Caring for teenagers can be an extremely rewarding experience, as you get to care for a young person throughout a period of monumental growth in their lives. It can also be a challenging time, as the young person in your care navigates new experiences and big changes. Adolescence is a big journey in and of itself – and you can help guide a young person through that journey with Orchard Fostering.

If you’re thinking about fostering and feel suited to caring for teenagers, you’ve come to the right place – we’ve got all the you could need, from helping you determine whether you could provide foster care to teenagers, to advice on how to provide a nurturing environment for a teenager in your care. Read on to find out our top tips for fostering teenagers.

Are you considering fostering and feel suited to caring for teenagers? Find out more information by reaching out to Orchard Fostering today.

Am I suitable to become a Foster Carer to teenagers? 

If you’re capable of providing a loving, caring environment for young people, fostering teenagers could be for you. Fostering a teenager can be a great journey to embark upon, as you care for a young person with slightly more independence than a younger child (this is why supported lodgings can be a good option, too). You can find more information on how to foster a teenager here. We also offer emergency foster care for teenagers.

Providing foster care to a teenager is about more than just providing a caring environment – it may also involve teaching life skills (budgeting, cooking, etc), as you provide the teenager in your care with the skills and knowledge to take on the outside world. You will also act as a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a wise sage throughout your time with a young person – providing a place for them to discuss all the things that can arise in a teenage life. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then fostering a teenager could be for you. With that in mind, let’s look at some tips for fostering teens.

Get to know the person 

Our top tip for supporting teens is to talk to them with respect and curiosity. Ask them about their interests, hobbies, or passions and engage with these elements of their personality. The things we like and love are very important to us as teenagers – they help us refine and define our personality, acting as a means by which to navigate the world. Find out what they love and talk to them about it. This can be especially useful when you are meeting a teenager for the first time, helping you to start building your relationship from moment one. Engaging with the young person in your care via their interests and passions is a great means of bonding – establishing a pillar upon which to build your relationship throughout your fostering journey. It is also very important to help foster self esteem in teenagers.

Give them their own space

We’ve talked before about the importance of giving a young person in your care their own space – in particular, their bedroom. A teenager’s bedroom is a safe space in which they can feel comfortable – especially as they journey through the disorienting world of adolescence, while also shaping their identity and learning more about their world and foster placement. The bedroom should be a secure place, where a teenager can enjoy privacy. In the same vein as our interests point above, allow a young person to put their own personal spin on their room – with posters and decorations reflecting their interests and hobbies.

Be prepared to talk – and be prepared to not!

Teenagers sometimes find it hard to talk – as far as they are concerned, no one in the world has ever experienced the things they are going through, and you – an out-of-touch old person! – will never understand. This is completely normal – in fact, it is to be expected. However, this does not mean that they don’t want to talk, sometimes. The teenager in your care needs your guidance and support – you may just have to adjust your approach to suit them.

One effective approach to communicating with teenagers is to stay ‘out of their face.’ Sometimes, to care for teens you’ve got to leave them be for a while. Let them know you are there to talk when they want, but don’t press too hard, or they will feel like they are being interrogated. Let them come to you – and when they do, listen, ask open-ended questions, and be honest in your responses.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.

If you’re wondering about the costs or how much does supported lodgings pay we suggest to take a look on our financial support page for more information.