Tips for Foster Parenting That Make All the Difference
Foster parenting situations are never simple or straightforward on the surface, with all kinds of moving parts, past histories, and relationship barriers – preconceived and very real – that have a dramatic impact on the ability for both foster parents and children to come together right off the bat.
Thankfully though, with the help of some very effective foster parenting tips like the ones we are able to share with you below, you can dramatically improve your relationship with your foster children almost immediately and lay down a solid foundation for all of you to build off of.
Open and Maintain Effortless Lines of Communication
The most important thing for you to remember as a foster parent is that the children you are helping are coming from a situation where they are likely confused, angry, and (at the very least) at least a little bit unsettled.
The odds are going to be good that there is little trust at the outset towards their new foster parents, and you have to do absolutely everything in your power to gain just as much trust and respect as humanly possible right off the bat.
By opening up lines of communication and making it really, really easy for your foster child to talk to about anything whenever they want to – and being honest about listening without judgment – you’ll be able to set the trust wheels in motion. From there everything else becomes a lot easier.
Eliminate All Expectations
One of the most important foster parenting tips you need to really ingrain right off the bat is the importance of eliminating as many preconceived notions or ideals as you may have about this foster parenting situation ASAP.
Yes, you want to clearly outline your lifestyle, your family morals, and any house rules that you need to have outlined right off the bat, but you also have to understand that your foster child is (quite literally) a fish out of water and it will take time for them to adjust and acclimate to this new way of life.
Don’t expect them to adjust in a couple of days, a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months. Just continue to help and assist them in every way you are able to while making sure to give them every opportunity to succeed.
Take Care of the Fundamentals but Give Them Room for Independence
The most important thing you can do as a foster parent is to provide a safe, caring, and loving environment for your foster children without making them feel as though they are being confined or controlled by what to them may appear to be a complete and total stranger.
Provide as many basics as you are able to – food, clothing, and school supplies – but also make sure that you give them as much input into the rest of their lives as humanly possible. Set a budget and let them purchase and pick out their own clothes, their own snacks, and their favorite foods. You’ll give them a lot more control and independence in their lives, something that they may have felt they never had before.
Leverage these foster parenting tips with good old-fashioned common sense and you’ll be able to create an environment where everyone gets to flourish and feel loved and respected.