Though foster parents make great efforts to keep their homes happy, stress can take its toll. These adults deal with the regular stresses of work, health, finances, and relationships, plus many more. The characteristics of a foster child, type and number of children, foster care agency, and lack of a support network can cause a foster parent to become very stressed.
To effectively deal with factors that cause stress, foster parents should develop their own plan to reduce the negative effects of any stress that may come their way. If they are not able to identify situations or individuals that cause them stress, they should carry a notebook around with them and record the situations as they happen. Even the act of capturing these items in writing can be therapeutic.
During times when the walls seem to be caving in, foster parents should take the opposite approach to this assignment. Making a list of everything they are doing correctly for the family and the foster children can really be a revelation. When they think they cannot do anything right, a simple review of the list illustrates that is not true.
Our bodies often tell us when we are under stress. A headache, stomachache, tiredness, or tension could be caused by stress. Emotions can bring these on and may cause even less obvious symptoms like lowered immunity, high blood pressure, and dips in blood sugar. Yoga, meditation, prayer, and other relaxation techniques can reduce stress and get the body back in balance.
Building a network of supportive people should go a long way in preventing stress. Whether they provide advice, listen, talk, or are simply present, these folks can make a huge difference. Foster parents should surround themselves with people who make them feel relaxed. Taking control of stress rather than becoming a victim of it can reduce its negative effects.