Yes, I’m only kidding with the following suggestions, unless of course you do want to lose your foster parenting friend. But these are statements that I, and many of my foster parent friends, have personally heard from other well-meaning friends and family. I know hurting me or my family was not intended, but I do hope that through this article others can see how simple statements can have an impact on others.
Tell your foster parenting friends how you could never do foster care because you would love the children too much. This way the foster family feels a bit cold-hearted as that is the only way anyone could do foster care, according to your statement.
- Bug the foster family with questions about why the children are not with their birth mom and dad. This is a great way to push the foster family into breaking confidentiality and ruining their reputation as a professional part of the foster care team.
- Advise the foster family that the foster child just needs a good spanking to solve behavior problems. The foster family will then feel further overwhelmed not only in dealing with behaviors, but in constantly having to explain and defend discipline choices.
- Devalue the foster family's choice to serve the children of the community by criticizing their decision. Explain how you would never do foster care because it brings bad influences into your home and into the lives of your children.
- Say things like, "you're too strict", "all foster children need is love," and "you should baby the kids more, they've been through so much" undermining the foster parent's ability to make parenting choices for the children within their care.
- Refuse to understand the need for the children to have boundaries within relationships and triangulate with the kids every chance you get. Try siding with the kids against the foster parents, they love this!
- When the foster parent is venting to you as one of their much needed support systems, say, “I’ve never seen the foster child act like that, he/she was perfect for me,” or “I would take him/her in a minute if I could.” This will cause the foster parent to think that they are going crazy and doubt what they are seeing in the child’s behavior.
- If the foster child drives you crazy then feel free to tell the foster parents about it. Don’t worry about saying anything rude about the child within their care, it’s not like they are the foster child's REAL parents anyway. Say things like, “how can you stand that kid?” “ I would have shipped him/her off long ago.” Be sure to complain about the child every chance you get, ignoring any hint of hurt from the foster parent.
- Drive home any feelings of ineptness by telling the foster parents how you’d have “that kid straightened out in two weeks." Nothing makes a foster parent feel unsuccessful like comparison of parenting skills. This will cause the foster parents to doubt their parenting ability and to second guess every choice and decision.
- Guilt is a very effective tool if you want to destroy someone’s self-worth. Ask the foster parents if they feel terrible about taking away from their own children with their choice of doing foster care. This is even more effective during times of high stress when the foster child is having behavior problems and the family is in crisis mode.
If you follow these 10 easy steps you too could end a perfectly good friendship with your pal who does foster care! If, however, you value this friendship and your friend - try the opposite of each of the above statements. I bet your foster parenting friend will appreciate it!