TAKE A CHANCE, MAKE A DIFFERENCE
It’s hard enough to parent any teenager, never mind teens who have had their worlds turned upside down and been placed in the foster care system. Can you imagine going through adolescence and being displaced from your family? These teens struggle to cope with disappointment, hurt, anxieties, fears, abandonment issues, misunderstandings and anger at a level higher than your typical adolescent.
On top of that, most families signing up to be part of foster care are interested in young children. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough foster families willing to take in teenagers, and finding homes to take therapeutic teens is an even greater challenge. More homes willing to provide a safe environment for teens are desperately needed.
Teens in foster care have an especially hard time trusting others. Most want to belong to a family but often struggle to trust that adults will not let them down. They build walls around their hearts to protect themselves. They have been let down so many times they can’t see any reason to trust others.
Teen foster children come from backgrounds impacting the way they see the world. They were mistreated in one way or another and often lash out at the world because of their inner pain. They need to learn to express their emotions appropriately; they need someone willing to give them guidance, structure, consistency and rules in a respectful manner.
Teens need someone to be there for them through their ups and downs, to show understanding, to care about their feelings, to keep them safe and to teach them to trust again. They need someone who will care about them when they’ve made mistakes. They need to know things will be better than what they have been.
Fostering teens is an opportunity to provide them with a toolbox of skills to help them navigate the world. You may be able to help teens build the foundations they need to be successful adults.
Being a foster parent to a teenager may be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding. Not all teens are dangerous or beyond help. Sometimes, all it takes is a little understanding, a lot of time, and a whole lot of patience; you may be pleasantly surprised at how you have helped make a difference in a teenage child’s life.
Foster parents can offer teens hope and give them a reason to find joy in their world. Teenagers need someone to love them unconditionally and be willing to give them a chance. They will open their hearts to you if you open your hearts to them.
KidsPeace encourages people to open their homes and hearts to teenagers and provide the love, stability, nurturing and guidance they need.
To learn more about fostering a teen, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.