You Know they Are Judging You

Sometimes in foster care situations you will feel as people just don’t understand. That can be said of many things in life, but if you’re involved with this lifestyle then you have an idea of what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about one certain thing or one certain side of it. Whether you’re a foster kid or a foster parent there’s going to be things you go through, things you have to do, that most people that haven’t been in the situation just wouldn’t understand. As both a foster kid and a kinship parent I have been judged. Sometimes it was justified, but often time’s people don’t look below the surface and think about the why. Maybe there’s a reason these things have happened or things are they way they are. I know this is the part where you say, “you know the real reason and that’s what matters”. Honestly knowing the story and knowing (or really hoping) what I’m doing is best doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

The reason I ‘m writing about this is based around when foster parents have to punish or be more strict with their foster kids, and how that is viewed by others. When people look at a foster family especially the foster kids they look at them differently, rightfully so, because of what they have gone through. With many foster kids though there are issues, some that are not seen or known, that lead foster parents to treat their foster kids differently than their own kids and maybe their other foster kids. Sometimes it’s about teaching life lessons because that is more important than “child” things.

I will say that I’m a strict parent; especially kinship parenting. My experience with this would be with 2 older teens. They came to live with me being behind their social age. They had lived in foster care then adopted into a volatile situation that didn’t allow them to develop like normal kids. Understandably they want to do things that they didn’t have a chance to do. Some of it fine but some of it is not, even if they never got a chance to do it. I make a bigger deal about a situation then I would normally when they make a big mistake. I may not allow them to do things that other kids get to do. For all these things some people from the outside criticize, but I won’t change. I can’t change and I do have a reason.
Often times people think about the now without thinking about the future. But, we all know how fast that future approaches us. I can tell you from personal experience on how you go from foster kid to just another person in the world. Utility companies, the landlord, jobs and life in general don’t care about if you were a foster kid or what you went through as a child. Beside the ones closest to you, most don’t care about what struggles you’ve conquered or what may be going on in your life in the present.

With that being said, I go back to many foster kids have some sort of issues. As a real parent would it be my job to try and help them fix these issues to help them be more successful in life or should I think about everything they’ve been through and let it slide? Should I teach them a life lesson or should I cut them a break? Even though I’m not their parent it is my job to parent them. One of the aspects of being a parent is putting your children in the position to succeed. Sometimes that means teaching life lessons, putting them in situations and keeping them out of situations.

Now you may be saying “sometimes they just have to learn it for themselves”. That is true to an extent, but some life lessons stick with people for the rest of their lives. Some mistakes can’t be undone or taken back. Many foster kids haven’t had the opportunity to make mature decisions. It’s already hard enough getting started in the world especially as a foster kid. In the grand scheme of life you’re judged by your decisions, character, responsibility, and work ethic. As a parent and a kinship foster parent it’s my job to put my kids in the best position to be successful in whatever they want to do, and though it is never easy, I know that all my kids will have a chance to be successful in their own right. Being judged or not agreed with, I think we all should try to understand. These struggles have impacted many parts of life and will continue to do so. Do you feel that they are judging you?

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