Foster parenting is a commendable way to help your community in its efforts to raise bright, self-confident children that will grow up into stand-out citizens. There may be no better way to bring enrichment to the lives of others, as well as your own, than to open up your home to children in need of a warm, stable environment. There are plenty of support groups and resources that can help guide you into a successful foster parenting situation. In addition, here are a few basic tips that will come in handy to remember for every placement you receive, no matter how long you’ve been a foster parent.
Make a Family Decision
Foster parenting isn’t a decision to be made on a whim. It should take a lot of thought and careful consideration to decide if it’s the right thing for your family, and everyone in your family should be a part of the final decision. Bringing a new child into your household will affect everyone involved, including grandparents, siblings and other relatives that are in close and consistent contact with your immediate family. Go over the positives and any possible negatives, and make sure your family is strong financially and mentally itself before adding a foster child into the mix.
Elect to do Short-Term or Long-Term Care
Some people may not realize that short-term foster care is an option and can be a good place to start if you are still unsure about providing long-term care. Short-term foster care is sometimes needed while an investigation takes place or when a parent has a medical emergency and no one else to help them care for their child. This can help new foster parents get used to the process of working with the system and children.
Know Your Limits
Some foster children may come with serious mental or physical disabilities and will require extra care and commitment. Be aware of a child’s circumstances before agreeing to take them in so that you can be adequately prepared. It will be better for everyone if you are honest about your limitations in the beginning and know what needs you are willing and able to handle.
Create a Nurturing Environment Through Communication and Connection
This is one of the main purposes of foster parenting. Your home may be the only example of a well-balanced and secure family environment that a foster child has ever seen. Aside from putting food on the table and getting them to school each day, child welfare agencies are looking for placements that will provide a safe haven, build on the child’s strengths and not focus on the negative, develop a healthy connection, boost self-esteem, communicate effectively and appropriately manage behaviors.
Finding a competent professional that specializes in working with foster and adoptive families or meeting up with other foster parents in your local area is a great way to share stories, get advice on managing certain issues that may come up and find emotional support. Social media and Internet forums are also playing a big part in the foster parenting community now, which makes it easy to connect with other like-minded individuals even when you can’t get out of the house.
A big decision such as foster parenting can be full of ups and downs, but you can be successful if you continue to hone your skills and keep in mind these helpful guidelines.
About the Author
Tiffany Olson makes her home in Northern California and loves to blog on topics that will help or enhance families and children. When she’s not busy writing you will usually find her reading, cooking, or taking weekend trips.