A challenge or an opportunity for connection?
How do you look back on your teen years?
Were they the best days of your life? Were they full of angst, worries and trying to find your place in the world? Maybe a bit of both?
If your teen years were not long ago or you have parented teenagers you will know the additional challenges the modern day world has brought, particularly social media.
Now imagine navigating those years with the added dynamic of having been removed from your families care and into the care of strangers…pretty daunting I think you will agree.
Did you know the highest need for foster homes is for children aged 13+?
Many people think that this is due to their behaviour… it’s not. Most teenagers need a foster home for the same reasons as younger children. They have not experienced the parenting they require and are in need of the stability, consistent care and support that foster carers can provide.
At Caritas Care over half of the children currently living in our fostering families are over 13 and they are all uniquely fabulous, with their own sets of talents and strengths.
Funny, caring and resilient are often words foster carers use to describe the teenagers in their care.
There are also a lot of stereotypes that are used to describe teenagers… moody, sleeping in, obsessed with their phones…
Yes, these can be true but it’s important to understand the reasons why, for example, teenagers do actually often need more sleep than they get and there is a shift in circadian rhythm after puberty that they are adjusting too. We also recognise that all teenagers are individuals and will present differently.
So what if things become even more challenging?
Sometimes they do. Sometimes teenagers drink alcohol, use drugs or go missing from home. However, these incidences are much less commonplace than you probably think. These are also the key times when teenagers need a stable and nurturing support network around them. Foster carers play a crucial role at these times. They are also supported by a number of other professionals. At Caritas Care we ensure all our foster carers are prepared as well as possible for these situations and supported if and when they do. This includes 24 hour 365 days per year access to one of the team for advice.
The million dollar question is… do you think you could open your heart and your home to caring for a teenager?
Could you be the one to offer a teenager the care, security and sense of belonging they need? We recognise you are likely to have many more questions than those discussed here. Please do get in touch with the team at Caritas Care for an informal discussion; no question is a silly one and we look forward to hearing from you.