If you are considering fostering a teen, you may be wondering how to make them feel welcome in your home. Doing so will give your relationship a positive start and ensure as little friction as possible. To accomplish this, follow these few tips we have put together.
Give Them Their Space
All foster kids need time to adjust to their new home and foster family. Teenagers need this much more than younger children because being a teenager is already tumultuous enough without adding moving to a new home.
The first step is giving them a bedroom that aligns with their preferences. Remember that smaller children have different needs from teens, so you should decorate and accessorise the latter’s room differently.
Second, give them time to adjust to the home. Let them unwind and take everything in. It might take some time for them to bond or open up to you while choosing to spend time alone. Be patient and give them the space and time to do this. Remember to show them that you are available physically and emotionally so they know to come to you should they need to.
Give Them a Tour
There are various things that go into showing a teenager around the house. First, you need to show them where different parts of the house, such as the kitchen and bathroom, are located. Next, tell them of any rules they should know about. For example, you may have rules around bedtime on school nights which is crucial information for them to have.
You should then introduce them to the rest of the family. Side note: you can do this as soon as they arrive so that they can start familiarising themselves with everyone sooner. Once they have started settling, show them around the neighbourhood. If there are fun things to do in the area, show them as they may be interested in some of them.
Talk to Them
Sometimes it is an excellent idea to let a teen be and let them come to you instead. You can start with something as simple as asking them how their day went. It is perfectly normal for conversations to be strained at first as you adjust to each other.
It is a good idea to get some help from your support group or the foster care agency if you feel things are too strained. Foster care agencies like Fosterplus.co.uk have support groups and professionals standing by to give foster carers the advice they need when they need it.
Fostering a teen is similar to but also different from fostering young children. There are subtle nuances you should know about, such as teenagers needing a lot more personal space and time as they get used to everything. Use the tips above to ensure things go smoothly or lean on your foster care agency if you need help. With patience and understanding, you will find fostering teens to be a rewarding journey.