When you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent, you might wonder if you have what it takes. The fact is that everyone can be a good foster parent, regardless of sex, race, sexual orientation, age etc. You don’t need to have a lot of money to be a good foster parent either. And it doesn’t make any difference what you do for a living, as long as you have quality time to spend with your foster child. However, there are a few qualities that a good foster parent must have.
- Patience: Children will often ask you a number of questions that you may or may not know the answers to, because they are naturally curious. You’ll need to be patient in explaining the answers (or looking them up and explaining them, in case you don’t know them yourself). Who knows? You might even learn something useful due to your foster child’s curiosity.
- Understanding: Foster children come from a variety of backgrounds, and some might have been traumatized by the loss of their parents. They might display mood swings, signs of depression and signs of aggression. It may be hard to get them to listen to what you say, go to school, let go of old toys etc. In all such cases, a foster parent needs to be as understanding as possible and keep in mind what the child is feeling.
- Caring: Any good parent cares deeply for the child they’re raising. And most of us have an empathetic nature or we would not be able to raise kids at all. Of course, different people show their caring nature in different ways. But as long as you do care for the child, s/he is likely to know it and will respond accordingly.
- Fairness: There may be times when, even as an adult, you may be in a bad mood. But you can’t snap at your child because your boss snapped at you or you got in a fight with a best friend. You should discipline your child in a firm way if they don’t follow your ground rules. At that moment, your foster child might rebel, but eventually, they will appreciate your fairness.
- Honesty: Of course it’s not possible to tell your foster child everything. Certain things which involve violence, for example, may be inappropriate for a child’s ears. But this doesn’t mean that you have to make up stories and tell children things which are completely untrue. Tell them as much as you think is appropriate. They will appreciate your attempts at honesty.