Fostering and strains in a relationship
Being a parent puts a strain on any relationship. But being foster carers brings with it a particular set of stresses and strains that can affect even the strongest of relationships. Of course fostering is not something couples embark on lightly and most couples will feel they have a robust relationship to deal with the challenges fostering a child brings. Fostered children have complicated lives and histories and as such have both emotional and behavioral difficulties. Being a foster carer requires a huge amount of commitment, dedication and resilience from the foster carers. Foster children need care, compassion, support and patience and all the foster carer may have to give, so its not surprising that foster carers attending to their children many needs , may overlook their own. The foster carers may not have much energy or attention left over for each other!
Fostering children can be confusing at times, for example you may not know how long a child is going to be living with you. You may have differing thoughts about how the child is to be cared for, how to keep them safe and what is good for them. One of the couple may want to parent in a particular way, whereas the other parent may want to seek advice from professionals with every disagreement. As with biological parents such differences in opinion are entirely normal and can be helpful at times. The most important thing is to try and work things out together as a couple. Couples who support each other and whom are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ provide a better environment for fostered children to thrive. Most foster carers find that with each foster placement the demands of parenting change. So its quite normal to feel ill equipped and confused about your feelings at times. Dealing with a sense of loss when children move on can also put extra stress on a relationship. Its likely that one of you will find a particular child or situation much more difficult to work with than the other and tensions may arise, that you may take out on each other.
Quality Time Together
Making sure you have quality time together as a couple is crucial to the success of the relationship and for fostering to work within the family. Fostering children pressurises family situations and there needs to be some focus on the important relationships within the family. Its not uncommon for foster carers to divorce , so its really important that the relationship is give the focus and time its deserves. Take a look at this article at About Parenting for further information on relationships and fostering