We, as foster parents, desperately want our foster children to do their best, even more so because of the trauma and hurt they have already been through. Foster children may have become completely immobilized or paralyzed by fear of failure and won’t even try. The best way to start the healing process in this situation is to focus on encouragement and on having your child be happy and well balanced rather than on being a “winner” or being “successful” in the traditional sense of the word.
Although praise is a good tool to use intermittently, by far the more important tool is encouragement. If children are praised for everything they do, even failures, they become confused when they get out in the real world and are not similarly compensated for their efforts or lack thereof. Therefore, a careful balance of encouragement coupled with an expectation that the child will put forth the very best effort possible, is what is necessary.