Many of the young people in foster care are teenagers. This requires a special individual to provide the right care and support. To be a good foster carer is about being empathetic, understanding and caring as well as good communication skills to help a teenager develop.

The life experiences foster carers have can help guide an individual to make the right decisions. For teenagers, they are already facing challenges and pressures with growing up, peer groups, education and now social distancing. So, to add all these major elements together alongside the fact that they are now with a foster family, the stress and strain on the young person is beyond comprehension. So, good communication skills coupled with being a good listener helps provide some stability in this unsettled time.

What you need to consider when fostering teenagers

There are some key areas that foster carers need to think about for managing a teenager’s behaviour, these include:

  • Listening and respect: Fostering is all about support, encouragement and helping a child develop to be the best they can be. With a teenager they will already have a degree of independence. They will want to spend time with friends, use social media and already start to be set in their ways. Therefore, listening, and respecting confidentiality and their need to be independent is vital. The role is about showing trust and helping to put in place agreed boundaries.
  • Encourage and compliment: Always look to find a positive to offer encouragement in the everyday – but don’t expect thanks. It’s a tough role to fill but foster carers offering this strong support and guidance is so very important. A young person may make bad decisions but that’s where your encouragement and guidance will help them learn about making better choices in the future.
  • Welfare and safeguarding: Safeguarding the children in our care is paramount. While a young person may feel they are old enough to stay out late or may not even think about personal safety, it takes a strong character for a foster carer to delve into their life experiences and training to explain that some activities pose a risk and that all you wish for is to keep them safe.
  • Celebrate success and achievement: Most important is to celebrate success and achievement of the teenager in your care. As a foster carer you can help raise their expectations, build their confidence and self-esteem, and help them go on to achieve positive outcomes.

With 2020 lockdown restrictions in the mix and uncertainty for when we may get back to as normal life as possible, right now teenagers need all the support they can. Personal space and independence have been impacted and friendships tested. Plus so many more things that have changed in important life stages such as celebrating GCSE successes with friends or partying at a prom or 16th birthday. Understanding all of these stresses, anxieties and even fear for the future, the respect, listening and understanding from a foster carer is a key part of the role to help young people navigate what is happening today.

Why become a foster carer to teenagers

Being a foster carer for teenagers means that you will give a young person the opportunity to grow and become successful adults by guiding them, helping them to feel safe and to learn to trust again. This is such a rewarding role to help a child to take control of their Own Life and help them to learn that their future is worth it.

Are you up for the challenge of fostering teenagers?

 To become a foster carer you need to be over the age of 23 years, have a spare bedroom and a loving and secure home.

If you think this is a career for you and that you could help give a young child the best opportunity to develop in life, give us a call on 020 8313 3304 or complete our online contact form.

We place children with foster families in South London and right now we have an urgent need for foster carers in the following areas CroydonGreenwichLewishamBexley, LambethBromleyMerton, Sutton, and Southwark.

Become a foster carer with OwnLife Fostering.