Therapy, Mentors, Advocates, and Foster Parents…Oh My!!!! This drove of people and their interventions are indeed necessary when children are in foster care, but recently, there have been instances in which the adolescents believe they are entitled to much more. Teenagers who have been bounced around from different foster and group homes are eventually acclimated to the regulations of the foster care system. Some teens know and understand licensing regulation better than their social workers. Such adaptation to their environment is necessary if they are to survive in the fostering sub-culture. In some cases, I adopted the concern that maybe the foster care system disables adolescents who are approaching their day of emancipation. Without the necessary skills to live independently, how will these young adults function?
Teens who experience a sense of entitlement paired with anger management issues, may not go very far in general society. These particular types of teens are unable to adjust to rejection or denial in any circumstance because there are such policies that handicap their ability to handle certain life experiences without having a tantrum or violent episode. In foster care, adolescents are sent to therapy to process their behavior and the possible consequences of continued behavior. In real life, these same teens are arrested and sent to jail for disrupting the peace. When interventions are set in place without real consequences, what are we teaching these teens? Aren’t we setting them up for failure if they don’t realize that their behavior is highly inappropriate? Shouldn’t all parties involved emphasize to adolescents that they are not entitled to a free pass once they age out of fostercare?
A version of this column originally appeared in socialworkingal.net.