Three Creative Ways to Boost Your Foster Child’s Self-Esteem

Siblings sitting on floor in yard
Siblings sitting on floor in yard

Mother and daughter hugging.

Trauma-affected children, who have been removed from their families, often struggle with feelings of inadequacy and can suffer from low self-esteem. Self-esteem has to do with how someone perceives themselves. If a child believes that they are unworthy, damaged, or unwanted, he or she is more susceptible to forming addictions, engaging in unhealthy behaviors and succumbing to peer pressure. According to a recent article from Simply Psychology, children with low self-esteem frequently engage in bullying, quitting, cheating and avoiding.

Here are some common signs that your child may be suffering from low self-esteem:

  • They are critical of themselves
  • They focus on their perceived failures
  • They use negative language to describe themselves
  • They are hesitant to try new things
  • They consistently withdraw from their peers

One of the biggest indicators of low self-esteem is when children constantly compare themselves to other children, and often feel like they fall short. To help enhance your child’s self-esteem, you must take an active role in their lives and show them that your love for them is unconditional. Here are a few tips you can use to help your child increase their self-esteem:

  • Help your child feel accepted into your family: For many foster children, the feeling of belonging can help them feel wanted and valuable. Creating a safe, nurturing environment where your child feels accepted is especially important because many foster children have reported feeling like outsiders. Treat your foster child with respect and love and include them in family outings. Also, create a space in your home that’s just for them. Hang up pictures of them and get their input about what activities they’d enjoy.
  • Try a self-esteem boosting exercise: Have your child state/write things they like about themselves every night before bed or in the morning before school. This activity will help them begin to adopt more positive thoughts about themselves over time, and can reap huge rewards that will last them a lifetime.
  • Model healthy self-esteem: Kids often mirror the adults around them. Saying positive words about yourself, staying calm when you make a mistake, having healthy expectations of yourself, and practicing patience and kindness with yourself during stressful times can have a tremendous impact on children.

To learn more about Trinity Youth Services’ programs and support for resource families, call 909.825.5588 or email info@trinityys.org.

Beautiful diverse family

National Foster Care Month

Being a foster parent is something that comes naturally to Waridi Heard, a resource parent at Trinity Youth Services. After raising her own children, Waridi felt it was her calling to help boys in crisis live happy and successful lives. Currently fostering three boys, Waridi’s mission is to help traumatized boys learn the value of self-love, compassion and respect.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a foster parent?

A: Seeing a child transform before my very eyes. Seeing young men have self-respect, the ability to respect others and be able to receive and give love back. It’s a joy seeing their chivalrous behaviors and teaching them how to be of service.

Q: How did becoming a foster parent change your life for the better?

A:  I worked alongside of my mom. She had a group home in 1990 and had it for about ten years. We helped care for medically fragile children, and I saw the need. I also saw that you could treat the children like your own child. I believe that God placed it in my heart. Our young men are suffering. I want to give boys the opportunity to live and do so more abundantly.

Q: Why was becoming a foster parent important to you?

A: I realized that it was my purpose. Giving back to children is where my gift is. It has opened up the parameters for me to see them grow up, move on to have an enjoyable life and be able to demonstrate love. I feel joy watching them go from being insecure and scared to feeling safe, secure and stable.

Q: What would you like to tell other people who may be thinking about foster parenting but are unsure?

A: Be the best foster parent you can be and look at them like they are your own children. Provide unconditional love to them. Practice patience and acceptance. You may take a couple of steps forward and one step back, but it is ok.

Q: What is your secret to being a successful foster parent?

A: Providing unconditional love, safety, security, stability and consistency.

Q: What is one myth about foster parenting that you once believed?

A: Some people feel that foster children are a lost cause, but they aren’t. They desire to be part of a family and desire to be loved. Being a consistent, loving parent: change just happens. They come in broken, but it’s a blessing and joy that I can see miracles right before my eyes. I really couldn’t do it without Ms. Laura [Foster Care Director] and Trinity’s support and direction. This is a team effort.

Stay tuned for more exciting parenting tips, inspiring stories and supportive resources! For more information, email info@trinityys.org or call 800.964.9811.

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