You go into parenting wanting the best for your child. But my question would be, define ‘what is best for your child.’ Are you super clear what that means and if so, write it down on a piece of paper. Then check your list and see if you have any of the 5 huge mistakes you will make that will kill your relationship with your adopted child.
When you step into the role as a parent with a clean slate you will be able to raise a child that thrives.
There are no exceptions.
If you are carrying into parenting, the baggage you have been saddled with as a child, you will inadvertently pass it down to your children. And adopted children are more susceptible.
Looking at the self-help industry, the number of psychological illnesses, and available therapies, you have your proof. Not to mention the rise is teenage suicide, bullying, runaways and the 1 million homeless children living in the streets of the USA at any given time.
This doesn’t happen when a child is thriving.
Here’s why it does happen.
You have expectations for your child and when they are not living up to those expectations, you blame the child. You scorn, scold, berate, humiliate and punish.
Raising your children to do what you expect of them. More specifically, you are living your unfulfilled dreams through your children. By dreams, it could be the expectation you have of them getting good grades and going to an Ivy League school or behavior modification. You don’t like how they behave because you used to get in trouble for behaving that way. You want them to go to the preferred school, so when they underperform academically, you make it about you.
You’re doing to them what was done to or expected of you rather than letting them be who they are. Sure, there is a wide scope of determinants here. There is a difference between letting a child express themselves authentically without you deciding how they should react vs. allowing them to physically harm another.
You can easily make the distinctions but here is the bottom line:
When you’ve cleaned up your personal past traumas, you will raise thriving children.
It is then that your child will feel inclusion, acceptance, and connection. What this translates to is safety/security. When a child can fully and completely express themselves and be open to speaking/expressing their truth, they are more likely to become secure, well-adjusted adults.
Adopted children need compassion and understanding. They are learning how the world works and everyone learns differently. A parent cannot show compassion and understanding if they’re parenting through your past pains. You will only see life through that lens and be unavailable to perceive things any other way.
The 5 HUGE mistakes you will make that will kill your relationship with your adopted child.
- Going into parenting wounded. Not cleaning up your past. Thinking you will never do to your child what was done to you, isn’t enough. You have to excavate so you can then educate.
- Mistaking bad behavior for being uncompliant, rude or disrespectful. Behavior is a manifestation of trauma. Feelings and emotions the child cannot adequately express. Behaviour is their way of communicating.
- Telling your child they were ‘chosen’. Just don’t do it. That puts too much pressure on them to perform so they don’t disappoint you. Plus, it’s a lie. There was not a line-up of babies to choose from where you actually ‘chose’ them.
- Not understanding and empathizing with the adopted child and their inherent wounds that you will never understand.
- Thinking you can just love the trauma out of the child. It takes compassion, consistency, and congruency. You must be aware that any negative experiences adopted children have, compounds their existing feelings making it more of a reality for them.
These 5 things are huge. Truth be told there are many other commonly made mistakes. It’s not about being perfect though. It’s going into adopting with your eyes wide open, educated, and having cleaned up your past.
That should be your #1 priority.
The rest just happens generically.
If you would like pre-adoption preparation and education so that you can be the best possible parent to your adopted child, let’s talk.pre-adoption preparation and education so that you can be the best possible parent to your adopted child, let’s talk.