Opening your Home to Teenagers
Welcome to this weeks blog, where we dip into the wonderful world of opening your home to teenagers.
Opening your Home to Teenagers
Ah those heady days of your teen years; feeling so grown up but still safe at home with mum and dad. It’s when we learn about who we really are and who we want to be. A few short years that seem to last forever in a blur of friendships, first loves and future dreams.
For those of us who are lucky enough to experience being a teenager with the safety net of a loving home environment; we can surely remember how very tough everything felt! Adults would always be telling us we had nothing to really worry about, and that we would never have it this good again; for us with our GCSE’s, acne and boyband angst EVERYTHING was a drama!
It’s a sad fact that for many teenagers, there is no reassuring backdrop of family life, no adult providing them with love and encouragement. Navigating that gateway into adulthood becomes fraught with worry, disengagement and mistrust.
You may recall when you were being assessed to be a Foster Carer; Lorimer always make sure we ask if you are willing to provide homes for teenagers. This is because over many years of experience there are a lot of myths and half-truths surrounding issues of caring for teenagers. Let’s debunk some of them!
Teenagers often smoke, drink or take drugs when they are in care.
Actually, the numbers of young people who smoke are falling. Equally, some studies suggest that binge drinking is also decreasing from it’s peak in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s.
We almost always know if a young person has been involved in underage drinking or drug taking before they are placed with you, and we will of course make sure that you are prepared for that. We have also observed that young people, once placed in a stable home environment, turn to these behaviours less – your role is to help and support them to do this!
Teenagers might smash up my home or steal from me.
We can honestly tell you that it is extremely rare for young people to destroy property belonging to their foster carers – they are more likely to take any frustration out on their own possessions!
Many young people in our care have told us that they do NOT want to follow in the footsteps of those who have caused chaos and destruction in their early childhoods; they relish the peace and quiet.
As for stealing, this is again something that has deep-rooted reasons often based within childhood trauma. The young person might not know why they are taking things from you, or it could be an indicator that they are being bullied. Usually with some support, a solid risk plan and an understanding of the behaviours, we can see an improvement.
Teenagers run away or go missing frequently.
As above, this is actually relatively uncommon; most young people in care are happy to be somewhere stable. Young people who have a history of going missing will have this included in their referral information and therefore appropriate risk assessments are put in place.
As with all agencies, Lorimer has a procedure for foster carers to follow should a young person go missing. We will provide you with training and advice on how to manage the situation.
We will look more at young people who go missing next week.
Teenagers are some of the hardest young people to find longer term placements for. Think back to all the uncertainties of your teenage years, and consider if you could offer a young person the support they so desperately need.
Caring for teenagers requires creativity, patience and a good sense of humour! You will often be the target of their bad moods; it’s also an opportunity to prove to them that you are there and they can rely on adults for care and support.
You’ll get to learn a whole new language; how many of the words and catchphrases of your youth could you teach them?!?
Encourage their curiosity, promote their school achievements and remember, you are shaping the adult they will be for the rest of their lives.
Thank you to all the amazing carers at Lorimer and across the UK who give teenagers a chance.
Get in Touch
If you would like to get in touch, you can call, text or WhatsApp Rachael on 07938 575 738; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would prefer us to call you, please submit your details using the form below; and we’ll get back to you soon!