There’s no question fostering can be an incredibly positive and rewarding experience. However, it’s natural to have fears when you’re considering fostering for the first time. It’s a tough decision to add a child to your family; even more so when the child could come from a potentially disadvantaged background.
It’s important to know that the fears you are experiencing are completely natural and you’re certainly not alone. Remember, the child is also going to be scared of entering a new home. It’s an experience you will be going through together, but one which is incredibly rewarding. Below we’ll look at the most common fears people have about fostering.
How will fostering affect my own children?
If you already have children, how will fostering affect them? Before you foster a child you need to have the support of everyone in the household, including your children.
All children are different and some will be a lot more open to the idea than others. However, you can ease their concerns by being open about your reasons for wanting to foster another child. Also highlight how you will be helping the child who comes into your home. You’ll also need to be prepared to answer a lot of questions. The more open and honest you are and attentive to your child’s concerns, the more likely they are going to accept a foster child into the home. More often than not, children like helping other children. You can also highlight the positives that adding a new child into the home will have on them. For example, they will have another child to play with.
Above all else you need to be able to reassure your children that your relationship with them will not change. If you do foster a child, be sure to schedule in both time alone with your own child, as well as family time all together.
What if the child is difficult?
Some children may be frightened or confused about entering a foster home, which in turn could lead to them lashing out. Understanding the behaviour will help you to address the issue. Whilst some children do have behavioural problems, you are never forced to take on a child unless you are completely comfortable with their history. It could be that the child is simply misunderstood so that also needs to be taken into account.
You will always be informed about a child’s history before you take them on. You’ll also be able to ask any questions you have.
What if I become attached to the child?
What happens if you get too attached to the child? It’s common to develop a strong bond with the children you foster. However, there is support available. You can also remind yourself it is better for the child when they move on and remember the difference you have made to their lives.
These are just three of the top fears people have when they’re thinking of becoming a foster parent. Just like becoming a biological parent, fears are a natural part of the process. However, with a good support system in place and researching everything you need to know beforehand, you’ll be in a great position to make a real difference. Remember, the positives far outweigh the fears you currently have.