I was extremely nervous about becoming a mother especially from all the stuff I heard about abused and neglected kids growing up to be parents! People wanted me to believe that because of what I had been through that I was highly at risk of abusing my own children. Now there is something to parents, especially young ones, mimicking what they saw from their dysfunctional parents when they themselves have children, but they (society) make us look like we don’t have the ability to discern between what is right and wrong at a fundamental level- and that is an UNTRUTH (I’ve always wanted to say untruth, so there it is!)
Shortly before I became pregnant with my son, I was required by my MSW program to take a Human Development class and I was irritated because I didn’t want to take it, but somehow I did not have this as a pre-requisite before applying to UMB. So I enrolled and dragged my hind-parts to this class that I thought was inconveniencing my life so. Well, I will tell you that I am ABSOLUTELY GLAD that I took this class. It covered child development, their brain development and effective ways of disciplining and such. My idea of discipline was what I was raised by- spare the rod and spoil the child. But even with that I knew the difference between disciplining and abuse (there is a difference and we can talk about that in a different post). This class taught me that the world of parenting was so much more. It taught me about patience; it made me look at parenting as a strategy to raising a child. With that being said, I believe EVERY PARENT (not just former or current foster youth) should take a Child Development or Parenting Class.
One of the things we as Alumni MUST do is to start to pick apart the MANY negative stereotypes that society and the foster care system harbor for us because they are UNTRUTHS (there it is again). The sad part is that the Foster Care System has a way of reinforcing these stereotypes and then convincing us that they are true. We then end up internalizing and self-perpetuating the stereotypes of others so then they can sit back and say “See I told you she/he couldn’t raise that child. You know she from Foster Care,right?”
Do foster youth need a little extra support when becoming a parent? YES! Do we hold some ideas of parenting that aren’t healthy because of our upbringing AND time in foster care? YES! Does it mean we will be bad parents or abuse our children? ABSOLUTELY NOT!