Although self-esteem and confidence are things we feel on the inside, they can be affected by the things happening in our lives, the people around us, and our strengths and weaknesses. On top of this, they aren’t things that stay still; they can be built up and knocked down. In simple terms, this means that even people with low self-esteem and confidence can build on it.
Some children in foster care may arrive at their new foster homes with low self-esteem and confidence. However, foster carers can help them to work on these things. Want to know how? The tips below can help you.
1. Make it Clear That You Care for Them Unconditionally
When a new member joins your family through foster care, it’s important to make them feel welcomed, accepted and supported. Explain that your care and affection for them is unconditional – it does not depend on superficial things like their appearance, academic performance or social life. Make it clear that your home is a safe, judgment-free place where they can be themselves. With open communication, empathy and unconditional positive regard, you can help a child in foster care feel truly at home.
2. Provide Structure from Day One
Fostering in Scotland is one of the most enjoyable and worthwhile things you can ever do, but it’s not always the easiest. Some children in care arrive having suffered some degree of trauma, which may affect their behaviour, confidence, and self-esteem.
When welcoming a foster child into your home, you must do all you can to help build their self-esteem. You can do this by making them feel like part of your family and providing structure. This includes setting clear ground rules from day one and establishing a routine that works for you all. You should also allow them to express their opinions and have a say in family discussions. Doing all these things will help your foster child feel welcome, loved, valued, and accepted. This can go a long way toward building their confidence and self-esteem.
3. Praise Them
Some children in care are self-critical due to their past experiences. To stop them from being as critical of themselves, foster carers must praise their foster children as often as possible. Offering your foster child praise when they do something well will help them to see themselves from someone else’s perspective. However, don’t overdo the praise, or your words will lose meaning.
4. Set Goals
Another way you can help boost your foster child’s self-esteem is by helping them to do things that are good for them, such as helping them improve in a particular subject area or get fitter. Start by setting a goal that your foster child wants to achieve. Once you know what you’re working towards, plan how you will reach it together. When targets are met, or when you see your foster child has tried really hard, praise them for their efforts. Show them how proud you are of them and encourage them to continue. This will help build their confidence and self-esteem.
5. Set a Good Example
Foster children learn a lot from their foster carers, so setting them a good example is essential. This not only includes how you act around them but also when it comes to self-esteem and confidence. Be kind to yourself, and your foster child will likely copy.
Foster carers do so much more than look after the children in their care; they find ways to support them and help them with any problems they may be experiencing. If your foster child is experiencing low self-esteem or confidence, see if any of the tips above help.