Foster children are typically in the state’s custody due to circumstances beyond their control, which often include abuse and neglect. A child’s behavior and mental health are both affected by experiencing abuse or neglect.
Foster children under your care could exhibit challenging behaviors. The following are things that can be brought into a foster home, so be aware of them and ready to deal with them when they arise in your house or around your kids.
Some foster families prohibit the use of curse words in their households. These same families may be astonished by the quantity of profanity that some foster children, including very young children, use daily.
Communication with your foster children will be critical as you offer foster care. Discuss which words are acceptable and which are not. Older children in the house may find it hilarious when their younger siblings curse but remind them not to encourage swearing through laughter. This is another behavior that you may choose not to tolerate in your foster home.
For kids in the foster care system, lying and stealing have become common survival skills. Some children had to participate in such actions to survive in their birth home. This makes it tough to eradicate these behaviors.
Your biological kids are exposed to these behaviors in the process, and they might even have their belongings disappear. They could start to doubt their trust in other people. For the foster kids, they must learn new skills to replace the old habits of lying and stealing.
Discuss the behavior with your children and what you expect from their behavior to make it clear to them that this is not a behavior you would tolerate in your home.
There may be instances where another child in your care endangers another child’s safety. When upset, some foster children may act violently, which might entail striking, biting, kicking, and hurling things.
Make a plan for what you’ll do if this happens. Make it clear to your kids that they must inform you immediately if something transpires. As you deal with the behavior, let your child know where they should go, such as their bedroom or yours.
Acting out is common in some sexually abused children, ranging from the minor, like knowing about sex, to the significant, like sexualized activity or sexualized play.
To avoid this, inform your foster care social worker at the onset of the behaviors you are and are not willing to tolerate in your household. Remember that occasionally a child’s history is not entirely known before placement in foster care.
Take action to keep your children safe from sexual abuse. Maintain open communication channels with your children and explore what makes for an acceptable and inappropriate touch. Ensure your child understands that if something happens with a foster child that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should inform you or anyone else immediately.
Difficulties for Siblings
Your kids can experience different difficulties due to living with foster siblings. They might encounter other challenges besides having to deal with a foster child’s unpleasant or improper behavior.
The definition of “permanency” may be unclear to some kids. They can inquire when their turn would come to see a new family. They could think that kids coming and going from home is common.
You can address this by describing to your child how they came to be a part of your family. Discuss your role as foster parents and how, while the foster child’s family is temporary, your child is both permanent and long-lasting.
Your kids might develop attachments to the foster kids in your home. They could find saying goodbye to be complicated. Discuss the transition process with your children in an age-appropriate manner to help your kids understand the situation. Keep photos of previous foster children around the house.
If it is suitable and all parties involved agree, request continuous contact with previous children. Many youngsters who have grown up in foster care have expanded their understanding of family and siblings.
How Sharing a Home Benefits Your Children
You might be wondering why you should try and think about fostering while your kids still live at home. Know that exposing your kids to foster kids has several advantages as well.
- Kindness: By allowing individuals in need to stay in their homes, your youngster learns how to help others and the community.
- Sharing: Your kids pick up the skill of sharing not just their toys but also their important people and spaces.
- Extending family: As foster children meet more caring adults through foster parents, members of the foster parent’s extended family, and new siblings, your children get to learn that there are many caring adults in the world.
- Broader worldview: As they discover various cultures, races, and family values, your kids will also develop a more expansive worldview. There will be numerous chances for conversation and education.
- Improved emotional intelligence: As foster children express themselves, your children will grow acquainted with a wide spectrum of emotions. If they do so incorrectly, you will be there to teach your child better and healthier ways to express themselves.
- Maturity: Your kids will learn about mourning and loss. Your child will discover how the losses of others affect them as foster children suffer their own losses. As foster children arrive and depart from their lives, they will also have the chance to go through their own feelings of loss and grief. This does not necessarily have to be wrong.
- Values: Your kids will learn about making decisions, dealing with the results, and the effects those decisions have on others.
It’s a big decision to decide whether or not to become a foster parent because it will affect not only you as parents but also your kids, other family members, friends, and neighbors. You are inviting an outsider to live with your family temporarily. Though it is only a child, you may not have known much about them before the placement.
Before saying yes, be sure about what you’re willing to welcome into your home and ask the necessary questions. Foster parenting has its benefits, but it also has its challenges, especially when you consider your biological kids. However, you can ensure that your own kids are safe and well taken care of if you know what to expect and how to deal with certain situations.
Foster Parenting in Colorado
If you want to try foster parenting, we at Community Courage, a foster care agency in Colorado, can help you get started. We have a list of things you need to know before you start foster parenting, as well as some tips for keeping your kids safe and well taken care of. If you are interested in fostering with us, please contact us at 719.321.4319 or kerrih@FosterCourage.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!