Creating a nurturing environment for your foster children takes some thought and patience. Different children respond to different approaches in parenting. Though you shouldn’t change a lot about the way that you do things in your home and in your life, you will need to adjust somewhat to work with different children in your home in order to meet each child’s needs. Don’t change your overall approach to parenting. Don’t change rules in your home to accommodate for foster children. But do think about how to motivate children and what kind of attention and praise each of your foster children need. This will help you create a nurturing environment that feels safe and that builds and fortifies the children in your home to help them deal with whatever life throws at them.
“Fair is not always equal.” It’s good to memorize this phrase and use it, as needed, with foster children who are receiving different feedback and requirements from you because of differing personalities and differing needs. As a foster parent, you will probably, hopefully, spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out what makes your foster child “tick”. How do you motivate one foster child to do his or her homework while trying to get a different foster child to come home immediately and directly from school (without lingering and hanging out with negatively influential buddies)? It isn’t always easy to find ways to motivate foster children, but most kids do have something that would motivate them to behave the way that you would like. Unfortunately, this thing that motivates any given child is usually a moving target. It changes regularly, especially for children who are emotionally overwrought (as most foster children are).
Nurturing foster children also doesn’t always mean that your strategies will come wrapped up in a pretty package. Sometimes, you may need to be firm, strict, and downright uncompromising with foster children in order to nurture them and cause them to grow. Nurturing foster children doesn’t mean that you need to be easygoing all the time. It doesn’t mean that you don’t set limits or enforce rules. Nurturing means that you create a home environment that is fertile for personal growth. Everyone in your home should have the opportunity to grow from what happens to the people who live there.
When you welcome foster children into your home, you need to have a vision combined with a healthy amount of flexibility in order to create a nurturing environment. You and the children in your home need to feel safe in order to be nurtured. Everyone needs to have their basic needs be met in order to feel safe. There needs to be food, shelter, clothing, and a sense safety for everyone. These are the essentials for a nurturing environment. As a foster parent, you’ll probably provide these basic needs without thinking much about it. But going beyond the basic, physical needs of your foster children to think about the emotional needs of each child is what will keep the motor humming smoothly in your home. By thinking about how to motivate your foster children, you will be able to stay two steps ahead of them to negotiate situations before they even arise. And your children will get to feel as though someone truly cares about them, perhaps for the very first time in their lives.