After writing a post about things I disliked hearing in foster care, there were a lot of comments regarding foster children being told by their foster parents, that they should be thankful. This is something that has been said to me many times before, but not something I had a strong opinion on myself. There are many things said to you or about you as a foster kid so I found it best to have a tough skin. This was mainly in reference to the question: If a foster kid is not being "grateful" for what they have or not realizing that others have it worse, is it a bad thing to remind them that they need to be grateful for having it better that some others? After asking the question “Should foster kids grateful for being in a good home?” on social media, I received a lot of feedback from both former foster kids and foster parents with opinions across the board. I think there are a lot of different factors that come in to play that affect a person’s opinion.
For many I think it was the word "grateful" and that if it was coming from the foster parents then it shouldn't be said. There were many that pointed out that kids shouldn't have to be grateful to be in a safe loving home, it is a right. Many people said they like the word "thankful" because it sounds better. We all can find something to be positive to be thankful for. Some just had the opinion that if a foster kid is a good loving home then they should be grateful. There wasn't as much feedback from former foster kids vs. foster parents but I did notice a majority of former foster kid agreed that these kids should be grateful.
When we were being abused we would often be told about how bad foster care is. They tell me about being attacked by both the parents and other kids. They said I would only be used as a check and used this idea to control me into not telling what was going on. When we went into foster care I didn't know what to expect but the worst. I remember on the way to our first home mentally getting ready for battle, to protect my brothers and me. After we got there, got settled and I could tell the situation was going to be safe, I was grateful (or thankful) that we got placed in a good home. When it was time to go to our next home I was even more on edge. I figured after all the stories I'd heard we couldn't get lucky twice. We end up and Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home, which is something I am grateful for to this day. Foster care isn't good no matter what setting you’re in, but sometimes it could be worse I've been told by many people that I was lucky, I should be grateful and thankful. They are right.
Not everyone's situation is the same. Many foster kids don't live in good foster homes. I foster parent shouldn't come at a foster kid with anger and tell them they should be grateful. This is especially true if it’s coming from a foster parent providing a stable, loving home. At the same time I do believe that it is not out of place to remind for a foster parent to remind their foster kids to be thankful or grateful for what they do have going on for them. Yes, in the perfect world a person or child shouldn't HAVE to be grateful for being in a good home but the truth is there are a lot of bad homes, biological and foster homes. Raising my 16 and 14 year old brothers has given me perspective on this topic. They've been placed in good homes and bad homes and now have gotten to come live with me. I do my best to give them a normal life and not to toot my own horn but we do it pretty well. As with all teenagers they act out, say and do things that need to be checked. I remind them how well they have it now compared to their past and others in their situation. As their brother/ parent it's my job to teach them to be thankful for things. This goes along with work ethic, relationships and life in general. There's nothing wrong with a parent or foster parents reminding their kids of the positives, sometimes it’s all about how you say it and if you’re providing the loving, stable home behind it.