Flexibility and patience are two of the most valuable skills that anyone can have. This rings especially true for resource parents. Priorities shift from moment to moment, and a parent’s needs are almost always in the backseat.
But what does this mean? Does it mean that you can’t take time to care for yourself? Certainly not. It just means that being flexible will have to become second nature to you.
When dealing with any child, their mood can define just about any situation — whether it’s going to be a good day or a more challenging one.
Flexibility means being able to take a deep breath when your child acts out, or understanding the need to change plans when things go wrong. If you had a plan to spend the day at the park but suddenly your foster child is inconsolable about how they cannot find a certain toy, you know how to take charge of the situation and find the right solution.
Maybe when you became a resource parent you thought you were flexible and patient, but you have now discovered that you aren’t as skilled in those traits as you originally thought. But the good news is there is always room to improve!
Start by reminding yourself everyday that you are there to help — to help these children grow, learn, and become better versions of themselves. Say to yourself, “I am open to change. Today may not go the way I planned and that is alright. There is room to grow.”
Keeping this in the back of your mind will help motivate you to become more flexible and patient. Write it down on a sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror. Let this be the first thing you start your day with. If this becomes your mantra, it will help not only your children become more successful, but you as well.
Another great way to work on your flexibility, and more importantly, your patience, is to take a moment, breathe, count to ten, and step out of your expectations when stressful situations arise. Once you have assessed the situation, be ready to sit, listen, and do what you can to find a solution.
The value of having patience and flexibility extends far more than you would think. It grants your child a sense of security in the sea of chaos they experience in their day-to-day life. If they are panicked over a missing toy, it is probable that their distress is over something greater — like the loss of one of the last remaining things they are familiar with. Your ability to drop everything to look high and low at a given situation demonstrates care, love, and genuine support for the children in your family. It shows that their feelings and emotions are more important to you then your trip to the park.
Do not forget the importance of flexibility and patience when it comes to your resource family. Practice and demonstrate these skills every day and every chance you get, because if you bend a little, they will be less likely to break.