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Foster parenting – Three tips for foster parents

Foster parenting – Three tips for foster parents

Foster parenting is a challenging but rewarding job. It is a beautiful thing to give a child a home and a chance for a normal life. At the same time, you have to understand that you’re taking a child under your wing without really knowing what they’ve been through or the ways they’ve been traumatized by the system and by their feelings of abandonment. It takes a special person to provide a safe harbor for such a child. In this article, you will learn three important tips for foster parents.

  • Your foster child will defy your authority. Expect this and you won’t be disappointed. The reason a child has a problem with your authority is that he probably never had an authority figure in his life that he could trust. Think about this. She is in the system because she was somehow abandoned. It does not matter whether this abandonment is intentional or not. Even if a child is in the system because his parents have died and there is no one else in the family to take him in, he still feels abandoned. One of the first things you need to do over and over again is show this child that you are an authority figure they can trust. Although she won’t always like the decisions you make as a parent, if she sees that you are acting in her best interest, she will come to trust you and respect your authority over time.
  • Know where your foster child is developmentally. Since you have not raised this child from birth, you do not know which of her dependency needs have been met and which have not. This is why understanding child development is a must for foster parents. Once you know where your foster child is on the human development path, you will know how to meet their needs so they will begin to feel that their needs will be met in the same way in the future. This is essential to creating a healthy relationship and a strong, emotional bond.
  • Foster parenting (like all parenting) involves spending time with your foster child. I’m not just talking about quality time, which most parents see as doing something fun (like going to the movies), but what I call “quantity time.” Quantitative time creates a bond by experiencing everyday tasks together, such as doing housework, walking the dog, or grocery shopping. This is what parents do to teach their children how the world works. Something magical happens when hands are busy with everyday tasks. Emotional walls come down and the intimacy of the heart is often shared. Do you remember the heartfelt conversations you had while helping your mom wash the dishes or your dad fix the car? It’s a great way to bond as you work together to create a cozy and comfortable home.

Foster parenting can be a mutually rewarding experience for parent and child. As you learn to see who your foster child is beyond the coping skills she has developed to protect her from the world’s authority figures, you will discover a beautiful child who longs for the chance to be loved and to love in return.

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