OK, so there are days when I have the thought, “I am too old for this!” But, I know it is not really true. Naturally, there may be an age when an individual might be too old to foster, which will vary from person to person…I’ll grant you that. But, it is WAY older than what people would have me try to believe. And I know it is older than me!
So let’s be real for a minute. Many people (some of whom are younger than me and I’m not THAT old…can you tell I might be a touch sensitive about this?!) tell me that they are too old to be a foster parent. It’s not a health issue, it’s not a money issue, it’s not a space issue (empty-nesters, I’m talking to you)…but instead they tell me they are too old.
Um, no…you are not. And let me tell you why. Because the older you get, the wiser you get; the more seasoned you get; and sometimes the more mellow you get. And believe me, uptight parenting is the last thing kids from hard places need.
Not that I am a mellow parent, by any stretch (no need to verify this with my children, because they will throw me right under the bus). But, I am definitely much more relaxed in my approach to parenting than I was with my older two kids (especially the oldest one…sorry about that, dude).
Think: grandparents. That doesn’t mean you are grandparents or are old enough to be grandparents, so don’t walk away from this blog and think that I am calling you old, because I am not. But then again, you might be grandparents, and that totally works too! My point here is this: when you consider the ideal grandparents and how warm, welcoming, loving and tender they can be…plus they are often a little bit more chill in how they handle things…this sounds more like an ideal kind of foster parent, right?
Just to be clear, chill is not the end-all-be-all. But, I have learned that sometimes I need to take a step back from a child’s undesirable behavior and decide if I need to put a stake in the ground on my response; or, if I can stay regulated myself and realize the child’s choice or behavior is not something that will make or break the day. This is a response on my own part that has come from time and experience and *gasp*…age.
“When we know better, we do better”…and usually the knowing better and doing better come with age and experience.