It’s hard enough to parent a teenager, but it’s even tougher when the teen hasn’t had much of a start in life. You now have to undo at least 13 years worth of hurt, anger, and disappointment. You have to teach her how to act appropriately, how to trust, and how to be responsible.
Teen foster kids are self-absorbed -- from their changing bodies to their ever-changing homes. They feel sorry for themselves, and they build walls around their hearts to keep out fear and pain. They have been let down so many times that they can’t see any reason to believe you. ("You’ll just hurt me like everyone else.")
Some teens will have memories called "suppressed memory flashbacks." These cause even more anxiety,and can sendthem further into depression. Reaching a foster teenager is a feat in itself. So, what can you do? Well, when you raise a child from a young age, you and that child have a foundation for your relationship. You build on it for years, and by the time that child reaches her teen years, she knows who’s boss, and who she can turn to for help - YOU.
With the foster teen, you have no foundation. You’ll have to build one. Here are some suggestions.
© 2000 Wendi Sturgeon - firstname.lastname@example.org
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