Helping Your Foster Child Learn About Financial Responsibility
When you’re fostering a teenager, highly likely that they will not have been introduced to managing or dealing with money properly. A lack of education in money management can set your foster child up for financial difficulty as an adult, so teaching your foster teen financial responsibility is a very valuable principle.
As with most teenagers, instant gratification is par for the course. Just walking through a shopping centre can be challenging because it has everything connected to popularity. However, for foster teens, there are added challenges. Their biological parents may have never had the money to buy them the clothing, toys or games that their friends have, so it’s likely that they feel like they don’t fit in.
Additionally, teens in care are likely to view money based on what they have learned by watching their parents, who may not have been taught how to be financially responsible themselves. This can lead to a difficult relationship with money in you foster child, which you could help them with…
Budgeting and Saving
The idea of budgeting and saving may be a totally foreign concept to your foster child. While to you, their spending habits may seem impulsive and irresponsible, you must remember that they might have had to spend money frequently as a way to survive in the past. For example, they may have had to buy food because they knew they wouldn’t be getting a proper dinner in the evenings. Now that they are older, it’s time for they to unlearn what has become a way to survive prior to coming into your care.
It is important to teach them about budgeting and saving because what they learn from you, they will be able to use as an adult. As a foster parent, you can strategically teach them about the principles of budgeting and saving. Giving them financial rewards, for example, is a good way of doing this.
Making Wise Financial Decisions
You need to make your foster child aware of the hard work it takes to earn money. When you give them pocket money, for example, make sure they’re aware that the amount it all that they will be getting for that week, so they need to make it last. It is essential your foster child learns how to properly manage money so they can make wise decisions.
If your foster child is old enough, getting a job can be a wonderful learning opportunity. However, you will need to discuss this with his caseworker to make sure the Department of Child Protection and Permanency’s (DCP&P) guidelines for employment opportunities for foster teens are being followed.
If your foster child does get a job and is earning money, you will need to help them prioritise their financial needs.
Each time they get paid, encourage them to save a portion of their paycheck. Learning this now will benefit them in the long run, especially when it comes to paying bills on time consistently.
Once your foster teen leaves your care, it’s important you emphasise these principles so they can apply them no matter where they go.