The experts refer to the effect as being non-linear. That is, there does not appear to be a direct link from the small action to the larger result. Nevertheless, the small action does set off a ripple that can change the world.
What does this have to do with parent and child fostering? Everything. The larger world is composed of all the small things we do in our day-to-day lives. Let’s consider the effort that the United Nations make to bring together the world in a harmonious unity. An example of the UN’s effort can be seen in the upcoming International Day of Friendship.
The International Day of Friendship is taking place on 30 July 2018. This is an annual event that grew out of the UN General Assembly concept that the world needs a Culture of Peace. It was in 1997 when the move toward the culture of peace was embodied by the UN. Ultimately, the culture of peace and non-violence was considered to begin with the education of children. If children grew up learning to live together in peace and harmony, this would become part of their nature and the way they raised their children in the future.
In 2011, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the International Day of Friendship. The notion behind this special day is that “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.” On this upcoming day of friendship, the idea is that we come together in big and little groups with events and activities that unite and strengthen our international community.
It is a time to come together in friendship and acceptance. If children could grow up in a world where bonds of camaraderie were developed, and strong ties of trust grew, the result would be a better world – a world with brighter futures for all. The International Day of Friendship is the ideal day and occasion for you to consider how you can create your own butterfly effect.
There is no better time to think about how you can make a difference, one small family at a time through friendships forged in a mutual desire and hope for a positive future. The International Day of Friendship supports the belief that through friendship, “we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.”
It’s a grand idea and you can be part of the bigger picture. Specifically, we’re looking at how parent and child fostering can transform the future of a new family. Parent and child fostering is related to the global effort to unite for the greater good because peace, love, and camaraderie begins at home in the the basic unit of family, where children learn to relate with the world around them.
There are thousands of children and young people in the UK in foster care. There are sibling groups, teenagers, younger children, and young parents with children of their own.
The young people with children of their own are the special placements known as parent and child fostering. This specialist foster placement used to be referred to as mother and baby fostering. It was renamed parent and child fostering to more accurately reflect the reality of the situation because the placement is not always a mother and a baby.
There are as many possible arrangements as there are parents starting out as parents without the support they need. The process can begin before the birth of the child when the young parent or parents might be placed. The placement can begin after the child is born or a little later when it is determined that the mother or father or both need some guidance.
The parent is not always a teenager, either. Becoming a new parent and having no support can happen to adults as well. This is a different type of fostering where you are acting as a guide for the emerging family through the perils of learning to care for a baby and helping them integrate into the larger community. It is your butterfly effect. It begins with you wanting to be a role model to a parent (or parents) and their child (or children).
Parent and child fostering is not typically a long-term foster placement. It’s part assessment and part training. The duration depends on the situation. For example, the parent and the child may be placed with you with an eye to assessing the mother’s and/or father’s ability to be a parent. The assessment may take up to twelve weeks. Parenting is a learned skill and the parent might be very young or very inexperienced. Your role is to observe and advise as the parent bonds with the child and help them in learning the essential tasks of parenting.
The arrangement could be a pre-birth placement. It’s never too early to help young parents get ready for the baby’s arrival and to learn parenting skills. A post-birth placement may involve teaching parenting skills to someone who knows very little about caring for a newborn, or someone who has not succeeded in caring for a toddler simply because they had no background in what they need to do to provide a safe and healthy environment.
The parent may not have had a strong family background and it might be a matter of not knowing the basics of looking after a baby. They need a bit of help in getting initial training in childcare.
Parent and child placement is a gentle alternative to residential care or removing a newborn from his or her parents. As a carer, you are there to support the mother or father while assessing their ability to function as parents in the community. You help with advice, understanding, and kindness.
Parenthood, especially new parenthood, comes with elements of stress. It is human nature to have pre-conceived notions of what motherhood or fatherhood will be like. We see the commercials and the movies, and it is a joyful time. While there are many such moments in real life, there are also nappies and feedings and often a lot of crying. All three of these things sometimes can feel like they never end.
If you are a teenager, not used to babies, it is easy to think that a crying baby is in serious distress. You’re tired and aching for a nap but it is not possible to nap with worry on your mind. The birth of a child is a major life-changing event.
Fear, insecurity, lack of information, and being overwhelmed creates a situation where the new parent or parents doubt their ability to handle the role of parenthood.
This is where you come in. This is where you can make all the difference in the world of this tiny family.
You know, because you are experienced in life and caring and patience, that support is an essential aspect in coping with the trials and tribulations of life’s stressful moments. When you become a foster carer, you receive training and support in your caring role. When you assume the specialist role of helping parents and children bond, you are provided with further training.
You are amazingly well equipped to handle the daily tasks of parenthood and to impart the wisdom to a new parent. There are things you know about being a parent because you have been there and done that. Your experience is augmented with our support. You have a rare opportunity to step in as the extended family for this new and emerging young family.
You are there to help with the basic knowledge such as how to change a nappy and how to burp a baby. This might seem like common knowledge to you, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to a new parent. We are not born with the innate knowledge of how to care for an infant. We learn by observing and by doing. What we need to gain this knowledge, is a good role model.
You are that role model. You are there to assist the mother or father in self-care such as getting sufficient sleep – without feeling guilty about needing to tend to their own needs. You can help the young mother learn the valuable lesson of how to take a deep breath and be calm when she wants to pull her hair out because the baby won’t stop crying.
You are building a relationship of trust with the parent while helping him or her to build a relationship with the child. At the same time, you are observing the developing relationship between parent and child. You are in a challenging situation where you help and support the mother or father while also monitoring the parent’s ability to maintain his or her level of love and care for the baby or toddler.
Relationships can be challenging as much as they are crucial to our well-being in life. As you provide this type of fostering, you are also letting the parent know that they are not alone, and they don’t have to be alone. There are always supporters they can turn to in times when they feel they need a friendly ear and a bit of advice. By being there for them and with them, you teach them the value of a listening ear and trusting another person as well as trusting themselves.
Supporting and assessing parental ability to care for the child, providing advice, and teaching parenting skills is part of your task. Don’t feel that this is an onerous job. You’re not alone. You team up with social workers, a senior supervising social worker, community care representatives, children and family services, and an entire support network for social care in the parenting assessment as well as in transitioning the parent and child into life in the community.
While you are bonding with the parent, the parent is bonding with the child. It is essential that the parent is the child’s key attachment figure. You are helping in this process while also assessing and augmenting the parents’ ability to provide a healthy environment for the child. There is an intensity in this relationship because the outcome determines whether the young parent can properly care for the child in the community. There is also joy as the new parent learns confidence in his or her ability to care for the child.
Your strength is in your ability to be vigilant while also taking a step or two back as the parent learns the intricacies of parenthood. You protect the child while trusting the parent. You train the parent without being too bossy and controlling. It is one thing to show the mother how to care for her child. It is another thing to do this without doing it all for them.
You help and guide them on how to handle parental responsibilities. This special type of fostering gives the young mother or father reassurance and advice in the essential task of parenting while also ensuring that the little one is in a safe, nurturing, and secure environment.
One huge benefit to fostering is the satisfaction of knowing that you are participating in making a positive difference in the life of a child or young person. This is what it is all about: building brighter futures for children.
Never underestimate the power of helping a single individual start out on the sure path toward a good future. If you can help a young parent start that journey with their child safe and secure at their side, you have created the type of energy that has long-lasting effects. You can easily consider the efforts you make as your own personal butterfly effect.
If you are interested in learning more, please call us and speak to one of the team at Capstone Foster Care on 0800 012 4004, or fill out our contact form or live chat. We look forward to meeting you.