Foster care allows willing adults to offer stable, loving homes to children in need. However, the foster family relationship isn't always easy for parents or kids. Foster parents, siblings, and kids may all experience a range of different emotions about the fostering process. It's helpful to have a safe place to work out these feelings and learn better ways to relate to one another. Counselors who specialize in foster care work can counsel adults, children, and teenagers. If you are a foster parent or thinking of becoming a foster parent, here are four reasons to consider making counseling part of your plan:
1. Address personal issues that may affect your ability to parent.
You don't need to be perfect in order to be a great foster parent. However, personal issues can affect your ability to be present for your foster kids. Unresolved trauma and untreated mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, can leave you feeling depleted, with fewer resources for your children. Seeing a counselor to address your personal issues can improve your fitness as a parent so you can give your foster kids your all.
2. Help children with attachment issues.
Any child can develop attachment issues, but children who have been in the foster system may be especially prone to attachment issues arising from insecurity. Kids in the foster system have been removed from their homes and may have lived in several foster homes by the time they become part of your family. As a result, they may believe that foster relationships are inherently impermanent, which can cause them to feel unsafe and act out. Regular counseling can help kids deal with their attachment issues in healthy ways. Together with your child's therapist, you can work to build trust within your household.
3. Discourage fighting among children.
People who choose to become foster parents may already have kids of their own. Blended families can be joyful and successful. However, there may sometimes be friction between biological children and foster kids. Family counseling can encourage kids to express their emotions in productive ways. Regular counseling sessions can decrease fighting in your household, encouraging your kids to develop healthy sibling bonds.
4. Avoid severing the foster bond.
Being a foster parent isn't always easy. During times of stress, some foster parents decide that fostering isn't for them. However, removing a foster child from your home can cause trauma for that child and should only be used as a last resort. Counseling can provide a pressure release valve for your emotions and teach you to cope with difficult situations. As a result, you may be less likely to give up on fostering.
For more information about foster care, contact a local organization.