A countless number of children grow up in unhealthy family environments. As a foster parent, you give a child the opportunity to experience something different and make a real difference in their life. While it is a rewarding experience, to say that the process is easy would be unfair. Not only do you have to take measures to prepare yourself for the new journey, you also have to prepare your family. Learn what you can do to prepare your family for becoming a foster family.
Children are very understanding individuals. Sit down with your child to discuss the reason why you are becoming a foster parent by talking about the needs of the children who you will help. When your child understands why you want to become a foster family, they will be far more likely to be accepting of the process. You can base how much information you share with the child on their age and maturity level.
Ensure your children understand that you are not becoming a foster family in an effort to replace anyone or fill a void. You need to ensure your child understands that your love for them will not change at all because there is another child in the home. More than anything, children want to be loved, so if you ensure your child understands that your love is not going anywhere, they will be more comfortable with the process.
Let your child express themselves. Even if you have already made up your mind about becoming a foster family, you should still talk to your child and make them feel like they have a say in the entire process. You can start the back-and-forth dialogue by asking the child whether they want to be a foster family and then ask the child to explain the answer.
Talk about safety with your children as well. Fostering children is a rewarding process, but there are instances when the child might have been exposed to certain circumstances that affect their behavior. Your child should be able to identify when the behavior the child is displaying is something they need to alert you of. However, you should use balance when approaching this topic. You don't want to make the foster child feel like an outsider or dangerous, and you don't want your children to treat the child as an experiment.
The more prepared your entire family is, the better the experience for your family, but also the better the experience for the foster child. In addition to your efforts, completing a foster parent training program can offer you additional preparation tips. For more information, contact a company like Kids Count Too.