I am a new foster parent who is willing to take in teens that need foster homes. Can you give me a few pointers on some of the things that I should focus on to help a teen transition into my home?
— Excited and Anxious in Newbury Park
I would suggest starting by taking a deep breath and remembering that first and foremost a teen or a child needs to know that you care deeply about building a safe nourishing relationship. A teen who is in the child welfare system is most likely going to have major trust issues based on a history of adults
not showing up in healthy ways for him or her. Your number one goal is to build a trusting relationship with them. Start by focusing on their likes and dislikes. Ask questions that help you to know who they are as these kinds of questions allow them to know that they are so much more than a foster child.
We all want to feel that we matter to people, especially to the people who brought us into the world. Foster children do not feel this for the most part. Instead, they often feel rejected, unworthy, abandoned and alone. I hope that soon, after you begin to build a relationship with your foster teen that you can make sure that they understands that what happened to them was not their fault and that they deserved a better life than what has been provided for them if they shares some of the details of their past.