Foster Families Face Unique Issues That Many Biological Families Don’t Encounter (Pt 2)

A young boy and his father walking down a road in fall. They are both wearing jeans and sneakers and walking away from the camera.
Biological parents manage a lot of challenges, but foster families have unique situations that stem from parenting kids in the system.

Welcome back and thanks for joining us again. We’ve been looking at some of the challenges that foster families face that biological families usually don’t encounter. In the previous article we looked at two very common issues, namely the behavioral and medical issues that foster kids often suffer as a result of trauma, and the lack of complete medical histories that foster parents often deal with. But those are only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many unique parenting situations that usually only foster families deal with that wouldn’t even occur to biological parents. For example…

Mixed family cultures and standards can create confusion

If you have kids, then you’ve probably had to deal with some version of “but Jason’s parents says he can do it!” Or, “Cecily’s mom says she can, why can’t I?” Kids are always comparing what they have and don’t have to the lives of those around them, and there’s not much you can do about it, other than to explain why you’ve decided in favor of, or against, something and hope that one day they understand. But when a foster parent brings a foster child into their home, it completely changes the dynamics of life for their biological children.

Sometimes foster kids won’t eat the food provided in their placement homes because it’s not what they’re used to. In an effort to help that kid settle in, the parent orders the pizza they want, or gives them the take out they ask for. But all the biological kids see (especially if they’re younger) is that a total stranger shows up in their home and gets whatever they want. For kids who don’t get to choose their dinner, or aren’t allowed to make demands that they see the foster child making, they may struggle with resentment. Explaining to your own children why you’re allowing the “new” child to “break rules” they themselves have been forced to uphold, can be a major challenge for foster parents

Foster families can’t talk about their foster kids like regular kids

Parents like to talk about their kids. Put two parents together in a room and within five minutes they’ll be discussing the hilarious (or annoying) things their kids do and showing each other pictures. Why? Because parenting unites people to a common purpose and gives them shared territory in life. And because parents love their kids and love to talk about them with others. But Michigan privacy laws restrict a lot of what foster parents can share about the children they care for.

For example, a foster parent can’t post a cute picture of the kids they care for on Facebook. They can’t share the tragedies of that child’s past with concerned friends. They can’t discuss the medical challenges their family deals with, the behavioral problems they manage, or the emotional struggles they face as a result of the child’s trauma. Being a foster parent can be very isolating because you aren’t really allowed to talk about anything that pertains to your new child’s life.

Children need love and care, but preferably from their own families!

We’ll be the first to admit that child abuse is a real problem, and that some children are much better off being taken from their parents, who aren’t keeping them safe or caring for them properly. But we have helped so many innocent Michigan parents over the years, who had to fight for the right to parent their own children simply because CPS decided they weren’t doing it right. If your parental rights are being questioned by CPS, call 866 766 5245 and talk to one of our skilled and experienced CPS defense attorneys. We can help you protect yourself and your children.

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