Acceptance is all about suspending your judgment and criticism. It’s about showing your child that their internal world is safe with you, and that you accept whatever is going on for them. This helps to create a real sense of safety for your child.
As a foster parent, you do not have to show acceptance for your child’s behaviour, but you must show acceptance of the intention behind it.
Let’s say your child has taken some money from you without your permission. Many of us would feel upset or even angry in this scenario. PACE parenting teaches us to look at the child’s underlying intentions first, which makes it so much easier for us to accept.
Before coming into care, your child may not have had an adult around to provide them with everything they needed, or it was too dangerous to ask for things. They had to take what they needed in order to survive.
In this scenario, acceptance could sound like:
“I’m disappointed that you took money from me without asking, but I know that you had to take the things you needed at home because your mum wasn’t able to. You can always ask me for the things you want.”
By understanding your child’s underlying intention, you’re able to reconnect with what they were trying to tell you. Then you can offer empathy.