Rewarding, interesting and thought provoking young people, teenagers in care may have experienced neglect, abuse or trauma and will have built a protective shell around themselves to prevent further hurt. As their foster carer, you have an unrivalled opportunity to help them build trust, explore their potential and have a positive influence over their future and the futures of their children, grandchildren and so on. Find out how you could change teenagers lives….
- A sense of humour is key in all aspects of fostering. So many potentially difficult situations can be diffused with a smile or little joke.
- Maturity – and we don’t mean age-wise! Sometimes, teenagers relate well to younger foster carers, sometimes they need someone older, but the bottom line is that you will need to be comfortable in your own skin and confident in your handling of situations.
- Patience. Fostering children and young people of any age takes a lot of patience. Usually, you will not have known your foster child from babyhood so much of his or her life experience is a mystery. One thing you can be sure of, at some point, he or she will open up to you or a member of your family. Their life story may come out in dribs and drabs or as one big declaration!
- A flexible approach. Your child care experience, either gained though having your own children or though looking after other people’s children will have shown that a flexible approach to their care often reaps rewards! Keeping an open mind and being prepared to adapt and accept changes as they take place will help you to remain resilient and committed.
Despite the fact that nearly 60%* of young people in care are aged 10 years and above, teenagers really are the “Cinderella’s” of fostering.
Often overlooked and branded ‘difficult’, these young adults have usually faced trauma, neglect or abuse. Stability, boundaries and plain old-fashioned parental care may not have featured in their young lives.
Physically, they may have grown, but emotionally, they are still children.
Here at Blue Sky, we believe helping these young people to find their way in life, to achieve and to reach their potential is a privilege and we will always tailor their care to meet their needs and help them realise their goals. Having their own bedroom, living in the security of your home and knowing you are dependable will enable them to thrive.
So, what does a teenager’s foster carer look like? Well, in all probability, they look like you!
Your most valuable assets will be that you genuinely like teenagers, you understand what makes them tick and you treat them as you would treat your own child.
As carers we have always been supported very well, nothing has proved to be to much trouble or difficult. We have been listened to well and treated throughout with respect and dignity, a lovely selection of 'switched on' staff.