“Teenagers make for challenging placements” – fact or fiction?
If you are looking to become a foster carer, you may well have a million and one questions and worries whizzing around your head. Many of those may be related to the placement that you desire, such as “Do I want a boy or a girl?” or “What age would I like my foster child to be?”
The latter question often sparks a lot of controversy in the world of fostering, as there seems to be a persistent myth that teenagers and older children are more difficult to care for than younger children when placed into foster care.
Fostering a child of any age is hardly a cinch!
Being separated from their birth parents – be it temporarily or permanently – would probably be difficult for a child of any age. However, younger children are likely to be much more traumatised by the separation.
This is partly due to them not fully understanding why the separation is occurring, and having a stronger emotional bond and dependency on their parents – regardless of how negative their upbringing has been.
It also doesn’t exactly help that younger children are more reliant on their parents to help them with such needs as being fed, getting dressed and receiving love and affection – which brings us to our next point.
It’s important to remember that teenagers and older children can do a lot more for themselves than younger children are able to. They can cook (even if it is just a slice of toast or two), dress and take care of themselves, and they can get to school or social activities with little or no assistance. If you were to foster a young child, they would rely solely on you for things like these.
Teenagers have their issues too!
One of the most important aspects of caring for teenagers is timing. Timing when they are ready to talk with you and accept your care (and when they are not!) Developing and maintaining good communication with a young person is the secret to a successful placement. In fact one of the most satisfying aspects of fostering is the maturing relationship that you will develop with the young person as they grow older and learn more about the world around them. There is nothing more rewarding as an adult than being acknowledged by a teenager!
Everybody needs caring for, regardless of age
Regardless of the facts, figures and theories, your foster child is going to need a serious amount of love and care. It takes a lot of resilience, dedication and patience, but foster caring is truly one of the most rewarding things that you can do for a child – no matter their age.
There’s no doubt about it – it takes someone pretty special to be a foster carer. If you think you’re one of those who have got what it takes, please don’t hesitate to contact the Synergy Fostering team today.