The importance of communicating with your Foster Child
You need many skills to be a successful foster carer and communication is a key one. Understanding and connecting with your foster child on a human and real level is very important to the success of the foster placement.
The first step to effective communication when fostering is listening. Once you’ve listened and heard what your foster child is truly saying, you will be able to respond in a way that will be meaningful to them.
Be the adult
Don’t try and speak to them in their language. It’s natural to think that this many l build a rapport and encourage young people to be open with you, but they don’t need you to be their friend. They need you to be an adult who can help them. It’s very important to show you have the skills and experience to help them handle their situation.
Empathy, understanding and love
Age is one factor to take into account when deciding how to communicate with your foster child, but it’s not the only one. Children are all different. They are all unique emotionally and behaviourally – so you will need to take an individual approach. Your foster child needs to feel that you’re on the same page. If you approach them will love and empathy, this will come through in whatever message you’re communicating.
Remember that young people often find it hard to articulate what they’re going through, and may not even understand their feelings.
Don’t be an authoritarian
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be authoritative. Even if they don’t realise it, young people do actually appreciate when you are authoritative. They’re in a situation they can’t control, and knowing you’re there providing support is very important. However, you need to talk with them, rather than dictating the rules or how you think they should handle a situation.
Communication is predicated by action, so never make threats or false promises. Be true to your word, and always clearly explain the reasons for the actions you’re taking.
Ultimately, communicating well is essential to creating a strong bond with children who are fostered.
And always remember that you’re never alone. You can contact us here at Lorimer and we will always support you with any issues you’re facing!