Challenges of Being a Foster Parent and How to Overcome Them!
- Like any career, fostering can come with its own set of challenges.
- Children may be dealing with trauma, acting out, or have challenging behaviour.
- We are here to provide 24-hour support to help you overcome any challenge, no matter how big!
First and foremost, everyone’s experiences of fostering will be different. No two children are the same – and that’s what’s so fantastic about being a carer! You get the opportunity to care for, love, and help a variety of children from all walks of life and each brings something different and amazing to your life. At the same time, each child brings with them a different set of challenges.
The types of challenges you will face will also depend on the type of fostering you choose to do.
When approaching fostering you will need an open mind and you should treat each foster child based on their own past experience, culture, and personality. However, speaking generally, Fusion Fostering has listed some of the most common challenges foster parents face in their day-to-day jobs as well as some advice on how to overcome them!
Managing behavioural issues
Looked after children will have been through a stressful situation and are now entering into a completely new home and environment. Adapting can take time and processing of emotions can often lead to them presenting challenging behaviours. It is important to remember that many cared for children will have had negative past life experiences that may be causing them to act out.
Challenging behaviours may include tantrums, violence, sulking, refusing to speak, self-harm, or running away. These self-destructive behaviour patterns may be learnt and it can take a long time to break down negative behaviours and teach children more positive ways to express their feelings.
The way you react to these behaviours will be really important in helping them to effectively manage their emotions and mental health. Patience is key as well as level-headedness and open-mindedness and an ability to not judge a child, but try to understand them from their perspective.
All carers at Fusion Fostering will take a tailored training programme specifically designed to teach them about managing behaviour. This is intended to provide our carers with the background knowledge needed to understand the reason why children may act this way and also provide them with helpful resources and techniques to effectively manage behaviour.
Dealing with trauma
Foster parents provide love and care to children and young people. Through this love and support, they can help children who may have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or otherwise emotionally damaged to heal from trauma. Taking on another person’s trauma can be extremely challenging and upsetting, therefore foster parents need to be resilient.
Trauma can present itself in a variety of ways and how each person deals with trauma will be unique. The best way to overcome this is to listen to and adapt your care to the needs of the child in your care. Learn what works for them, what they respond to, and ways you can help them to grow. Fostering is a learning process and one that takes time and effort, but the rewards will be immeasurable.
As with any job, fostering requires good time management. Caring for any child requires a lot of planning and precision, however, you will also have additional responsibilities to perform for your foster child such as completing documents, attending meetings, and collaborating with social workers. Keeping all meetings documented in a calendar and appointments in a diary can be a great way to keep track of daily tasks and keep organised.
Interacting with birth parents
The ideal end goal with fostering is to safely return children to their birth parents, when possible and beneficial to do so. Although this is not always the case, in circumstances where birth parents are able to resume care, foster families, where appropriate, are expected to facilitate contact with biological parents.
Your social worker will help to organise contact and will be able to offer guidance and support to you. This can sometimes be difficult as birth parents may feel resentment towards you or may not be as cooperative and helpful as they could be. The best way to approach this is with an open mind and by being as understanding and accommodating as you can.
No matter what challenges you face in your fostering career, the Fusion team are here to help you. We offer a complete training package as well as ongoing 24-hour support to all of our carers. Pair that with regular carer support groups and a paid subscription to Foster Talk and you can be sure that Fusion is here to help you overcome any challenge you may face, no matter how large!
To find out more about our fostering services, please get in touch by calling 03301 239355 or filling out our contact form.
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