2 Easy Steps for Talking with Your Foster Teen from a Foster Teen


Blog by Zee

Conversation Gone Wrong

A long time ago in my past my birth parents were not sure how to handle my behavior. They tried several things to change my behavior such as spanking, grounding me, taking away my phone, etc. My parents got tired of these different ways of disciplining me so they tried a different way.

“Zee get over here,” they demanded.

I came prepared for them to scream at me and so I got ready to scream myself. The verbal fighting went back and forth. Of course this did nothing but make matters worse. Eventually, I voiced some profanity and my father yelled, “Get out of my house!”

So, I got out and did not come back for three hours and at night. When I returned home my dad stated, “You know what I meant when I said, ‘Get out of my house.’ You know I meant just go outside.”

However, let’s pause here. As a teen, I really did not know what he meant and took what he said literally. I had hoped that when they spoke to me that they would have a conversation with me nicely and not aggressively. That’s not always the answer.

Tips for Foster & Adoptive Parents

Let’s talk about helping you, caregivers, with talking with your adoptive or foster teens. Since to know a teen it is a good idea to ask a teen. Now let’s get into the motion of knowing.

Two easy steps for communicating with your teen:

  1. Talk to your teen on their level
    Try saying things in a way in which they think of things.
    For example: In the above story instead of my parents demanding “Zee get over here,” they could have said something such as, “I know you don’t want to talk about this. I don’t even want to talk about this, but do you think we could?”
  2. Talk to them bluntly or truthfully
    Now that you have your teen’s attention take that chance to be blunt with them. Tell them exactly what you are wanting to talk about and be truthful.
    For example: In the above story I felt my parents merely yelled at me without telling me the issues. I would suggest taking a nicer tone and just telling your teen the issue so you can work together on it.

Engaging your teen with love and truthfulness is important as you never know how much time you will have with them. Since I’m in foster care, I have lost my birth parents for a little while. These relationships are important.

It’s Your Turn:

What questions or comments do you have about this subject?

Zee is a teenage girl like other kids living in the foster care system.
When she is not surviving high school, playing MineCraft, or
writing blogs, she is striving to work toward her future 
of helping to further the development of computer technology.


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