What makes a good Foster parent?
There are so many different qualities of a person who makes a good foster parent. The most important part is wanting to be a foster parent. Foster parents come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences so each situation will be unique and different in it’s own way.
Some of the key characteristics of a good foster parent are outlined here, but remember every situation is different and the main factor is the wants and needs of the child.
Empathy is one of the most important qualities of a foster parent. You want to acknowledge the child’s pain, be open about your feelings and model that for children.There is typically a long adjustment period for children who have been thrown into a new environment. You may not know or understand all that they’ve been there, so simply being present is very important, whether they utilize you for comfort at the moment or not. You also want to show gratitude to the child for being vulnerable with you. All while showing a genuine interest in their lives, encouraging them, and being supportive.
The foster care experience can be challenging, not only for children but for their caregivers and case workers alike. Historical behaviors creep up, children may try and sabotage because they’re unfamiliar with any outcome aside from negative ones. Children may engage in problem behaviors simply to get some attention.
The key here is being able to stick through the challenging/testing behaviors and see the child through.
We can never really predict the behavior of any person exactly, so it’s safe to say that being a foster parent requires some adaptability. Sometimes plans need to change, and sometimes we end up supporting through really challenging times that we thought were perfectly planned out. In the foster world, nothing goes as planned, so being adaptable is crucial.
Willingness to Support the Child
This means not only in providing them a home/family environment but also supporting them in their activities, their relationships, their religious experiences, their sexuality, their hobbies etc.
Your home may only be a chapter in their story, and you want to provide some stability and support during this hard time. This helps children develop their self-identity and is a crucial part of their development.
Many, if not most, foster children have endured immeasurable amounts of trauma, especially in being removed from their homes. Understanding that the child will need time to adjust to their new environment is crucial. The child may also engage in challenging behaviors, and a patient, loving foster parent is vital in helping the child navigate these.
Do you think you are ready to support a child?
Learn more about becoming a foster parent at https://www.samplesupports.com/foster-care.html