When your foster child comes to live in your home, the adjustment period may be difficult. Depending on the age of the child, s/he is going to be going through different things. With younger children, emotions can be completely on the surface because they haven’t learned to hide them yet. Teenagers, on the other hand, might be taciturn and prefer to keep things to themselves. Thus, you, as a foster parent, have to learn communication and listening skills for therapeutic foster care. After all, different children have different needs, and it’s always up to the parents to figure them out and adjust.
When you feel confused about something or are unsure about it, just ask the child (assuming that the child is of an age to respond). This might be something simple such as what the child would like for dinner. Or it might be something complex such as what issues the child is facing at school. But in each case, it’s always a good idea to keep the channels of communication open.
The more you ask, the more you learn. And as the process continues over a long period of time, you’ll get to know the child better and s/he will get to know you. Plus, the fact that you’re bothering to ask will go a long way towards convincing them that you care.
Remember, however, that it’s not just enough to ask. You also need to listen to the responses given. After all, there is no point in asking someone what they want for dinner and then giving them something entirely different. This doesn’t mean that you should go out of your way to give the child everything that s/he wants. But if it’s possible for you to accommodate them, then you can.
Learn More About Communication Skills for Therapeutic Foster Care
Parents often ask children what they want and then proceed to criticize and disregard their answers. They might even do this quite unknowingly. But it creates a feeling of low self-worth in the child when nobody seems to be listening to them. As a parent, you have to strike the right balance between listening and instructing.
Contact us for more great tips to care for your foster child.