The decision to foster belongs solely in the hands of foster parents. While we may politely ask our children about their opinions towards fostering during the application phase, simply put, they don’t know what they don’t know. Most children will support their parent’s decision to foster and they are usually excited at the prospect of helping other children and look forward to the companionship. Neither the foster parent nor the biological child can truly understand what it’s like to live with a foster child until they experience it firsthand. Once a foster parent begins fostering and growing up their biological children alongside foster children, the reality of this unique relationship between biological children and foster children quickly transforms family dynamics requiring a specialized parenting approach to effectively meet the biological and foster children’s needs. During this reflective session, participants will review the research on the impact of fostering on the biological children of foster parents. Themes explored are:
- Loss of privacy
- Physical threats and abuse
- Living with lying, stealing and manipulation
- Coping with frightening situations related to the foster child’s trauma
- Experiencing loss and issues of trust
- Competing for parent’s time and attention
Importantly, we will hear from 3 adult biological children who grew up alongside foster children and listen to their retrospective views on the impact of growing up with foster siblings. Strategies to help biological children cope while living with foster children will also be reviewed.