When you commit to showing a child love and support as a foster parent, you also need to simultaneously hold onto the idea that this will likely be a temporary situation. Loving a new child and having to let them go can be an emotional rollercoaster. Learning to maintain emotional stability can be one of the most difficult aspects of this process. However, maintaining emotional stability is essential to ensure you can provide effective care for your foster child. This blog discusses the basic steps foster parents should take to maintain emotional stability. In addition, the Family Connections Therapy team is here if you want to partner with professionals who understand the emotional toll of providing love and support to kids as foster parents. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Preparing for Fostering
Before you foster a child, you (and your partner and family) should take steps to prepare yourselves and your home. There are specific educational and legal steps that need to be taken before fostering children in most counties. This should help to prepare you for foster parenting. Talk to your foster agency or caseworker about what to expect and ask a lot of questions. It’s important that you feel prepared before bringing your foster child home. You may also want to work with a family therapist to ensure you are in a healthy place mentally and emotionally before fostering.
Prioritizing Self-Care as a Foster Parent
It can be really easy to allow yourself to focus on the needs of your foster child and other family members instead of your own. But if you’re not healthy emotionally and physically, you can’t provide the level of care a foster child needs. So it’s not selfish to make time for your own needs. In fact, it may be the best thing you can do for your foster child. This includes caring for your physical health needs, but it also means taking care of your emotional and mental health. That might mean meeting with a therapist regularly, taking breaks, having a friend who is also a foster parent you can talk to, or taking other steps to explore and express your emotions related to fostering.
Recognizing and dealing with emotions as they arise is one of the most important things you can do to maintain emotional stability. It’s tempting with our busy lives to ignore emotions and just keep moving, but the longer you ignore or repress emotions that come up, the more likely you are to get overwhelmed by intense feelings down the road.
Supporting Your Partner & Other Children in the Home
Your own emotional stability is the only thing you can control. However, you can also encourage your family to take steps to maintain their emotional health and wellbeing. Whether that looks like scheduling family therapy sessions or having regular family meetings to touch base, communication, love, and support are the best ways to offer effective support as a foster family.
Asking for Help When You Need It – We’re Here for You
Finally, you should never hesitate to reach out when you need help. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed preparing for your first foster child, mourning after a foster child has left your home, or you’re otherwise struggling as a foster parent, the Family Connections Therapy team is here to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our San Diego team of family therapists. You’re not alone. We’re here whenever you need us.