Foster parenting is a system which involves taking care of a child who is not biologically yours. It involves great commitment and dedication because loving someone else’s child is not easy. The fact that a majority of such children come from a troubled background makes it even more challenging. And things can be tough if you have children of your own. But before taking the plunge, there are some misconceptions and myths related to foster parenting that you must know about.
Myth 1: People take it up only for money
Foster parents are paid by agencies to cover the expenses to feed, clothe and take good care of the children. But this does not mean that people do it only for money. The truth is that whatever you get by volunteering to raise a child is just enough to take care of their basic needs and there is nothing much beyond that.
Yes, there are cases about people taking advantage of this system and bringing in more children than they can accommodate but such cases are very rare. If you are considering taking care of a child, be aware that you will be doing it for satisfaction rather than making money.
Myth 2: It will leave you stuck with a difficult child
Many children who are in foster care come from broken families and troubled background. This is the reason that there is a misconception that you will definitely be stuck with a difficult child with behavioral issues if you decide to be a foster parent. There are good chances but you cannot generalize because such children look for unconditional love and consistency in a parent’s behavior to overcome their past trauma.
If you are willing and able to give it, the ride will probably be smooth enough. The best approach is to have an open mind when you take the responsibility. Disobedience and stubbornness are some challenges that you may face but they can be overcome eventually with compassion, understanding, and empathy.
Myth 3: The foster child may be a threat for your own children
Another myth about foster parenting is that the child you bring home will be a threat to your own children. The perils can be physical or emotional; while there are chances that these children may inflict physical violence, they may also have an emotional impact on your child due to their troublesome behavior.
The answer lies in defining two-way boundaries. Perpetual Fostering explains that you have to play a pivotal role in connecting the children as one family. Also, you need to be firm in your attitude and have strict rules that are same for all the children. This will make the foster children that they are as much as the parts of your family as your own kids are.
Myth 4: Fostering older children can be tough
If you believe that being a foster parent to a younger child is less challenging than doing so for older children, this is not the truth. Rather, parenting is just the same as it is for your biological children, whatever the age of a child is. The desire for love and family in older children is as strong as it is in the young ones.
Exercise a little extra patience with them and you will realize that being a parent to them is easier because they are self-sufficient after the years they have spent in foster care. Make them feel secure and give them a sense of belongingness within your home and family to get closer and win their trust and love.
Myth 5: It is tough because you get attached
Many times, people avoid becoming a foster parent because they think that they would connect too strongly and become emotionally attached to an otherwise unknown child. They think that this would take a toll on them later, if the child grows up to reject them as their parents or leave the home to be on their own.
However, you need to realize that becoming emotionally attached is a strength rather than weakness because it implies that you are capable of giving deep love and compassion. If you cringe at the thought of the child leaving you once he or she grows up, this could probably happen with your biological children also.
Being a foster parent can be a transformative journey that makes you a stronger and positive individual. Despite the challenges and obstacles involved, there are several rewarding aspects of becoming a foster parent. It is a blessing that comes only for the lucky ones!