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Fostering teenagers during the holidays

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Fostering teenagers during the holidays 

The festive season is typically a time where families come together to share gifts and spend time surrounded by those they love. For foster children, particularly teenagers, this can be a tricky time of year. 

There also seems to be no escaping the messaging of loving families coming together, whether it’s through music, TV shows, adverts and more. So, it is the job of our foster carers to make sure their foster children and teens feel fully supported during this time. 

The difference between fostering young children and teenagers during the holidays

Although there are lots of similarities between fostering young children and teens, we find that teens can find it particularly difficult to be away from family or familiar faces around the holidays. 

Whether they celebrate Christmas or not, teens have a greater awareness of the more nuanced meanings behind these celebrations. You may find that they pull away more than usual or want to have more independence during this time. It’s important that you respect these boundaries but also leave the door open for support if they feel they need it. 

Celebrate in a way they are used to 

We have a variety of different teens and children from different backgrounds and faiths in foster care. As a foster carer you should make an effort to learn about your foster child’s religious beliefs and traditions. 

You will want to help them feel like this season is as regular as possible, so although you may want to include them in your own traditions, make sure you’re also taking part in theirs.

Share your culture equally and create a space where they feel like they can be fully themselves and celebrate in a way they are used to. 

If your foster teens celebrate Christmas, why not help them buy presents or cards for their families and friends. Invite them to be a part of decorating or cooking the Christmas dinner. However, don’t try and force them into activities, allow them to decide for themselves if they want to take part and ensure to give them space when they need it.

Be open to adapting and changing your own traditions

Every teen is different and their needs and preferences are unique. Your usual traditions and ways of celebrating the festive season may be underwhelming or overwhelming to foster teens. If you usually have a very loud and high-energy Christmas, make sure your foster teen is comfortable with that. If not, be open to change to accommodate. 

There are many different ways to celebrate this season, but the most important thing is to make sure that everyone in the household feels seen, heard and understood. Ask them what kind of Christmas they would prefer and respect their wishes. Don’t take it personally or be offended if your foster teen doesn’t want to participate, simply allow them the opportunity to do what they feel most comfortable with. 

Christmas is a difficult time of year especially in foster care. Many children and teenagers will need to be placed in supportive homes over Christmas. If you think you could offer a home over festive season then get in touch with one of our team.


Fostering insights


  • Teenager
  • Advice

Date published

08 December 2022

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