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5 Myths about Fostering Teenagers

Many people are wary when it comes to fostering teenagers because of the image and pre-conceptions that we all have of teenagers. Teenagers are often generally depicted as moody, temperamental and difficult - which means fostering teenagers are generally thought of as challenging placements. Not only are these stereotypes restrictive, they are also wrong. With 45% of foster children being over the age of 10 as of March 2020, foster parents who look after teenagers are more necessary than ever (source: Gov.uk).

In this article, we look to address some of the fostering myths associated with teens in foster care and disprove them.

1. “Teenagers are uncontrollable”

There is often the misconception that teenagers are in care because they have misbehaved so badly at home, that their parents could no longer manage them. This idea is damaging as some of these young people may have been put into care due to abuse or neglect. The teenagers in care have suffered during their lives and need a strong home full of love to develop and grow.

As a foster parent of a teenager, there will of course be times when it is difficult to manage, however, as an Excel foster parent, you will be given access to 24 hour support. Don’t let a fear of something being challenging stop you from making a difference.

2. “I have a job, I can’t foster teens”

It is a common misconception that you cannot foster a child and work at the same time, but this is not the truth. Many of our foster parents live very fulfilling lives, not only keeping the job that they love - but also being an integral part of a child’s life and upbringing.

We would, however, like to highlight that it can often be difficult to maintain your previous job and foster. Fostering is a fulltime commitment, and it can be especially hard for single foster parents to juggle both. In addition to the common stresses of being a parent such as cooking, cleaning, the school run and more, fostering requires you give some additional hours.  As a foster parent, it is important that you attend meetings with the social worker, teachers, and other personnel involved in protecting the young person’s welfare and wellbeing.

Read more about fostering and working.

3. “I don’t have any experience looking after teenagers”

It is a common misconception with all fostering that you have to have experience in raising children to become a foster parent. This is doubled when it comes to teenagers as many people feel that they are more difficult to handle than their under 13 counterparts.

Truthfully, you do not need any experience as a parent to become a foster parent. It’s beneficial to have experience with children in some capacity, but what’s most important is your commitment to changing and shaping the life of a young person.

As an Excel foster parent, you will be given access to our phenomenal training programs and support networks. Those without experience from their own children need not be worried as our trainers have helped people from all backgrounds become the best foster parents they can be.

4. “I’m single, only couples can foster teenagers”

Once upon a time, it may have been more difficult for single people or those not married to foster a child. However, this is one of the most outdated myths and yet one that people subscribe to most. It is a common assumption that fostering teenagers is harder work and requires two parents – but this isn’t necessarily true. Fostering as a single parent can be very fulfilling and life changing - so if you are passionate about changing their lives, and you have the capacity to be responsible for a foster child on your own, your marital status does not matter.  

5. “Teenagers cannot change, there is nothing I can do for them”

One of the biggest worries when it comes to fostering teenagers is that their personality is fully formed and cannot be changed – therefore the impact you have will be limited. In fact, research counteracts this – routine and a loving environment can have a positive effect on behaviour especially in a time when young people are making big decisions, such as whether to go to Uni or what to study for GCSE.

Teenagers are able to modify their behaviour as their brains are still developing, all they need is a loving and supportive home. If you think you are the right person to give a teenager a new home and the chance of a new life, get in contact with us today.

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Find out more about fostering with Excel Fostering.

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