4 Things to Never Say to a Child in Foster Care

What is foster care? When the biological parent(s) can not provide for a child, the state will make temporary living arrangements for the child. Most foster children will live with family members or trained caregivers (i.e. foster parents). In 2020, there were 424,000 children in foster care. Here are four things we should never say to a child in foster care.

Why Are You In Foster Care?

First, never ask the child why are you in foster care. There are so many reasons why a child is not with mom or dad. Consider a few examples. The parent(s) are in jail. When parents are using drugs, sometimes the state removes the child from the home. Also, a parent may have abandoned the child. If a parent(s) lose a job or become sick, they may not be able to care for the child. If someone asks this question, it can have a negative impact on the child. The goal is to have a positive impact on the child.

You Are A Foster Child

Moreover, do not say, “you are a foster child.” These words can hurt a kid’s feelings. A kid may feel stigmatized by this statement. In most cases, it is not the child’s fault that he or she is in foster care. Foster children do not like these words. They want to be accepted and loved like all the other kids in the community. They are people like us, and they do not want to be labeled. May we all share our resources to aid and support them. One of the main goals is to help the kids become productive citizens in their communities.

Avoid Discussing A Child’s Difficulties

Furthermore, avoid talking about a child’s difficulties. Even if the child is deviating, try to use constructive criticism to correct the behavior. When someone says, “Johnny is a very bad kid.” The child will remember this statement. Also, negative comments can lower a child’s self-esteem. Try to find out why the child is misbehaving. Although most foster parents have the best intentions, they should avoid saying things that might hurt the child’s feelings. Let the child know that there are consequences for bad behavior. Of course, there are some things you should not say in front of kids.

Insist They Call You Mom or Dad

If you are a foster parent, please do not insist that the child call you mom or dad. Always remember this, every child is different. You may have to care for a child that makes excellent grades. Then, you might need to spend more time with another child to help improve his grades. Some kids you care for may have been abused by a mom or dad. If this is the case, the child might not want to call you mom or dad. The child may be thinking about the bad things that mom or dad did to him. Try to let the child know that he is in a safe place and everything will be alright.

Finally, keep these thoughts in mind when communicating with foster children. Foster children need love and attention like us.