Becoming a foster parent is an admirable goal, but there are many skills you are going to need to succeed at it.
Although being a kind person with financial stability and a good home might seem enough (and it’s certainly an essential foundation to build on), there are other skills you’re going to want to practice.
This is because fostering can throw you into many different situations and have you meeting a variety of different foster children, all with different needs.
With this in mind, here are five skills to ensure you can be the best foster parent.
Anyone wanting to become a foster parent needs to prepare to have a very thick skin. This is because a lot of foster children can be very challenging based on their experiences and background. Some foster children may have been exposed to:
- Domestic violence
- Destructive behavior
All of this can equate to dealing with a foster child who may make it very difficult for any figure of authority. As such, having the determination and resilience to deal with this sort of situation is key.
2. Avoid Being Overly Sensitive
With the previous point in mind, foster parents need to prepare to avoid taking any challenging behavior like this personally. If you’re easily upset and are going to get offended by anything your foster child does in reaction to any difficult background, it’s going to be hard to deal with the situation if you feel as though everything is a personal attack on you.
3. Good Communication
Communication when fostering is going to cover many different levels. Not only does it mean communicating with your foster child themselves, but also with a network of people involved in the caring of a child. You need to be able to keep up good communication with everyone involved, which includes knowing how to communicate with a child that might speak differently than an adult or communicating with children who may have learning difficulties.
While a lot of skills on this list come naturally to many people, good communication can easily be difficult. Therefore, it’s a good idea to choose a foster care agency that helps to train and build skills like this, such as Orange Grove Fostering, offering specialist support to foster parents.
4. Conflict Resolution
When you’re thinking about conflict in a fostering situation, it’s more about how you handle the problem rather than trying to prevent it altogether. Conflict can be inevitable (though hopefully, it won’t happen), and knowing how to stay calm and defuse a situation is important. Finding the right balance between being loving and supportive but also setting boundaries is key for a foster parent.
Not only do you need to be able to show compassion as a foster parent, but you need to be able to hold on to that compassion even when you might not get it back. Foster children in a difficult situation may not always show you kindness and compassion, but you need to maintain that need to help them and alleviate their suffering.