8 Tips For Fostering Teens
Navigating the realm of parenting teenagers is a societal hallmark, brimming with a tapestry of anecdotes, frustrations, and humor, especially as hormones fluctuate, identities take shape, and the quest to guide a teen’s growth and development unfolds. Foster parenting a teenager mirrors the challenges and rewards of raising any adolescent, albeit with unique considerations.
While fostering a teenager may seem daunting, it proves not only possible but immensely rewarding. Some foster parents discover a particular affinity for guiding teens. To assist you in this journey, we’ve compiled tips, complementing the support from your social worker, to help you effectively parent a teen in foster care.
Understand the emotional significance of food for your foster teen. Make them feel at home by discussing their preferences and accompanying them while shopping for favorite snacks, fostering a sense of familiarity in your new household.
Create a Homey Environment
Eliminate avoidable disparities between your foster child and biological children, ensuring equitable access to amenities like full-size beds and TVs. Offer a basic orientation to your home, emphasizing essential locations, and provide night lights for navigation in unfamiliar surroundings.
Discover Their Identity
Foster a safe space for your foster teen to explore their identity and interests, acknowledging the responsibilities they may have assumed prematurely due to past traumas. Engage in casual conversations, framed with curiosity rather than interrogation, to build trust.
Support Their Interests
Learn about your foster teen’s hobbies and interests to offer support, whether it’s obtaining a library card, facilitating access to musical instruments, or discussing sports involvement. Your efforts in providing resources and encouragement can make a significant impact.
Handle Puberty and Mood Swings
Recognize the challenges of puberty and mood swings, intensified by past traumas. Demonstrate healthy coping skills and empathy, giving your foster teen the space to process changes and approach you when ready. Patience, compassion, and a calm demeanor establish you as a reliable and consistent support.
Teens, especially foster teens, discern authenticity. Model vulnerability and genuineness to foster trust, sharing personal stories when appropriate. Avoid using your foster teen as a substitute therapist, focusing instead on relatable experiences or tools that aided your own challenges.
Love Them Where They Are
Acknowledge your foster teen’s complex emotions, unique habits, and desire for familiarity. Gradually introduce changes, respecting their need for normalcy in a period of upheaval. Adapt to their routines, allowing time to transition to new ones at a comfortable pace.
The Ultimate Tip
Establish open communication with your foster teen. While the provided tips serve as valuable guidelines, genuine connection and presence remain irreplaceable. Discover their communication preferences, shared interests, and persist in building a relationship that transcends immediate barriers.