for being vulnerable, showing a genuine interest, encouraging, and being supportive. Being a good listener shows that you care and improves the bond between you and a child. 

Perseverance when things get tough 

Being a foster parent will not always be sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. There will be times when your child may test your patience or engage in a behavior that you do not condone. They do not need someone who will give up on them quickly. Often, they have already had someone give up on them, which may be what they expect from you. It is up to you to show them that you are there with them to the end, no matter what.

Flexibility and adaptability 

You can never predict what a child will do, so it is pretty safe to say that one needs to be flexible and adaptable when becoming a foster parent. Children may have difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle or would like to keep certain traditions the same while in foster care. Many children that are in care may receive services such as Intensive In-home, outpatient therapy, or occupational therapy. To ensure that the children are receiving their services, you may need to rearrange your schedule or depend on natural supports (mother, sister, brother, etc.)

Patience and humor 

Being a parent will teach you that patience is a virtue. Foster children have experienced so much trauma and have various ways of expressing themselves because of this. There may be a variety of behaviors and emotions that a child in care goes through. Being a foster parent requires patience as the first couple of months may be rocky and an adjustment, but know that you are there to support the child during this time.

Stability and consistency in your personal and family life 

Many children who come into care may not have had the best example of healthy relationships or stability. They may have grown up in an abusive household or moved from hotel to hotel room with their family. Being able to provide a stable, loving, and nurturing environment and model healthy relationships is something that a child needs in their life.

An ability to guide and discipline children without the use of physical punishment  

Many children in care have been through much emotional and physical abuse; therefore, engaging in or even threatening physical abuse is unacceptable as a foster parent. Using a more trauma aware method is encouraged. This method includes techniques such as reflection time, calm down corners, or having conversations about the behaviors. During this time, it may also be best to teach problem-solving skills to choose between the appropriate way to handle the situation and the inappropriate way.

Being able to look after yourself emotionally and staying well 

Part of being a parent is being a role model for your child. Your child watches everything you do and learns from it, whether positive or negative. Showing your emotions healthily and appropriately is acceptable and encouraged while being a foster parent. 

A willingness to work with other people in the child’s life such as birth parents and caseworkers 

Working with birth, parents, and other stakeholders is very important while being a foster parent. More than likely, if a child has a goal of reunification or relative placement, there will be some visitation. Visitation may be supervised or unsupervised. Family visitation is encouraged so that the child can maintain a familial bond, therefore, providing a smoother transition into the home. Caseworkers and those providing any other type of services to your child (therapist, teacher, doctor, etc.) will play a significant role in your life as you all have the common goal of ensuring what is best for the child. 

A willingness to support the child to develop a sense of identity that includes their culture, language, and religion, where appropriate, is so vital to all foster children.

 As their role model, you have the duty of ensuring that a child develops a sense of self through their self-identity. That includes you as the parent, ensuring that they make morally right decisions and maintain a positive mindset for their culture, language, and religion. 

 

What makes a good foster parent for a child in need
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