The idea of setting boundaries can be scary for many people because it means taking action to say no instead of yes – and when that involves a new foster or adoptive child, it can be even more intimidating if you’re eager for the child to like you and not resent you. However, the proper boundaries set in the right way shouldn’t breed resentment – they should breed better understanding and communication between you and the child you’re welcoming into your home.
Why Are Boundaries Important?
Boundaries are essential for healthy relationships and even more so for a parent and a child. When providing a safe and loving home for a foster or adoptive child, this doesn’t mean that discipline should be put on the sidelines in favor of spoiling the child – even if they’ve come from a difficult background.
Boundaries are there to help your child learn, grow, and be supported in a disciplined environment. They are there to protect your work-life balance if you are still working alongside fostering or adoption, too.
What Are the Common Issues You Could Encounter If Boundaries Are Crossed?
- Growing conflicts
- Failure to come to a resolution
- Your child taking advantage of you
- Failing to respect your child’s needs, such as their privacy
- You could begin to self-doubt or doubt any decisions
- The child could take advantage of you
- Life becomes more stressful
3 Tips for Setting Boundaries with Your New Child
- Look for Support from the Foster Agency Itself
It’s encouraged to seek training and support from your chosen foster agency, as they are there to help you navigate life with your new child. Agencies like orangegrovefostercare.co.uk can help you put the right boundaries in place and will also know the child, so can advise on the best ways to tackle any boundary obstacles.
- Set and Introduce Boundaries as Soon as Possible
The transition to a new home is overwhelming enough for a foster or adoptive child, so you don’t want to confuse them even more by setting out home rules initially only to change them down the line and set new boundaries.
Of course, new boundaries may need to be introduced if new situations arise, but you should try and put a plan in place for boundaries straight away. This could be about house rules, what you want your child to do and not do, or the kind of boundaries they would like to set up with you. In any case, communication is key here.
- Boundaries That Promote a Good Routine Will Be a Good Place to Start
One thing foster children and adopted children can experience is uncertainty at this new time in their life. Routine is always going to help to avoid any more undue stress. You should therefore think about easy boundaries, such as mealtimes, the amount your child is allowed to browse the internet, any curfews, and anything else you can easily monitor on a daily basis.