Emma’s Fostering Blog
Time out for me
As a foster carer I hear so many wonderful Foster Carers discussing issues around advocating on behalf of their Foster children.
Learning from my own experiences it can feel like you are at war with different services, your family, even society. Often you can feel very tired and frustrated with the issues that seem like they are not being resolved quickly enough. It’s important to discuss with the child’s Social worker immediately any concerns so you can get a diagnosis but you have to remember you are not alone and use your support network as it’s not just down to you.
I have seen many Foster carers including myself being so disillusioned, believing certain things will solve the child’s problems as in a diagnosis, an Educational Health Care plan and so on, this might help with more help and support eventually but until then it’s about looking at the behaviour and looking at ways to manage.
You must be careful to not wear yourself out and not always function in battle mode, as this is likely to cause you more problems in the long run. I think I have become used to running at high stress levels for some years because of the length of time I have been fostering. I can usually keep up with it, but every now and then it becomes apparent that by dealing with all of the added stress of parenting a foster child which is different to parenting your own child it’s really hard work.
There isn’t a moment when I’m not thinking about or something related to the children or fostering tasks and my own mental health takes a bashing as there is not always the time for me. With my current child I know typical discipline won’t work because he is unable to contain his behaviour so I use problem solving approaches, holding him accountable for his behaviour. First I have to figure out what is causing the problem, watch for the early cues that he is getting angry and about to become out of control, and then help him calm down and take him out of the environment.
I think in general Foster carers are not great at putting their own needs first, I am at the point now where I feel I need to rediscover the activities I enjoyed before I became a Foster Carer and was tasked with the a big responsibility of parenting a looked after child. I need to learn to breathe, relax, and finish things I start as often I don’t because something else needs my attention.
My thoughts are that every now and again I must remember the reasons why I wanted to be a foster carer, for that children experience a good childhood with us and achieve and have fun, if I am always in battle mode how can I have fun with the children.