Skip to main content

Episode 167: Showing Up for Teens in Foster Care (w/ Serena Rice)

By January 23, 2023Podcast

I’m grateful for this week’s episode. Children in foster care have so much going on beyond what we can see on the surface. But what is it that can sometimes cause our children to act out, rebel, or “push our buttons”? My guest today was not only a child in foster care for over 7 years, but she also now works with parents to uncover how to better show up for their children, especially their teens.

Serena Rice is a Supervised Visitation Specialist, parenting coach, children’s book author, and former foster child. Her experience as a foster child influenced her to start her own coaching practice to help parents build deeper trust and strong connections with their children. In today’s episode, she shares her story of jumping from foster home to foster home, how parents can better communicate with teens in foster care, what her healing journey has looked like, and much more.

Whether you care for a teen in foster care or not, you don’t want to miss Serena’s story, perspective, and wisdom.


1. It all starts with understanding and trust.

For teens, everything is built on the foundation of trust and understanding. When we start with an attitude of understanding, there is no longer a fear driving them to hide things or rebel just to regain control. It’s important to avoid interrogating them, and to learn to listen for the sake of understanding rather than for the purpose of gaining information.

“It was so hard to find a foster home that treated me with respect.”

2. You have to look at the roots.

Serena shared the analogy of how behaviors are like a flower. We typically only see the petals rather than the roots. The petals are the behaviors our child or teen has. But we have to look past those behaviors to really see the feelings, needs, experiences, and trauma at the root of the behaviors.

“When you are thinking about a teen’s behavior, there are so many things under the surface that we have to consider before we judge.”

3. It’s important to uncover what a child needs.

Especially when an older child or teen first comes into your home, you want to be sure to ask them what they need. Many children don’t get to bring all their favorite things with them, or there may be something that would help this feel more like a home. Try asking them questions like: What didn’t you get to take with you? Would you like to go shopping to get some special things for your room? Is there anything you feel would help you during this big transition?

“You have to ask yourself: What are they feeling, needing, and experiencing?”


We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

Share this post or rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you listen) and leave us a brief review

Meet Our Guest

Serena Rice is a Supervised Visitation Specialist, parenting coach, children’s book author, and former foster child. Serena holds a degree in Health and Human Services from Ultimate Medical Academy. She specializes in parent-child relations, child development, and trauma-informed practices. Serena’s own experience in foster care from the age of 10 to 17 influenced her to start a business to help parents build stronger connections and deeper trust with their children.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

Get encouragement and updates in your inbox.

Be the first to know about new episodes, posts, resources, and stay in the loop about what’s coming up.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Other Episodes You Might Enjoy:

Episode 96: Meeting Your Biological Parent: Expectations, Joys, and Disappointments

| Podcast | No Comments
Abuse is not okay. As I listened to my guest, Desiree Moore, share her story, saying, "I'm sorry" didn't feel like enough. Adopted at the age of three, she suffered at the hands of those…
Courtney Strahm

Episode 40: Awareness Leads to Action

| Podcast | No Comments
Courtney Strahm and her family didn’t know much about foster care until just a few years ago. But they became aware, and awareness led to action. Listen to Courtney’s story of how God called and…

BONUS: Navigating Birth Parent Relationships

| Podcast | No Comments
As foster or adoptive parents, we often feel at a loss of how to help our kids process the complexity of emotions surrounding their birthparents. In today’s special edition episode, you will hear a message…