Fostering Teenagers VS Younger Children.
About ten years ago, my husband and I fostered teenagers. We had our own preteens when we started out. We had all boys so we were asked to take boys. We would have six or more teenagers at a time. Not all of them would be in foster care but just needed a place to be so we would take them in.
We reopened our home after closing it once our adoption was final in September of 2015. Our home was reopened on 8/5/2016. When they called and told me we were approved and reopened, I was in Michigan.
On 8/9/2016 we took in three small children ages 9, 6, and 3. This is when I noticed the different in fostering teens vs fostering young ones.
When having young ones they are more rowdy and active which means you must be on your toes at all times. Teenagers need attention but they also like to have their space so you can have some down time with teenagers.
Younger children make you feel like you are constantly feeding them and cleaning up all day until bed time. Teenagers are able to get their snacks and all meals except for dinner. You can have teenagers clean up their own messes.
One big change that will take some getting use to is bedtime. My heart about broke the first night these small children were here. When it was bedtime the two younger children were crying for the parent! This is so heartbreaking.
Another big change is that they will ask you to go get their parent. Trying to tell a three-year-old that they have to wait to go home is something they don’t understand and you don’t want to give them false hope but you don’t want to shatter their hearts.
So it came down to me telling this little one that his parent has to do some things first so they can go back home this was my only thing I knew to do.
Being a foster parent is hard but rewarding no matter what the age.
No matter what the age you foster, it is hard and heartbreaking. Younger children, in my opinion, require more physical work because they are young and can’t do for themselves like teenagers can. Younger children need to go to the park and be read to and all kinds of things.
Teenagers are less physical work but can be more stressful. Teenagers require more mental work. You try to find ways to show them that they can trust you, that you won’t give up on them, that you want them and trying to figure them out can be a challenge.
From my past experiences, foster parenting is hard but rewarding in the end. Every child deserves to be loved and a safe place to call home.
Are you a foster parent? How do you explain that they can’t go home?
I hope to share more on foster parenting and hope to reach out to some of you that may be thinking about being a foster parent. I hope to share some of my thoughts and advice and get some of your advice and thoughts.
Our children are our future and it is up to us to help give each and every child a chance at a good life.