Listening to your foster child is one of the most important things you can do for them. It will help you to build trust and connect on a deeper level. You’ll also be giving them the gift of feeling known and understood. Here are a few tips to help you listen to your foster child.
Get Rid of Distractions
Give your foster child your full attention. Thus, put away your phone and turn off the TV. Stop thinking about car repairs and business meetings. Let them know that they are the only thing you are focused on for the moment. Slow down so they can take as much time as they need to tell their story.
Act Like a Mirror
Your foster child needs to know that you have registered and understood what they are saying, even if you may not agree with them completely. Practice paraphrasing what they’ve said in your own words to show them that you got their message. You can also ask some clarifying questions if you need to clear up any uncertainties.
Make eye contact and focus on being warm and friendly. Express curiosity about how their day is going and what their opinions are on anything from climate change to ice cream toppings. Indeed, make it clear that spending time with them is one of the major highlights of your day.
Watch for Cues
Watch for how your foster child is responding to your efforts. Do they seem comfortable or do you feel like they’re trying to withdraw? If they look like they’re struggling, ask them if they want to talk things over or if they need time to think on their own. Let them know that you’re available when they’re ready to continue.
Learn More About Trying to Listen as a Foster Parent
Do you want to learn more about becoming a foster parent and foster care services in Oklahoma? If so, contact us at TFI Family Connections.