Just being compassionate and wanting to help isn’t enough to be an effective foster parent or a good fit for the system. You must understand that many children come from difficult backgrounds and may be facing many struggles. As someone who wants to provide them guidance, you have to provide a structured environment but should also understand that it may take a while for them to adapt and change their behaviors. You must be willing and able to cope with a range of behaviors and not give up on them when things get tough; that is when they need you the most.
Characteristics of an Excellent Foster Parent
If you’re wondering “what is a foster parent’s role in the child’s life?” and what it takes to be an effective foster parent, here are a few traits to keep in mind:
Embrace Them as Part of the Family
These children often come from unstable backgrounds where people move in and out of their lives. They may lack self-esteem, be disruptive, or have difficulty trusting others. As a foster parent, you want to make them feel like a family member and treat them as such. Give them a room of their own to decorate, hang their artwork on the refrigerator, or celebrate their good grades.
Treat them with Respect and Compassion
Recognize that they’ve been through hard times and likely had to grow up very quickly. Be respectful of their situation and provide support in reuniting them with their birth family. Be willing to listen when they need to talk even if you don’t necessarily have the answers. Love them even when it’s hard so they know you aren’t going to give up on them.
Provide Learning Opportunities
Children are like sponges, constantly absorbing information from the world around them. Provide them with engaging and endless learning opportunities to foster their enthusiasm for learning and their need to explore new things. Take them to the zoo, the museum, and on vacation with your family.
Support Social/Emotional Growth
Being separated from their birth parents can be difficult. Create an environment that teaches children how to effectively express themselves and share their thoughts and feelings. Help them build healthy relationships and connections with others because this will be critical throughout their lives. The inability to establish social and emotional growth can seriously impact the child’s life, including their physical condition.
Take on the Financial and Parental Responsibilities of Caring for a Child
When you take in a child as a foster parent, you are also assuming all the financial and parental responsibilities of raising them. This means providing for their basic needs, being a role model, setting rules and routines, taking them out and about in the community, and making sure they receive medical care. You become their guardian, and their well-being is entrusted to you.
No two days are the same. Being able to quickly adapt and adjust to the child’s changing needs is essential. They may see or hear something that triggers a meltdown or stirs up old memories, and you must be ready to deal with these situations in a healthy, supportive manner.
Train and Become an Effective Foster Parent with Kamali’i Foster Family Agency!
Kamali’i Foster Family Agency provides individuals and families with the training, resources, and support they need to become effective foster families in California for children in need. In addition, they ensure that children are being well cared for in an appropriate setting. The agency provides foster parent training classes, access to community resources, support groups, and 24/7 assistance to create a beneficial situation for everyone involved.
Open your home and heart to a child in need by becoming a foster family in California and an integral part of a child’s life. Learn more about becoming a prospective parent and connect with Kamali’i today to begin the journey to foster parenting.