Foster Parenting: Is It Right For You?
The need for more foster home in our country is great. In order to be a good foster parent, however, there are many things that must be considered. The decision to become a foster parent is not one that should be taken lightly. Your role in the life of a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It may also require large amounts of patience and understanding.
Successful Qualities For Foster Parenting
Foster parenting can come with may rewards, but there are also quite a few challenges that can also accompany the role. In order to be successful in dealing with these challenges, there are several qualities many foster parents found useful. These include:
- Good communication skills
- Good problem solving skills
- The ability to express, accept, and understand feelings
- The ability to support the physical as well as the emotional needs of a child in crisis
- The ability to give and receive support as needed.
As a foster parent, you will have the opportunity to make a significant difference in the life of a child. Though you cannot change their past, you can having a astounding affect on their future.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Foster Parent
The following questions may be helpful when assessing whether you have what it takes to be a successful foster parent:
1. Do you love children and truly want to help them
2. Are you and your lifestyle flexible? Do you have the ability to adapt to changing situations?
3. Are you secure and emotionally?
4. Are you confident that you can be a good parent?
5. Can you accept a child who may not be immediately responsive to you?
6. Can you love a child despite any behavioral issues?
7. Can you set firm limits and standards of behavior?
8. Can you discipline with consistency and with patience?
9. Can you accept small improvement as victories and understand that setbacks are normal?
10. Can you work as a team with social workers, therapists, birth families, and possibly other helping professionals effectively?
11. Are you open to feedback and suggestions from the care team?
12. Can you accept and nurture a child with an ultimate goal of one day returning him/her to their birth families?
13. If the child cannot be returned to their birth families, are you willing to maintain them long-term and possibly even adopt?
14. Is you employment and income situation stable enough?
15. Do you have the support of your extended family, particularly those who will also be involved with the care of the child?
The answers to these questions can go a long way to helping you determine if foster parenting is indeed for you.
The rewards of foster parenting can be great, but so can the challenges. It is important to remember that most of these children are no longer with their birth families due to abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It is important to take a honest and thorough look at your own abilities and circumstance before inviting a child into your home.