Being a foster parent means more than raising children. More often than not, those who come in through the foster system are suffering from trauma in one way or another, even if they have not yet managed to process or understand it. It takes a lot for children to be taken away from their parents, or they may be grieving the loss of their parents and have nowhere else to go. Regardless of how or why the child or children in question ended up in the foster system, they will always benefit from a foster parent who cares and who displays these top characteristics:
Experience with Children
Regardless of which of the types of fostering situations you are interested in signing up for, having experience with children is a must. The experience can be with your own children, with younger siblings, or through volunteering, nannying, or babysitting. When signing up to be a foster parent, you will also offer training and support to suit the type of fostering you are interested in offering, which you can learn more about from thefca.co.uk.
Determination and Resilience
You need thick skin to be a foster parent. There is no guarantee that the child you foster will be well-behaved because how kids respond to the traumatic situation that landed them in foster care is up in the air. If they haven’t been in the foster system before, even the kid themselves won’t know how they will react.
You need to be determined to offer a safe, stable place for the child in your care for as long as they need you. This means setting a routine and boundaries and not breaking down or giving up when the times get tough.
Compassion and Communication
A great foster parent is one that helps the children they care for feel safe. Safe at home, safe to open up, and safe to be themselves. Being compassionate, open, honest, and great at communication can help you offer that safe space for the child you foster. The communication skills you offer will need to change and adapt as well. The children you foster may not have the words to communicate, so you’ll want visual and other communication aids to make it easier for them to communicate their concerns, what stresses them, and more.
Being able to communicate is second to being able to listen. When children enter a foster system, they can often feel like their needs and their voice gets drowned out. They likely won’t want to be there and have had their wishes, complaints, and issues ignored. Listening to them, acknowledging their pain, and working to make improvements with their input can help improve the situation they enjoy in your home.
You need to roll with the punches. You need to be prepared to learn, try, and try again. Even experienced foster parents learn new things and need to change the way they approach each child they foster because children are unique, and their situations will differ.