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Session 14/15

Page 3/7 Topic A: Dialogues about puberty

Topic A: Dialogues about puberty

The changes that happen during puberty can be frightening for teenagers. You can make them much less so if you prepare the child at an early age for what will come. In daily conversations, you can describe to the child what will happen with the body, how it might change its view of the other sex (or same sex) and how the relations with you might change.

A) You can use your reflections from the questions stated at the beginning of this session to tell the foster child how your own transition from child to teenager happened. What was difficult and how you managed to become an adult and mature.

B) You should especially tell the child about how teenagers in puberty can become angry and disappointed with their foster parents and biological parents. That this is normal, and that you will not blame him or her or take it personally if it happens. You will of course still have rules for how to behave in the family.

Perhaps the child will not be interested in this at the moment but later, it will remember what you talked about and it will be easier to talk about it again when puberty actually happens.

For the teenager, role models are necessary and interesting, but it may be difficult to find role models that match the experience of the young person in foster care.

Books about children from mixed backgrounds or conflicting backgrounds usually stir interest.

Suggest the teenager to make a personal video interview including his or her reflections on identity development: doubts, dreams, problems and desires. You can ask your foster child to make and present the video together with a friend. Help the teenager preserve a copy as part of the life story that the teenager can bring when leaving foster care.