#3 – Temporary versus permanent family

March 29, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Posted in Is this forever? | Leave a comment
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When we adopt we know it will be forever.  It’s hard for us as parents to believe, but I’ve been told by numerous adult adoptees that as they were growing up, they didn’t consider their adoptive family as a permanent situation.  This is shocking to adoptive parents.  Adoptees say, “My first family gave me away, why wouldn’t my second family?”

We as parents don’t articulate the fact that we are bound to our children forever.  We don’t see the need for this because it is so obvious to us.  In fact, we might feel a little silly telling our children that they are ours forever.  The truth is, the children need to hear this.  This can be expressed in many ways; “We will always love each other, we will always be a family, no matter what happens we will always have each other, etc.”

Some children think they are so bad that their parents will give up on them and they just escalate their bad behavior waiting to see when they will get kicked out.  A cycle of testing behavior can begin.  The child misbehaves, but the parents keep him.  He ups the stakes and escalates the bad behavior often over many years, testing to see just what it will take for him to be thrown out of the family.

This can be defused  with an expression from parents to the effect that no matter what happens, no matter how bad the child’s behavior is,  they will always be a family.

Actually, that’s all the child wants to know.  If he’s told verbally, then he doesn’t have to go through all the testing behavior to see what his parents’ breaking point is.  Life is much better for all.

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