Family Care For Children & Youth

Fostering a teenager can be a downright scary endeavor. For one thing, it can be much more difficult to manage and bond with an unfamiliar teenager than with an unfamiliar child of a younger age. Teens are naturally more independent, and they’re already dealing with the physical, emotional, and social turmoil of teenhood without the added stress of a new living situation with a new guardian who has new expectations and rules. Keep the following tips in mind to help make your teen foster care experience a positive and productive one.

FCCY quote 1Balance Your Expectations

Believe it or not, the way you mentally prepare for the arrival of your foster teen can have a significant impact on how the two of you interact. There is a line you’ll need to walk balanced between naievety and pessimism.

On the one hand, it’s important to expect anything when you’re being introduced to a new foster teen in order to avoid being caught in the proverbial headlights. If your initial reaction to harsh language or bold behavior is shock, you’ll be much less prepared to address it. On the other hand, you don’t want to go into this new situation expecting the worst. It is true that many foster children, including teens, come from bad situations, but don’t let this intimidate you. Approach your new role with confidence, offering wisdom and love instead of fear.

teen wallSet Clear Boundaries

This particular piece of advice seems to show up on all parenting blogs at one point or another, but that only reinforces its importance. Kids need boundaries, and this truth does not go away when kids become teenagers. Be sure to establish the expectations and guidelines of living in your home prior to your foster teen’s arrival. You may even write these down. After giving your charge a bit of time to adjust, discuss these boundaries together. Explain not only the expectations but also the reasons for them and the possible consequences if they are not met.

That being said, it will be important for you to be fair in your expectations. Do not expect too much too quickly, as this can be overwhelming for both of you. In addition, don’t be afraid to be flexible if your foster teen argues a good point. As adults, we like to believe that we’re always right, but sometimes teens know what they’re talking about, too, and it may take them explaining it for us to realize that we are being unfair.

Get to Know Them!

When you invite a foster child of any age into your home, your job doesn’t end with providing the daily necessities like food, shelter, and clothing; you’ll also need to sit down for long conversations, ask questions (and actually listen to the answers), play games, and genuinely get to know him or her. It can be too easy to simply assume we know how a teen is feeling or what he or she is thinking, try your best not to do this. When you catch yourself making an assumption, voice your concerns to your foster teen. He or she will most likely be happy to share what is actually going on. In general, teens enjoy being listened to, and they appreciate an adult who actually takes the time to understand what they’re feeling.

Stay Connected

Whether or not you decide to work with Family Care For Children & Youth as you join the foster care community, be sure to stay in touch with the teen’s case manager. Just because your initial training is over doesn’t mean you’re on your own.  

If you’re ready to become a foster parent, you can get the last of your foster care questions answered by giving us a call at one of our PA locations.

At Family Care for Children & Youth, all case managers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and have received training in Choice Theory/Reality Therapy. Case managers also complete a number of additional training programs throughout the course of each year.

The mission of Family Care for Children & Youth, Inc. is to be the best social service agency committed to providing an excellent standard of care and culturally competent services while communicating compassion, empathy, and hope for the future.

Don't Take Our Word For It, Our Happy Families Say It All

Check out our success stories below

Testimonials

They care about the children and are very thorough

My husband and I always tell people that talk to us about wanting to foster or adopt about our agency.  We enjoy working with this agency because the staff not only care about the careful p…Read More

Alice Cedrone

We enjoy giving back

Fostering is very positive experience not only for ourselves but also for the child’s well-being.  We enjoy giving back. Providing a loving, nurturing home to a child gives the child an o…Read More

Millie Flores

We would recommend FCCY

Picking FCCY to work with has been the best thing my husband and I could have done. We have had only positive experiences with this agency. The case managers are so good and give you total s…Read More

P. Kyler

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