Released On 2nd Apr 2015

Belinda’s message to future foster carers

As we all know, teenage years can be a difficult time.

I myself can just about remember how that was for me. As a foster carer for young people, I try to put myself in their shoes before I react to any situation.

I’m sure we all at one point in our teenage years felt that no one understood us.

Most teenagers, even those who are able to live with their birth families, feel insecure at some point. Imagine how a young person who cannot live with their family will feel.

At this critical time in their lives, they need guidance and support to help them to not get into bad behaviours and lifestyles.

Teenagers need carers who are reliable, patient, understanding, and good listeners, who are able to negotiate and have a good sense of humour … oh, and even a bit more patience!

Youngsters do need to know where they stand, and have boundaries put in place.

But these boundaries, I feel, work best when they are discussed together, and I, again, always try to remember how that was for me growing up.

Foster carers need to listen, be someone to talk to, and help them make sense of their worries.

Young people need help to organise their lives, to deal with their feelings and have good times with friends, and where possible, to stay in touch with their family.

Foster carers need to help young people learn the good practical skills they’ll need in future, such as cooking and managing money, especially if they move to live independently – just the same as we did. And if, like me, you have already had teenagers of your own, it’s just the same!

With patience, time, and helping them to feel part of my family, and by being a positive role model, I can get them to think before they do.

This is to help keep them safe, develop their skills, and reach their full potential on the journey to them becoming independent, and to be the best they can be. Oh, and sometimes they say thanks!

I think children at all ages are lovely. But I prefer working with the young people who are about to become adults.

It’s an exciting time, and we can make a difference, and so can other people who may be interested in finding out more about fostering.

It is a privilege to work as a foster carer in Somerset.

The support you receive is second to none. You don’t work alone; you are part of a professional team who all care about the children in our care.

Belinda Pickard, foster carer.

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