Ten Reasons to Foster the Teens
Updated: Dec 27, 2022
What are the top ten reasons to foster teens?
eenagers can be scary to the average parent or to the new parent. There are more than ten reasons to foster teens, besides the fact that there is a great need for foster parents in this age group. 22% of foster children are 11 to 15 years old and 16% are 16 to 20 years old. That is a total of 38% of the half a million children in foster care. See more stats at "foster club" here https://www.fosterclub.com/blog/statistics-and-research/current-state-foster-care. There are more than ten reasons to foster teens.
Reason number 10 to foster teens
Everyone wants a kitten; no one wants a cat. These children are not infants, but they are still valuable. Remember that they are not criminals but victims. A lot of parents cite reasons of influence on their younger, biological children as reasons to avoid teens; however, this is only a part of the story. These teens are not criminals; they are victims of abuse, neglect, and drugs. Their background does influence them, but not in the way you may think. These kids have been through a horrible experience and deserve a chance. Give them an opportunity to 'fit' into your family. There are at least ten reasons to foster teens. But please, check out my post here to see the more than ten reasons that children come into foster care. https://impressingminds.com/why-are-children-in-foster-care/
Reason number 9 to foster teens
Every child deserves a "family". What is a family? Family - a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household. You are the foster family and no one can replace the biological family; however, sometimes these kids have been rejected by their biological family and feel unwanted. They need the chance to prove that they can belong too. They just need a place that can give them an opportunity. Can you offer such a place?
Reason number 8 to foster teens
You can show them a different example and support the teen. Often teens have had a chaotic lifestyle. Sometimes they are left to themselves to do as they please and fend for themselves as well. When you offer teens a family, you are showing them a normal life, often with a mom and a dad present. You are showing them communication skills that they do not see or have never seen before. You are showing them the results of hard work, regular employment, decision-making processes, and money management. Some teens do not get to experience these types of normal life with their parents for a variety of reasons - the very reasons that got them taken out of the biological home in the first place.
Reason number 7 to foster teens
Teenagers just need someone to care for them. I would say 'love' them, but that is a stretch. You see, some children you will fall in love with immediately and some will take more time to fall in love with. As foster parents, we need to demonstrate a level of stability and solid mental health that is able to produce valuable communication and stable care. This has been lacking in their lives. This element has been missing. They want to be cared for because they have not had that experience before. In Etched in Sand, the older sisters cared for the younger ones. These girls never had a stable caregiver. They overcame these problems. The girls finally got to see how a family was organized but they were already teens. I highly recommend the book to give you an idea of how teenagers need care. https://reginacalcaterra.com/etched-in-sand/ After reading this book and the sequel and hearing the story, you will see that there are many more than ten reasons to foster teens.
Reason number 6 to foster teens
What are ten reasons to foster teens? Reason number six is that teens long for an adult to care. This 'care' is the feeling of concern or interest that someone can offer. It can also be a type of attachment to someone. I care about you. These are words every teen should hear. When explaining why you have rules at your house, you explain that it is because you care and don't want them hurt. You care that they are safe and are eating properly, and about the ailments they have (because often no one in their past has).
Perhaps, you can show that you care by asking them what they want to eat for dinner or what is their favorite dessert. Having them join you in creating the dessert may show a lot of care as well. You also show "care" by taking them to their favorite restaurant or to a salon for the first time. No, some foster teen girls have never been to a beauty salon! Some have never chosen their own pair of jeans. Some have never gone to a movie. If you care you will listen to them and show them you care. In turn, they will learn how to care.
Reason number 5 to foster teens
They are waiting for you. Teens in foster care are often forgotten because they are too old for the average family. Most families want an infant to foster or children under five. I did - being honest here. I did not like the idea of disrupting the birth order. However, I did take teens in for various time periods over the years. They were usually quiet and obedient. They would converse well and seemed to enjoy our home. I had one who wanted to return at a later time. There are so many teens in shelters and group homes because there are not enough foster parents willing to step out to try parenting the teenager. I get it. The teen years are difficult but for these teens, they are burdensome and punishing through no fault of their own. Their parents' mistakes and their ages put them in a grueling circumstance.
Hopefully, more foster parents will increase the age range of the foster children they are willing to accept. These children need an ADVOCATE.
Waiting by Nichole
I wait, wait— wait for sorrow to override , wait for the sun to brighten the sky. I wait, wait— wait to gain a family of my own only to call a place my home . I wait, wait— wait for a friend to come who never does, treated as if I was shunned. I wait, wait— wait for a car that never stops the weather that never changes the friend who is never there and the family who is never patient I wait. Tick -tock tick -tock I wait continuously wait.
Reason number 4 to foster teens
You can make a meaningful difference in their adult life. Do you enjoy cooking, cleaning, building, working on cars, or landscaping? You can teach these skills to a teen in foster care. Teens need regular interactions with adults, like you, who are productive and who are willing to teach them to be productive too.
Learning many life skills like grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking are welcomed by teens because they are preparing for adulthood. Be patient because often, they have not been taught much in their homes about regular adult life. Perhaps they have been living homeless or in an overcrowded apartment where there aren't opportunities to learn life skills one-on-one. Sure they have the class in high school, but it is so much more valuable coming from a parental figure in the home. They can learn your ways and your styles of cooking, baking, or mechanics. Think of it as a mentorship program in your own home. What value you would be passing along.
Reason number 3 to foster teens
What are then reasons to foster teens? Reason number three revolves around fathers. If you are a foster father, you can become a real father figure. This could easily be the biggest reason to foster teens. Over 18 million children do not live with a father figure in the home. The result of fatherlessness can be devastating. Examples of this can be found at https://fatherhoodfactor.com/us-fatherless-statistics/
Two Examples from the site include the following:
A study of the relationship between father absence and lower educational attainment for African American females found that a longer duration of father absence is a predictive factor for lower educational success.
In 2011, children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in married-couple families.
Reason number 2 to foster teens
The reality is.... they need to be somewhere. Would it be better to be in a home environment than in a shelter or a group home? These teens need a chance to have a family and make connections with a mom and a dad as well as siblings, grandparents, cousins, and neighbors.
Sometimes when we don’t know what to do or say, we don’t do anything at all. For students who live in foster care or at group homes, this is not the way to go. They desperately need our help but don’t know how to ask for it. They are looking for someone to love them and make them feel welcome. If at all possible, be that person for them. Be a fan who cheers for their successes and a mentor who will listen and give advice. Be someone who believes in them, even when they don’t believe in themselves. They may never tell you thanks, but it will mean a great deal to them. https://robertkaplinsky.com/wish-teachers-knew-living-group-home/
Reason number 1 to foster teens
They are still children. They require love, attention, and voice. Foster teens deserve kindness, care, and thoughtfulness. They are young for just a short time - like you. Imagine spending your entire teenage life worrying about your parents; where you will be living; about your extended bio family; where your siblings are right now; if your mother will make it through this rehab; if a dad will show up to a visit; or if you'll be living in the same place next week. I'm sure some of them worry about people dying from overdoses. Then think of all the regular worries that teens have. It could be and often is, overwhelming.
Then just imagine worrying that your stuff will be packed up and you'll be moved again like last time. Think about being 16 and not getting your driver's license because you're in foster care! Imagine no one championing you on to do excellently on the SAT so you'll get into a good college. Imagine not even knowing you could go to college. What if no one ever told you about careers they think you'd be good at.
Ten Reasons to Foster Teens
Summary of ten reasons to foster teens:
Ten reasons to foster teens.... Imagine not having a stable relationship with a parental figure. Our teens need genuine care and concern. If not me then who? If not now then when? For another viewpoint, read the following blog post too:
*Disclaimer 1: Not every child is supposed to be in your home. You may have tried teens, and it hasn't worked out. Don't feel guilty or beat yourself up. There are some kids with attachment issues that should not be disrupting your home. Don't let that process occur because it can damage your own children's or the other foster children's mental health. Don't let a teen dictate to you. They come to your family and to your home; they should respect your family.
**Disclaimer 2: Teens may need good counseling and therapy to work out the issues that I have just written about - the rejection, worry, guilt (unwarranted, but nonetheless present), issues, concerns, etc. Teens should have someone to confide in and talk with. Therefore, we can either offer them solutions now or continue to work with a "broken" adult. (Not that they are literally "broken" as in, beyond repair, but they often have a skewed view of themselves due to their circumstances and thought processes.)
"Ten Reasons to foster teens" is a post to encourage you to investigate the opportunity to foster in the first place. It is also a post to attempt to expand the horizons of those already fostering younger ones.
Tell me one fear you have of fostering older kids?