Despite the abundance of parenting books on the market, there is no single reference guide to prepare parents for every situation they will encounter. A large part of parenting involves acting based on instincts. That being said, learning on the job also plays a huge part. Even the most prepared foster parents can’t predict every situation they will face.
We naturally know best only what we have been exposed to or what we have studied. Prior to becoming a foster parent, most adults are biological parents who desire to help other children. They are not usually provided adequate training prior to taking on a foster care role. The children who come into their homes are sometimes high-risk, forcing the foster parents to learn as they go.
If you pride yourself on being prepared, do not let the concept of learning on the job frighten you. It happens more often than you realize. When you brought home your first child home from the hospital, you were not prepared for the huge responsibility you had assumed, no matter how many books you had read. You learned as you went along because you had to in order to be a good parent.
Foster parenting works the same way. There are many subjects in which a foster parent must excel. Foster parents develop networks to share information and methods that have proven successful. When the situation is not dire, they allow their instincts to guide them and take creative approaches.
Sometimes, learning on the job is the best way to learn. Going through an experience is often much more educational than reading about it in a book. Foster parents live what they are learning, asking questions and taking mental notes along the way. Rather than being worried about what they do not know, they keep an open mind and allow their instincts to guide them