Deciding that you want to become a foster parent and bring home a child to raise and nurture is a big step. While you may not know what the implications would be till you actually take the plunge, you can still realize that this can be a huge challenge. Things get tough because there is no rule book about foster parenting; every child is different and so is every parent.
3 Major Challenges Of Foster Parenting That You Should Know About
For this reason, every person will face a different set of challenges when they embark on this journey. But what really drives people to take them up is the fact that the experience is immensely rewarding. Still, it is better to understand the challenges before you bring a child home and get started. Let us highlight some major foster parenting challenges that you should know about.
Challenge #1: Managing difficult behavior
A challenge that almost every foster parent faces is related to the behavioral issues that these children mostly have. A majority of them come from troubled backgrounds and broken families, which makes them hostile, unapproachable, and sometimes, even self-destructive. The problem gets bigger with older children because these habits become personality traits for them. You may have to deal with tantrums, violence and anti-social attitude. The challenge becomes even greater for parents who have biological children as they need to share space with the behaviorally-challenged foster kids.
Patience is the key to managing such behavioral issues. To start with, you need to understand the cause of these issues, which may range from physical abuse, mental stress, and abusive relationships. Be prepared for facing these hurdles and help the child overcome them with your love, care, and support. You can even join peer groups and social communities with other parents and children with similar issues. Remember that these problems are not easy to overcome and may take years to resolve. Persevering with love and patience is the best approach that you can take.
Challenge #2: Experiencing exhausting in your everyday life
While the stress of handling the child’s behavioral issue is one aspect of fostering challenges, physical exhaustion is the other. Though you get paid for caring for the child, as this article from Perpetual Fostering highlights, the effort you need to invest can be great. Caring for your own children as well as the ones you bring home can be a tiring experience, particularly if they are young. To add to this, there are your work responsibilities, social commitments and several other things to manage. There are times when you may just feel like taking a break.
The challenge is huge but it can be overcome. If you feel depressed and unmotivated, you can connect with a social worker to work out a feasible solution. Seek the support of your spouse, friends, and family members to help you with the physical workload as well as boost you morally. Small changes in your daily schedule can go a long way in making things easier to manage. Seek the help of older children to support their younger siblings. Delegate responsibilities at home and discuss your situation at the workplace as well. Help may be much closer than you may have thought.
Challenge #3: Interacting with the foster child’s family
Another challenge that forms part and parcel of foster parenting is interacting with the biological family of the child you bring home. Since the aim of foster placement is to reunite the child with his or her family eventually, you need to be in continuous contact with them. Though most of the families are friendly because they realize the value and benefits of foster care, some may still be hostile or resilient to send their children to live with strangers. If you have to deal with the second type, things may get difficult for you.
You need to practice the same patience with them as you need for dealing with the child. Be assertive yet emphatic enough to understand their state of mind. At the same time, be firm and determined about sticking to your decision and giving the best you can. The child’s family will eventually get over their hostility and understand your role in their life. Be in touch with the social worker and seek their support and guidance while handling the issues with the family. Let them realize that you are a team and want to do the best for the child.
Even though there are challenges related to raising foster children, you need to look beyond them and focus on the rewards and positivity of the entire experience. Making a difference to someone’s life will definitely make a difference for you!