Foster Parenting: Considerations to Caring for a Pregnant Teen
Being a foster parent puts you in a unique position to provide a stable and healthy environment for a child or teenager who could otherwise get lost within the system. However, it is also important for you to recognize the fact that the children you are fostering are not legally yours, and they could come to you with several difficult to deal with issues. For example, if you are fostering a teenage girl, there is a possibility that she could already be or become pregnant while she is staying with you. Therefore, you need to be prepared to
deal with this type of situation without forcing your own viewpoint onto a foster teen’s unborn child.
Providing Emotional Support
Everyone has different moral and religious beliefs that can have a big impact on how they view a teenage pregnancy. Due to this, it is imperative for foster parents to remember the fact that their main role is to provide the children and teenagers within their care with a safe place to live that meets all of their basic needs, including emotional support.
In other words, lecturing a teenager who you agree to foster after she gets pregnant is not the best usage of your time. Instead, you should ensure that the teen receives some much-needed emotional support from you and the rest of your family, and you should also make it as easy as possible for them to decide between all of their options. However, the odds are high that a pregnant teenager who has spent time in the foster care system is not likely to make the decision to put their baby up for adoption.
Getting the Necessary Essentials to Prepare for the Baby’s Arrival
If you are a long-term foster parent of a pregnant teen, it is highly likely that you will soon be sharing your home with a young mother and her newborn child. Therefore, it is important to take the necessary steps to gather all of the essential items that a new baby will need such as a crib, diapers, clothing, teethers, and even toys and rattles for babies.
You should also carefully discuss whether or not the soon-to-be mother is going to breastfeed or rely on formula. If she chooses to breastfeed then purchasing or renting a pump should be considered, as well as classes that will help lead to successful breastfeeding. Taking these preparatory steps will make it much easier for everyone to adjust to having a baby join the family.
Although the teenage mother should take a hands-on role with her newborn, it is unrealistic to think that she will be able to take care of everything on her own, especially if she is attending school. Because of this, you will need to carefully consider how every task related to the baby will be divvied up within your home.
For example, you will need to be able to help provide childcare when the baby’s mother is at school. In some cases, it is possible to take advantage of daycare opportunities that are presented for teenage mothers who have not graduated yet. Either way, it is essential to provide your foster teen with emotional support and access to the necessary essentials so they can properly take care of their baby.
Lisa Coleman shares some considerations for fostering a pregnant teen in your home. She recently researched the subject and read about getting prepared for this event. She viewed several items online like teethers and rattles for babies that would be an important need for the new arrival.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geishabot/4441250565/
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