A Foster Child's Self-image

Submitted by PeterAKenny on June 15, 2020

POSSESSIONS? He or she owns little or nothing.

FRIENDS? Their parents have abused or deserted them. They may be treated as dumb or bad by teachers. Teased by their friends. They are likely to trust no one.

WHERE DO I BELONG? My home is temporary. I’m in transit. A temp. A tweener.

WHAT DO I KNOW? My life experience has been mostly negative. I’m a survivor of the school of hard knocks. I may have learned survival skills like conning people, and to lie and steal.

WHAT DO I ENJOY? Mostly junk food.

SELF-CONFIDENCE? Fake. I may put up a cocky front, but I’m mostly bluster. Or I may appear subservient and guarded.

SELF-CONTROL? Either I’m impulsive and apt to misbehave randomly, or I may have distanced myself from meaningful social contact.

SELF-DETERMINATION? I don’t care. Behavior tends to be aimless.

SELF-SUFFICIENCY? Zero.

SELF-ESTEEM? His valuing of himself is not very realistic.

WHAT CAN A FOSTER PARENT DO?

RESPECT THEM. Treat them with dignity. Be careful of love and praise. That may not be ready yet to trust you, and that may make them angry.

FOCUS ON CONCRETE TASKS. Schedule chores, in areas like cleaning, meal preparation, gardening, and animal care.

DON’T TOLERATE POOR WORKMANSHIP OR BELLIGERENCE. Get the job done without blaming the person. That only reinforces an already poor self-image. Instead use “I” messages and positive consequences. See my blogs on good discipline.

PREPARE A LIFEBOOK. Include birth date and place, names of birth parents and other family, plus former foster homes. Also skills, hobbies, and life plans. Add any photos or drawings or other artwork when available. Keep it current with celebrations.

SET A GOOD EXAMPLE while eating, sleeping, living, and playing together.

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