#9 – “You’re not my parent!”

March 30, 2011 at 12:05 am | Posted in Differences -adopted child and biological child | Leave a comment
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I got an email from a parent who was upset because her 12 year old son told her last week during an argument that she was not his mother.  This naturally upset her greatly.

The words that perhaps hurt adoptive parents the most are, “You’re not my mother” and “You’re not my father.”  We as adoptive parents work overtime trying to make our family a cohesive unit recognizing that there are more differences in our family than in a biological family.  Our gene pools are more diversified. Physical traits and personality traits are taken from a wider range than in a biological family.

The adopted child utters these hurtful words when he’s angry.  The resulting reaction from the parent is also one of anger, resentment, and great sadness.  What we as parents need to realize is that the child says these words when he is feeling alone, frustrated, and doesn’t feel positive about himself.  He feels terrible and lashes out at the closest person to him – his parent.

When he is at this low point, what he needs is reassurance that he is a good person and is loved by his parents.  He actually is asking, but not saying verbally, “Are you truly my parent?  I feel so awful about myself that I can’t imagine you really love me.”

During our own angry reaction to his words, it’s hard for us to fathom this at that moment, but that’s what the child is asking.  Unfortunately, we react in anger because we are so hurt.  The better response is to realize that our child is devastated over something and needs a big hug (even though we don’t feel like giving him one at this moment).

Our children want to belong to us and our families.  Many times throughout their lives they are reminded that they are different, that they were artificially placed in our families, and they feel insecure about it.  That’s when they say “You are not my parent,” but they need to hear from us,  “Yes, I am your parent and I will always be, no matter what happens, I will always be your parent.”  Try it next time you hear these words.


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