Across Staffordshire we need more Foster Carer’s for children of all ages, but our greatest need is for Foster Carers for young people aged 13 to 17.
Fostering a teenager is probably the most rewarding and challenging role you could ever take on.
As with looking after teenagers under any other circumstance, it can come with its own challenges, however these challenges are usually heavily outweighed by the benefits to both the foster carer and teenager.
What’s it like to foster a teenager?
Challenging but rewarding is what our Foster Carer’s tell us.
When teenagers come into your life, getting to know them, and gaining their trust may take some time. It’s partly because of their age and it is partly their experience with foster care.
For any young person the transition into adulthood can be tough even under the best of circumstances. But for our children it’s even harder.
There are so many hormonal and physical changes taking place.
Concerns about appearance, peer pressure, and what’s going to happen to them in the future add to the pressure.
This is what James, one of our Foster Carers, says about fostering:
“The last 9 months have been the best of my life, becoming a foster carer has been the best thing I have ever been part of. My young person is now doing well both in his personal and educational life. It just goes to show what having a settled secure home and most importantly feeling loved can do for a young person.”
Top tips for fostering a teenager
Fostering a teenager can be a challenge, so it’s important that their needs are met for them to settle with their foster carers.
Here are some of the main things that our foster carers champion that helps them build a connection with their young person.
Give them responsibility
Make sure your teenager has age-appropriate responsibility and encourage them to be reliant on themselves, as they gradually develop life skills on their own.
Some older teenagers may be interested in helping with cooking and learning a new skill, it’s something you can do together with them and you’ll find they will often open up to you whilst doing it. We also have our independence programme which you can work through with them, preparing them to live independently.
Respect their privacy
Privacy is vital for a teenager.
Respect their privacy just as they should respect yours. Remember to knock on bedroom doors before just walking into their room if the door is closed, don’t go on their phone and read their messages from their friends and listen to their conversations, and don’t search their room or bags.
To any teenager privacy is important, but when fostering teenagers it’s essential to build trust and a relationship when they may have been let down in the past.
Guide them down the right path
Guiding a fostered teenager down the right path is important to their development, as they will need steering in the right direction once every so often.
If it is something quite minor and safe then they can be left to get on with it and learn from their mistakes, however if it’s something major that can affect their well-being, then your teen needs to accept your guidance.
Listen to their opinions and views
Listen to what your fostered teen says, and always take their opinion seriously.
If you know what they are saying is wrong or misguided, explain what is generally held to be true and take it as an opportunity to teach them something new.
Considering fostering a teenager?
Yes! There’s no ‘typical’ foster carer and all sorts of people become great foster carers for teenagers.
Teenagers of all backgrounds need your help, so we accept people from all walks of life to become Foster for Staffordshire foster carers.
- You don’t need to have a big house but you do need to have a spare bedroom.
- You could be a parent, but you don’t have to be.
- There are no age barriers.
- You could be from any ethnic or religious background.
- You could be married, single, in a civil partnership or living in a settled relationship.
- You can be working or not working.
As long as you’re committed to helping a child to realise their potential, you could be what we are looking for and we would love to hear from you.
Ready to take the next step and foster a teenager?
Enquire online now or call 0800 169 2061 today and we’ll help answer your questions about fostering a teenager.
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