Foster families are in a unique position to help children in their care by providing a safe and stable home. They will parent children who have experienced loss and trauma. This will impact the way children interact with those around them, how they perceive their world, or how others perceive them. Supporting a child’s social, emotional, and physical well-being can be challenging at times, so being prepared and having resources available with tangible advice is helpful and imperative.
Why do children in care act out with their behavior? Beth Tyson says, “To our brain what is familiar is safe, and safety is our brain’s #1 priority. If a child is familiar with chaos in their home and suddenly she is placed in a safe environment free of chaos, she will seek & provoke the familiar stress in the new environment to feel safe.”
While you may only have a child for a short period of time, taking a long term view, instead of just working to eliminate short term behavior issues, will benefit the child in their life ahead.
The following resources provide information to better prepare foster parents to handle the ups and downs of parenting children in foster care. Many were recommended by our Foster Parent Community via TN Kids Belong’s social media.
The Foster Parenting Toolbox by Kim Phagan-Hansel
This text is a comprehensive compilation from experts on all sides of the foster care experience which pinpoints the special situations that foster families will meet. The reader will hear from judges, caseworkers, more than one hundred foster care parents, and many others. This is a resource that foster parents can reach for at any stage of their process, with any age of foster children (from infants to young adults), for professional insight.
Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart by Jim and Lynne Jackson
The way we deal (or don’t deal) with our kids’ misbehavior shapes their beliefs about themselves, the world, and God. Therefore it’s vital to connect with their hearts–not just their minds–amid the daily behavior battles.
With warmth and grace, Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, offer four tried-and-true keys to handling any behavioral issues with love, truth, and authority.
Battle-Weary Parents by Pam Parish
From the moment a child enters our life, parenting is a tough job. It’s even harder when a child is struggling with difficult behaviors—defiance, rejection, running away, drug addiction, sexual misconduct, criminal activity, attachment issues, rage and beyond. Parenting a child in crisis leaves parents worn out from exhaustion, frustration and fear. God doesn’t leave us, even in the midst of our fears, failures and fatigue. In this powerful second book in the Ready or Not Series, you will be encouraged and challenged as a battle-weary parent. Ready or Not for Battle-Weary Parents is an essential tool for anyone struggling to walk with their kids through difficulties.
The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma and Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris
Explores the evolving science on the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and health disparities. Using powerful anecdotes, episodes from medical history, summaries of major research, and expositions on the biology of stress, Burke Harris makes the case for developing protocols to identify and treat toxic stress responses early in life to improve health and educational outcomes for children.
The Connected Parent by Dr. Karyn Purvis
Renown child development expert Dr. Karyn Purvis gives you practical advice and powerful tools you can use to effectively parent your adopted or foster child. Learn how to lovingly guide your children and bring renewed hope and healing to your family.
Other recommended titles from foster parents and experts in the field:
The Out-of-Sync Child
The Whole-Brain Child
The Deepest Well
Black Baby White Hands
Faith, Hope, & Connection
What Happened to You
The Body Keeps Score
This Is Your Brain on Food
Foster families play a vital role in supporting children and families during a difficult time in their lives. They open their heart and home to children in need of safe, nurturing care, and work with biological families to overcome difficult challenges. They deserve resources to help them thrive as they help children thrive. What other titles or resources would you recommend to Foster Parents?