How to be a Good Foster Parent: Five Qualities of Successful Foster Parents

How to be a Good Foster Parent

Just as there is no one right way to be a good parent, there is no simple recipe for how to be a good foster parent. Every child is different and each situation is unique and should be approached on an individualized basis. That said, there are qualities, or ingredients, that a successful foster parent will possess on a daily basis.

How to be a Good Foster Parent – Have Perseverance

It isn’t easy being a foster parent. Raising a child doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all manual, and that especially holds true for a child placed in foster care. In order to be a good foster parent, a person must be strong and persevere through the tough times. When a child walks through a foster parent’s door for the first time, he’s entering a strange environment after leaving a potentially scary one. It’s up to the foster parent not to give up, despite all emotional hardships. Never giving up is never more important than when it involves a child’s well-being.

How to be a Good Foster Parent – Be Patient

As the old saying goes, patience is a virtue. That’s especially true when it comes to being a foster parent. When a child comes into a foster parent’s home, he is entering a new world, one possibly as foreign to him as Norway would be to an American. It’s up to the foster parent to be patient with him as he o learns to adapt to a new set of rules in his new home. Patience has to extend to his emotional well-being. Many of the children in foster care have suffered emotional and physical abuses the likes of which many foster parents cannot imagine. That makes it all the more important that foster parents remain patient in raising these children.

How to be a Good Foster Parent – Be Understanding

Good foster parents will put themselves in the shoes of their foster children. Empathy and understanding of each child’s individual case will go a long way in creating a healthy and happy environment. Understanding a child’s needs is paramount to being able to show a child you care. Many children in foster care come from homes where they were told that they were cared about but never shown it. If a foster parent understands that a child might mistrust adults due to his background, the parent could communicate non-verbally in ways that express care and understanding. Examples are as simple as a parent going out of their way to make the child’s favorite dinner or displaying a good test grade on the refrigerator.

How to be a Good Foster Parent – Communicate Clearly

Communication is key in any healthy relationship. A foster parent needs to communicate clearly not only with the child but caseworkers and, in come cases, relatives. It’s imperative a parent be clear, open and honest with all, especially the child. It’s through clear communication that parents can help earn a child’s trust. It’s equally important a foster parent be unafraid to ask questions and know resources are available when needed. No parent raises a child alone, and foster parents are no exception.

How to be a Good Foster Parent – Be Loving

Without love, the above four qualities don’t matter. With love, a foster parent will find these qualities come naturally. It’s with love a foster parent will persevere through the difficult times and find the patience and understanding to communicate with the child. It’s through love that trust is built and lives are changed for the better. What do you think is the most important quality for a foster parent?

Author: Lloyd Nelson, FAFS Digital Media Manager

Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at

2 thoughts on “How to be a Good Foster Parent: Five Qualities of Successful Foster Parents

  1. Thank you for this information. I just bought a new place and plan to apply to be a foster parent as soon as my home is ready for children. These five qualities are helpful. Again, thank you for the information.

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