So how can foster carers support teenagers? Supporting teenagers as a foster carer can be very rewarding, but it can also be challenging at times.
Their past experiences may reflect how they act; foster carers need to be understanding of the young person’s past experiences and communicate with them on a level they can relate to. This will help to build a positive relationship.
So we’ve asked the Foster Wales experts to share some practical advice on how to deal with common teen issues, as well as help your family with the fostering transition.
How can foster carers support teenagers?
Understand and be prepared.
We need to understand that the young adults may have experienced trauma far beyond their years before arriving to your home. So it’s important to remember that if they act out against you, it’s most likely their way of acting out against the circumstances.
Remain patient, calm and loving
While your teenager is bound to push your buttons, it’s vital that you remember to stay calm. Remind yourself that most teenagers who behave this way do so because they lack compassion and love in their lives. Remain patient, calm and loving – in turn, your teenager will learn to bring down their walls and build trust.
Establish clear boundaries and rules
It’s important to establish boundaries and rules. Let them know that they are expected to contribute to the family in the same way as everyone else. Make your expectations clear and consistent and if your teenager breaks the rules, follow through with appropriate consequences.
Talk to your social worker
Your social worker is there for a reason and they are always willing to give a helping hand or listening ear if you need it. Our social workers are always in reach, easy to talk to and ultimately want what’s best for everyone. Sharing ideas, issues and insights are some of the things that make Foster Wales the specialists in making happy futures for the children and young people we care for.
Remember, they are still children
While your foster teen may tower over you and look like an adult, they are still under 18, and need the same love that any child craves. Many times, teenagers enjoy the simple things such as seeing Disney films, visiting the arcades or going out for ice-cream. This may be because they have lacked normal childhood experiences. Keep their childhood alive and bond with your foster teen over these simple, fun activities.