How to raise aspirations of your foster child

21/02/2014 12:00am

It is not uncommon for vulnerable young people to arrive in care with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence; difficult previous circumstances means not every situation your foster child has been part of will have been an ideal environment for a child to be raised and nurtured.

Carers of vulnerable young people have a unique opportunity where they can influence their foster children for the better;  by boosting shattered confidence and rebuilding self-esteem, foster children can follow a more successful path in life; nothing they don’t already deserve.

Just because a child hasn’t had an optimal start in life doesn’t mean they shouldn’t achieve the steps necessary for later success. Here’s how you can raise aspirations of the foster children or young people in your life.

Gain Their Trust  

By showing your foster child that you are able to provide an open and trustworthy support system, they will be more likely to open up and discuss their future aspirations with you, viewing you as a helping hand on their way to a successful future.

Be a positive mirror to them. A child’s self-image comes not only from what the child perceives about themselves, but how others perceive them.  Be realistic too, we can’t have a smile on our face permanently, and by letting them see this they will be able to trust you for your sincerity.

Communicate Effectively

Should your child suffer a blow to their self-esteem it is important to validate their feelings. After a child feels that their feelings have been validated, they will be open to you bolstering their self-esteem by pointing out the positive things people think about them. Be sure that your child knows that you value them for who they are and not how they perform.

When it comes to career decisions, let young people understand that going on to higher education is a choice that they can make with the help of their foster parents- no doors are closed to them.

Boost Motivation Levels

If you see an ability in your child that they don’t, encourage them; they might not have the self-belief to pursue it. If you don’t encourage your child to try new things their skills won’t improve, and you’ve lost a valuable confidence builder.

Show enthusiasm for their interests and encourage them to explore subjects which fascinate them. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. You will offer positive reinforcement that will inspire them to keep learning and challenging themselves.

Help Them Achieve Their Goals

If your foster child has a career path in mind which they wish to pursue, as well as providing them with adequate support with their studies where you can, it is important to educate them on all options should their chosen route be out of their academic ability. Help them in their search to find work experience in their chosen sector, which should give them a taste of what working life would be like. They will be in a more informed position to make a career decision.