Bonding Matters: Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities



When a foster child officially becomes one of the family, a multitude of worries can arise. It can be an experience that can either decrease their self-esteem or give them the confidence to achieve great things. Having the responsibility of being a foster carer can create a way for lasting friendships and an opportunity for making many positive differences in someone’s life.

Four Bonding Opportunities

Cultural Differences

A person from the foster care system may have been placed there due to an abusive household or needed to flee from an unsafe environment. These destabilising events can create anxiety and trauma responses. Understanding cultural differences can help the child feel understood and feel safe even though they are in a new environment. Learning more about their culture can be a bonding exercise where the foster carer and child can discuss cultural clothing, food, language and even cultural etiquette. It can assist the child in forming a sense of identity.

Health Issues

It is crucial to take the time and effort to know as much as possible about any health issues a foster child may have; this may require speaking to a doctor or even taking a course to provide the child with what they need for their wellbeing. Bonding can result by researching a specific health issue or healthy living in general, can be turned into a family activity. Walking is an activity that benefits both mental and physical health. Different forms of exercise can be a practical step in aiding a foster child’s overall health. The foster carer can gain more knowledge on the child’s interests during this time. Watching educational documentaries or reading books can increase their knowledge and vocabulary.

Ethnic Differences

If a foster family and child are from different ethnic backgrounds, this can be an opportunity to help the child understand more about their ethnicity. For instance, a child can have a different hair texture to their foster family. The differences can be a chance to expand their knowledge on how to do different hairstyles for those hair types. Additionally, ethnic foods and meals can become an experience that the foster family and child can share as they learn how to cook different cuisines.


A foster child may feel abandoned by their birth parents. The foster parents can help them understand their case when they are at an appropriate age and cultivate an environment where they never feel abandoned. Going to seek professional help such as therapy can be beneficial in such cases. The ways a foster family can help the child feel cared for can include making sure they research other aspects of abandonment to gain more insight; one aspect may be fear of change. Trauma responses can have an impact on their adult lives. Therefore understanding this at an early stage can make the foster parents assist the child in understanding that change is not always bad.

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