I had an example of positive thinking by a Social Worker last year that is hard to beat.
It was an American (naturally) who came up with the concept; "The Power Of Positive Thinking" by Dr Norman Vincent Peale. Recently it's morphed into Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and other practices. I don't know about you, I think it's a case of trying to see your glass as half- full rather than half-empty. It's damn hard for the Foster Carer when the you-know-what hits the fan, But anyway, here's what happened.
We'd had a teenage girl stay, she was always on about going home, one big problem was she fought like cat and dog with her sister. Eventually it was agreed she could go home for a sort of trial. Sounds like a doddle, having your foster child staying at her real home, but can I point out it was Christmas, and I agreed not to have even a glass of mulled wine in case we got a call to go collect her at 2.00am on Boxing Day.
Anyway, no call came. Until just after New Years Day, when her Social Worker rang. "Good news, generally speaking" he said. "There's a downside, but we have to take the positives. The good news is she's bonded with her sister. They're best of pals. Do everything together. The not-so-brilliant news is that they are both at the police station, because one of the things they've been doing together is shoplifting."
THELMA AND LOUISE
Turned out they had been pinching cheap stuff they didn't need and couldn't sell (for example a rubber ball - these girls were not remotely sporty). So it was the buzz. And the camaraderie. Of course, shoplifting is wrong, no matter what the positives. However, the SW had a point. The girl went home for good.
Everyone needs to look on the bright side, Foster carers probably more than most.
- Congratulate yourself as well as the child whenever progress is made; whether it's table manners, maths homework, bed-wetting or whatever.
- Soak it up when your Social Worker praises you and what you do. Don't do the British thing of "Oh it's nothing..." Instead say "Yeah, I did get that right didn't I?"
- Go read a record from a while ago, and re-live what the child was like back then. Are they better? Well dammit, you did that. I know we are asked to destroy records after sending them in, and of course that's what I do. So from time to time I get my SW to print off a few and bring them round.
- Remember, some people grow geraniums, some people restore dilapidated properties. Foster Carers are doing something much more difficult. And worthwhile.
The Secret Foster Carer