While you may picture yourself getting a baby or toddler to foster, the truth is that you could find yourself with an older child who has been through a lot. He or she may push you away, no matter how kind you are. He or she may also act out and react in ways that you wouldn’t imagine. Here are some tips to help a troubled foster child:
Make sure that you have a history before taking him or her into your home.
Most children in the foster care system have a story. They may have been neglected, abused, or even been sent from one home to another. Many have parents with issues that may come into play.
Try to understand what you know.
Many children who are troubled act out. They get angry easily and struggle to accept your attention. By knowing and trying to understand what they have gone through, you will be better prepared to parent your foster child.
Then, work hard to be a good parent for your foster child.
You don’t have to be perfect (or have a perfect home) in order to take on the responsibility of a foster child. You just need to be supportive and patient. Stay as calm as possible at all times. Don’t just react when something happens. Instead, listen when they explain their side of the story. Take time before you end up saying something that you may regret.
It also helps to have clear rules.
Children need to know what is expected of them or they will struggle to do the right thing. Set clear guidelines so your foster child knows exactly what he or she should do.
The punishments also need to be clear and enforced.
Your foster child needs to know what will happen if they don’t follow the rules. However, it is just as important to be consistent. Don’t give them chance after chance. If they screw up, they need to be held accountable for it.
Taking in an older foster child can be quite challenging, though the rewards can be plentiful. It is important to know the child’s story and do your best to understand it. Then, be open and nurturing. You also need to have clear rules and punishments. Make sure that you follow through.
Learn more about fostering a troubled foster child.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in becoming a foster parent or would like to support our efforts.