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The ‘stage’ framework- An effective step towards fostering teens

The ‘stage’ framework- An effective step towards fostering teens

The teenage phase involves several complexities which can be a challenging yet exciting journey of personal growth and learning. For all teenagers, family relationships can be vulnerable but for those in care, it can include a state of confusion, seclusion & anxiety. 

A fundamental factor for all teenagers in fostering placement is the state of being unclear about their future and unsettled mindset regarding their emotional and mental well-being.

The past traumatic experiences of asylum-seeking young people may involve a lack of stability followed by lack of trust towards the adults. However, this can impose an intimidating feeling towards the carers willing to welcome teenagers into care. Unfortunately, it is witnessed every day that several prospective and newly approved carers are afraid of fostering teens and prefer fostering children under 12. This clearly displays that there are fewer homes available for fostering teenagers and is harder to find the right family for their care.

A major tip that Foster Carers can pursue while fostering teenagers can be:

The ‘STAGE’ Framework:  

A relationship between a teenager and a foster carer is unpredictable and difficult, and an attempt to make this relationship sustainable and caring should be initiated by the carer. The STAGE framework can play an effective role in scenarios like these as each letter represents a key element of the relationship established between an adult and teenager. 

S-stands for significance. When a teenager refuses to cooperate and expresses rude and argumentative behaviour, it is usually in these cases when an adult comes into the picture and deals with it. It is the influence of an adult that tutors the teen to grow and develop mentally and emotionally. Thus, without a relationship with a caring and stable adult, it is much harder for a teenager to make a successful transition to adulthood.

T– stands for two-way communication. Good communication involves a two-way process. All teenagers want to feel that they are being heard and that their voice holds importance. In other words, a good communication between an adult and a young person involves as much listening as talking. 

A- stands for authority. The idea of how adults exercise authority during the teenage years comes into the picture over here. The point here is to emphasise that the authority of an adult during adolescence cannot be based on the same principles as the use of authority during childhood. Adult authority during this stage cannot be based on power, on force or on punishment. A structure must be in place, but it needs to be reasonable, considering the age and circumstances of the individual young person.

G- stands for generation gap. With the advent of social media, growing up today is different and as the current generation expresses behaviour differently with changing values and under the social media influence, an adult should not be judgemental towards teenage behaviour and must be adaptive and acceptable towards it.

E- stands for emotion. The teenage years are sensitive towards the management of their emotions as their hormone balance is unsettled and their brain takes time to allow a balanced emotion regulation. Research says that a young person suffering from distress and trauma is likely to express disturbing and destructive behaviour which is dangerous for both, the adult, and the young person. Therefore, it is essential for foster carers to receive support in learning to reckon with and manage their emotions as this is the only way through which they can help young person develop and control their emotions.

The key responsibility is to offer stability and help the young person reach their potential adulthood. This includes:

  • Encouraging them to develop important life-skills
  • Making sure they get the most and best out of their education
  • Tackling their emotions and guiding them towards being a responsible individual.
  • Attempting to be more caring and concerned about their prospects, giving them an impression of always being by their side no matter what.

You will not be doing this on your own. Our entire team at Sunbeam Fostering Agency will be there to offer guidance and support to help you achieve your goals of fostering

If you are interested in fostering, please reach us out on our website: https://sunbeamfostering.com/ or contact us on 0208 7990 930.

Written by Nivedita Bhushan (Public Relations Officer)