CHARACTERISTICS OF A FOSTER PARENT

  1. Tolerance for your own feelings: You accept that you will sometimes like, love or even dislike the child. You understand it is the behavior you do not like, not the child, and the behaviors can be changed.

  2. Commitment: You must parent the child not because of reward, gratitude or good feeling. You have made up your mind to do it no matter how it turns out.

  3. Problem solving skills: You are able to solve problems in terms of how the whole family functions. This allows for adjusting to needs of each family member and cuts down on fault, blame or scape-goating.

  4. You refuse to be rejected by the child: You are usually the one the child chooses to reject, but you refuse to accept the rejection and keep on giving to the child.

  5. Caringly intrusive: You continue to be involved in the child's business because you are the parent and this how you “protect and care of the child”.

  6. Solid boundaries: You convey to the child that, “I care about you, accept you, but I will not let you do whatever.” You are a family with a minimum of family rules and the rules exist for the well-being of the family.

  7. You measure success in progress toward goals rather than in achieving goals: You are happy with small successes and have long since given up hope that the child will be perfect, and when you gave up your quest for perfection you felt relief not sadness.

  8. Acceptance of differences: You think the differences in a child make them special. You are accepting and understanding of the child's history and abilities.

  9. You consider change: You realize the child spent years developing these problems and it will take a long time to solve them.

  10. Communication: You have positive interaction with your own children, friends, and neighbors and can listen, ask questions, clarify issues, identify feelings and understand double messages. You don't whine, moralize, lecture, ridicule, scold, complain or judge.

  11. You can share parenting: You accept the relationship the social worker the placement worker and the birth family has \with the child. You can share the child with all the other in their life.

  12. You are of your own family needs: You make time and opportunity for your family to express themselves and have you to themselves.

  13. You are a loss expert: You are able to understand the child's feelings of loss and the behaviors that will come from the loss.

  14. A sense of humor: You are able to laugh at yourself, your children, the agency, the social worker, the placement workers, and the ludicrous situations you find your self in. If you cannot laugh, the only alternative would be to cry.
SPECIALIZED CARE FOSTER FAMILY AGENCY
 
Meeting the special needs of children in foster care
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