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Fostering a Troubled Teenager

What to Know About Fostering a Troubled Teenager

Fostering a troubled teenager requires a lot from the foster parent and family as a whole. The experiences that the teenager has gone through are often overwhelming. With this in mind, it’s important to keep an open mind and be available: emotionally; psychologically; physically as well as spiritually.

First and foremost, what does a troubled teenager mean? People have different definitions for the term but there is only one correct definition. A troubled teenager is a young person (youth) who has issues that are resulting in negative/detrimental behaviors. These issues are beyond the normal problems that adolescents (teenagers) face and they are capable of making the child develop into an unhappy and unsuccessful person (adult). Also, a teen might be unable to deal with normal issues that are faced by teenagers. All of these results in the teen experiencing mental health, social, and behavioral problems.

When you think of foster care, you probably think of kids (children) who require a home due to the situation at their biological home. But in fact, many foster children are teenagers who are struggling with mental health issues or who have been in and out of the justice system. Also, the parents of these teens are unable to take care of them. If you’re interested in fostering a troubled teenager, there are a few things you should know.

First, it’s important to understand that troubled teenagers are different from other teens and children, and they need a different type of care. Second, you need to be prepared for a lot of emotional work. Fostering a troubled teenager can be a challenge, but it can be rewarding if you’re able to help them improve their life situation.

Causes of Troubled Teenagers

There is no particular cause for a teen to be troubled. This is because the causes vary with the teen’s environment. Some of the common reasons why teenagers are troubled include abusive parents/relationships, negative peer pressure, mental health issues, and unsafe or toxic environments.

fostering a troubled teenager

Sings of Troubled a Teenager

When teens become troubled, it’s rare for them to open up about it. Due to this, it’s up to you to check on the warning signs. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Loss of interest in activities especially their hobbies;
  • Becomes rebellious;
  • Mood swings that do not fit with the circumstance;
  • Substance/alcohol abuse;
  • A sudden drop in school performance (grades);
  • Becomes violent and abusive (bullies other people/kids);
  • Becomes a threat to oneself (self-harm);
  • Becomes secretive;
  • Starts to lie or be deceptive;
  • Spending a lot of time alone or sleeping;  
  • A sudden change of peer/friend group.

Fostering a Troubled Teenager

If you are considering or you are fostering a troubled teen, it is crucial to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fostering a troubled teen. Your approach will be based on the individual teen you are fostering and the specific needs of that teen.

When fostering a troubled teen, it is important to have a clear plan for how you will help the teen. This plan should include specific goals and objectives that you hope to achieve with the teen. It is also important to have a set timeframe for accomplishing these goals.

fostering a troubled teenager

It is also important to be prepared for the challenges that will come with fostering a troubled teen. This is concerning relationship issues since they might not trust you at first. For them, agreeing to foster them is not enough proof that you want all the best for them.

The key to fostering troubled teens is understanding why they are troubled in the first place. Even a doctor cannot treat a patient without first understanding where the problem is.

Related Post: Pros and Cons of Fostering a Teenager

There are a two main ways to do this. First, you can ask the teenager in a loving tone showing empathy. Although this is often a good move, the majority of troubled teens do not like sharing their experiences.

The other way is to get the information from the agency or case worker. Before a child is taken into the foster care system, agencies do follow up to get a clear picture of a child’s bio home. Therefore, they do have the information though some might be hesitant to give it out or provide a clear picture.

What to Do When Fostering a Troubled Teen

When a teenager is troubled, it can be very difficult to know what to do. The best thing to do is to talk to the teenager and find out what is going on. There is need for you to be patient and keep an open mind. Also, you need to talk to the teenager’s parents, guardians, or case worker about the situation at hand.

Related Post: What makes a Good Foster Parent

You also need to get the teenager involved in a program or therapy. It is important to be supportive and encouraging. You need to be patient and let the teenager know that you are there for them.

fostering a troubled teenager

Troubled teenagers lose the ability to deal with emotions, build healthy relationships, and having fun. As a foster parent/family, you need to foster a relationship with the troubled teenager. You need to be there for him or her and assist the troubled teen to know how to deal with their emotions and build a healthy relationship.

Help them find themselves again as this will help them find ways to have fun and become successful adults.

Its amazing to see that the federal government is making efforts in preventing problems associated with troubled children.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why a teenager might be troubled, and it’s not always easy to know what to do to help. Fostering a troubled teenager can be a difficult but rewarding task if done correctly.

When dealing with a troubled teenager, it’s important to remember that not all problems are the teenager’s fault. Some problems may be the result of difficult family dynamics or difficult childhood, and the teenager may not be able to control them.

Often, the best way to help troubled teenagers is to provide support and guidance and to let them know that they are not alone.


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