As parents of teenagers or an older child who may have gone off to university or moved away, you may be aware of the term ‘empty nest syndrome’.
When children ‘leave the nest’, it can be accompanied by a feeling or sense that there is ‘something’ missing in the home. That ‘something’ might be a routine, noise or chat, together with all the excitement and fun that having a child or young person in the house can bring.
So, apart from ‘just getting on with things’, what can you do about it? You could use your new found time to get a part-time job, rev up your social life, take up a new hobby or you could consider using your parenting skills and experience to help prepare looked after children for adult life by fostering.
Transferable parenting skills
Fostering can be a wonderful experience. You’re opening up your family home to offer a caring, supportive, safe environment to a child or young person – something they may not have had much experience of.
As a parent of grown-up children, you have experienced all the childhood milestones and the accompanying changing behaviours. Most importantly, you know the amount of time, patience and energy which is involved in really caring and supporting a young person.
Qualities to foster
There are many personal qualities which makes a good foster carer. Unsurprisingly, these are common characteristics of a parent. It takes someone with good patience, empathy and understanding, who is reliable and will persevere under difficult circumstances. All of which are fundamental for a child’s sense of security and growth.
Support to get you there
It can be a little daunting to consider applying these skills to supporting another person's child.
As a foster carer, you will receive extensive support and training as you embark on this new journey. There will be opportunities to attend training courses and you will be supported by a supervising social worker. He or she will be your first port of call and always there to answer any questions you might have openly and honestly, and to prepare you for every next step in the process.
You will also have access to a dedicated therapeutic team to help you navigate any specific needs you or your foster child may have. There is also peer support via the Foster Carers’ Association, Facebook groups and the Mockingbird Hub.
In addition, you will also be supported financially – both for that young person’s needs and the skills you bring to the role.
Am I ready?
The right time to foster is different for everyone. Just like being a parent, there will be ups and downs, but the rewards are priceless. Now you know a little bit more about the kind of people who foster and what support and training is on hand you may want to have an informal chat with one of our team.
If you’ve got space in your nest, now might be the right time for you.
Learn more about fostering in Rotherham
If you have any questions about fostering in Rotherham, book a call back with a member of our experienced team at a time that suits you. All our call backs are confidential.