It can be time-consuming to build trust with an older adopted child or foster child. Often, these children have been through various forms of trauma. You might not be the first parent that has attempted to build trust with them. Their past experiences will have a big effect on how long it takes. Give it time though, and understand that trust is not built overnight. You must earn it through your words and actions. For example, by keeping your promises to them. Showing them respect shows that you value and trust their opinions as well. And finally, always be honest with and in front of your children so that they can see that anybody, not just them, can trust you. Try to be patient and remember that it can take time but that the journey will be worth it in the end.
How to Build Trust with an Older Adopted Child or Foster Child
Give It Time
The most important thing to remember when trying to build trust with an older adopted child or foster child is to give it time. Many foster children and children who have been searching for adoptive parents for years have experienced trauma. Just being in these systems is traumatic. So remember that trust can take a long time to build. Just be patient and always be consistent.
Keep Your Promises
In addition to being patient, you always need to keep your promises. This will go a long way in building trust with your older adopted child or foster child. Don’t be afraid to make promises, but just be sure there isn’t a possibility of breaking them. This shows your child that you follow through on your word. You can use simple examples like ”I promise that we will read a story together tonight.”
Give Them Respect
Another way to build trust with a foster child or especially an older adopted child is to give them respect. Look them in the eye when you speak to them. Ask their opinion on things. Let them make decisions about how to play or what to do and then you be the follower. Showing them that you value them as a person and value their ideas will make them more likely to trust you as well.
Finally, one last way to help build trust with an older adopted child or foster child is to always be honest. Not just honest to them, but honest around them. Otherwise, they’ll see that you can’t be trusted since you lie to others. What’s to stop you from lying to them? Even if you have to tell them disappointing things be honest. Don’t keep things from the social worker, don’t sneak food into movie theaters when it’s not allowed, and don’t try to do anything dishonest no matter how insignificant. If they see that you are always honest with people then you can build up that trust with them.
Building up trust with an older adopted child or foster child can be a long and sometimes painful journey. You might want the absolute best for them and want them to know that. But unfortunately, they might have past experiences that don’t let them trust people so easily. It’s a process that can take a while, but as long as you are consistent and patient, they will trust you more and more. Always keep your promises to them, no matter how small. Show them respect and they will show you more respect and trust in return. And finally, always be completely honest with them and around them at all times. Having somebody that they can trust helps children develop socially and academically, so be patient, consistent, and trust the process.