When someone goes through their teenage years, they tend to form their own identity, which is different from their family or parents. They start to learn new skills that will help them in life. Any changes like adoption can add a lot of complexity in their normal life. It is essential to understand your adopted teen and communicate with them to ensure healthy development.
When it comes to raising a teenager, you will have to find the right strategy that works for them. Most of the teenagers, when adopted start questioning their identity. So here is a comprehensive guide that will help you to parent your adopted team.
Guide To Parenting Your Adopted Team
The Fact That They Are Adopted Is Not Always Bothering Them
When you adopt a teenager, you will always tend to assume that whenever a situation is arising, it is becoming complicated since they think that they are adopted. Accepting that you have been adopted can indeed be complicated sometimes. Still, it is also essential to understand why a particular situation is arising and what is the feeling behind it.
Instead of assuming you can communicate with the teenager. Try to stay open-minded and be available when it comes to comforting them instead of being pushy.
The Child Considers You As Their Real Parents
It is natural for the adopted teenager to go through rough phases and adjust their relationship with their new parent. It can arise due to identity issues and the fact that they are adopted, but it does not indicate that they are not going to consider you as real parents.
Even though you are adopting them when they have reached adolescence, you are going to be their parent. Teenagers tend to rebel or treat their parents poorly and sometimes you might feel that you cannot connect with them, but in this phase, even when they are not adopted still, they might behave the same.
Going For Counselling
Several adoptive parents have advised people to go for counseling because, after adoption, the child may suffer from some emotional problem. Some children will remain unaffected or behave normally with their adopted parents, but some will not be emotionally mature so that they might face some complications.
When a child is adopted in a family where parents are from different ethnicities or races, then they face more differences. During this time, counseling can help in preparing them to learn about the differences that they are going to face and adjust with it in a healthy manner.
Talk with an adopted teenager about specific privileges and responsibilities. Teenagers who have gone through attachment issues or have gone through trauma in their past may find it hard to take responsibilities. You must talk to them and explain why it is essential for them to take responsibility.
Engage Them In Decision Making And Planning
To make them feel they are a part of the family, allow them to make decisions like setting priorities, controlling their lives, managing tasks, etc. When needed, you can also make them solve their problem and understand how their actions can lead to positive consequences.
Communicating with your adopted teenager may be difficult initially, and most of the time, you can only expect to get responses of one syllable. They use this way to gain independence or to avoid communication. When the parents are relaxed, open, and calm, then the teenagers can easily open up to them.
Teach Them Skills About Adult Life
You can teach your teenager about life skills like balancing the checkbook, doing laundry, cooking, filling prescriptions, making appointments for the medical check-up, maintaining the car, etc. In this way, you can spend more time with your child and strengthen your bond.
Find The Similarities
Try to find the similarities between you and your adopted child as it will help in strengthening the attachment of the teenager towards their family. The strong attachment will help in creating a safe environment for the child. Find the interests and activities which you can share with the adaptor teenager for bonding with them.
Talk About Sexuality And Intimacy
Communicate about your views related to relationships, dating, and sex. Explain to them how they can maintain a healthy relationship. As their parent, you must educate them about birth control, safe sex, and abstinence. You should also affirm and support LGBTQ teenagers when they are expressing their identity.
Try To Have Empathy
Instead of assuming what is best for them according to your own experience, it will be better to empathize with them. Understand their situation by putting yourself into their shoes. Try to help them by understanding their individual needs.
Talk About Drugs, Alcohol, And Risky Behaviour
If the child is coming from a family where they faced substance abuse, then there is a chance that they might experience some adverse outcomes. Talk about your values related to drugs, alcohol, or risky behavior. Explain to them why they need to make lifestyle choices that are healthy for them.
Give The Teenager Voice
When teenagers feel that they are respected and heard in the family, then they are going to cooperate and follow the family rules. If the teenager has already been in a situation or family where they have felt powerless, then giving them a voice when it comes to making decisions can be a great way to build a healthy relationship.
Do Not Judge Them
Adopted teens can sometimes show peculiar behavior or emotional outburst, which can be a protective response because of their experience. Try to be reassuring and calm. Pay proper attention to what they have to say without passing unnecessary judgments.
Understanding your adopted teenager can be quite complicated, so you need to spend some time researching it. If the child wants to keep a connection with their birth parent, you should allow them.
Try to support them physically and emotionally when needed. Some may need a lot of time to accept you as their real parents, so try to be considerate.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.