For anyone considering starting a career as a foster parent, this guide is for you. There are many benefits for your family unit when you decide to welcome a foster child into your home. It is a thoroughly rewarding journey that has positives for the whole family unit.
While you are becoming established as a fostering parent, it is good to remind yourself of these benefits in case you are worried about the potential bad stuff as well. Here are all the benefits that fostering will bring to your family.
Your Home Will Be Somewhere Safe
Every child deserves a place where they can feel safe, nurtured, and well looked after. That is what you take on as a foster parent. Your house will become a hub for learning, development, and rebuilding the scope of trust within carer relationships.
There is no feeling that surpasses this achievement. When you decide to foster, you become a safe haven for whichever fostered child comes through your door. These are young people in need who have been displaced from everything they know because of extreme circumstances. Of course, there will be difficulties to navigate, but you can never underestimate the importance of having a safe base.
Establishing New Bonds and Healthy Relationships
Not only will fostering be good for the child coming into your home in the context of how they navigate relationships, but it will also be good for you. Boundaries are one of the most important parts of any healthy relationship. Through training and experience, foster parents have a niche vantage point in this respect. It becomes apparent that your own behaviour is a major influence on how your close relationships are able to function.
Alongside this, teaching consent, how to move away from toxic behavioural models within a relationship framework, and what is appropriate vs. what isn’t will all become more relevant too. This is a fully transferable agenda to all walks of life and will not only empower you but your birth children as well.
Birth Children Can Learn Too
When you start fostering, there will be a lot of change in your home. This is easier to navigate as an adult leading the charge than it might be for a young person in your care like a birth child. For birth children in families that decide to look after fostered children, there is a whole new world to get used to. It takes time, but there are so many advantages from increased empathetic awareness to core collaboration skills as well. What, exactly, do birth children feel as a positive from the fostering journey?
A Sibling Style Bond
The role of a sibling in someone’s life is a special one indeed. What are the benefits here? There are a few worth noting.
- Conflict resolution techniques
- Healthy boundaries
- Positive growth
An Increased Sense of Self
All children need an established sense of who they are. This is called self-identity or sense of self and is essential to general well-being. Through fostering, they will naturally learn more about themselves, their world, and their family.
An Increased Ability to Navigate Change
Change comes to us all. As birth children grow up, there will always be decisions for them to make and changes to navigate. By giving them the experience of a foster sibling, you teach them early on that change is not always a negative thing and that they will be able to grow the tools to cope with it.
Resilience is a core skill that everyone needs. When you have a strong resilience, you are better able to adapt to adverse circumstances and adapt responsively and healthily to change as it comes along. Life is full of surprises, and helping our children prepare for this is not an easy task. Fostering gives them a unique channel of resilience because it is a change they must face early on, in a safe environment with the help of primary caregivers. These are the best conditions to nurture a resilient mindset.
The birth children will begin to see trust in a unique context. They will be building their own versions of it within the scope of this new relationship and also in how they view you as their parents. It will reaffirm their attachment to you if you handle it right.
Exposure to Different Lives and Cultures
Many children may have yet to face alternate cultures and people from backgrounds different from their own. While this doesn’t put them at a disadvantage, there are clear benefits from expanding their scope in this respect. It will give them a brilliant insight into how the world works and that there are people who live differently right alongside them. They may adopt the changes in their personal sphere of understanding, which is a big plus for anyone.
The Communication Advantages
The importance of communication for family members living under the same roof becomes of a higher relevance and urgency when you begin your fostering journey You will acquire a boosted communicative skillset through the various training regimes that foster parents are obligated to participate in. These improved skills are then transferable to all walks of life and within your relationships with your birth children as well. It is not uncommon for openness and trust to become issues as the teenage years loom in particular. The skills you learn in this context will help with this more than you realise.
Before you welcome a foster child, as a parent, it will be a part of your role to advocate for transparency. Remaining upfront about expectations on all sides is essential, as is talking about safety and feeling secure. Boundaries will be easier to establish and maintain and, your birth children will feel more able to discuss concerns as they come along. All of these things are invaluable.
A foster family gains the unique perspective of being able to see the world through a fresh lens. You will be motivated to branch out in your days out activity agenda, and have a new voice to guide you to different experiences as a family unit. This will be good fun for your kids and boost your life too as a consequence.
You Learn About Yourself
People don’t come to fostering lightly. It is an informed decision that takes a lot of time to process and decide upon. As you move through these processes, you will learn a lot about who you are and why you’re doing this. Fostering means opening up your home to a child in need. It also means taking on that child and everything that comes with it.
This is the extreme behaviour, the restless nights, and the highs and lows of parenting in a different context entirely. Whether you decide on a long-term or short-term placement, there is an opportunity to discover how to grow and never stop developing your own mind as well.
The benefits of fostering to your family are a big long list. You get to be a secure base for a child in need while providing them with everything to meet their needs, which is highly rewarding on a personal level and a social one too. You will also learn how to communicate in a new, more efficient light and navigate change more positively. There is no end to this list, and fostering is a wonderful career path to embark upon.
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