#57 There REALLY is a difference –

April 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Posted in Adoption differences, adoption issues, adoption loss, Adoptive parenting do's, Raising the adopted child | Leave a comment
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I recently attended a seminar put on by Heather T. Forbes who has written several books on adoptive parenting.  She actually talks about more than adoptees – also foster children and biological children who mom and daughterhave experienced trauma.  My book, Insight Into Adoption, explains how and why an adopted child thinks and feels, and her books cover the raising of that child.  A good combination.

I’ll generalize her information in the next few blog entries to give you an idea of why her thinking is so good – very logical once you understand why it is so effective.

The basics –

1)      Some adopted children have experienced fear and stress before coming to our adoptive homes.  Even if a baby goes into the adoptive home shortly after the time of birth, there can be stress in the womb.  If the birth mother is under stress (abuse, fear of an unwanted pregnancy, alcohol or drug use, stress from society) her body emits stress hormones which can harm her baby’s brain development.  If a child is in a foster home or an orphanage the stress on the young child is obvious.

2)      Unacceptable behavior from a child with this background is often based on fear, stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed.  The customary way of dealing with unacceptable behavior is consequences and punishment.  Is it logical to punish a child who acts out of fear, stress or a feeling of being overwhelmed?

3)      There are other methods. Helping the child feel safe and loved before correcting bad behavior has been proven to be very effective.  In a state of stress it’s hard for any of us to be receptive to being corrected. We need to help our children heal first.

I think as adoptive parents we sometimes come to a point where we know we are not dealing with a child who thinks or feels like we did as children.  We sense the difference, but can be frustrated as to why there is a difference.  Forbes’s methods say to intensify the connection between parent and child, use wrap-a-round love to enforce the child’s feeling of safety.  After calmness has returned to the scene, then calmly explain why the behavior was not acceptable.  The parent remaining calm during all this is essential.  Our natural inclination in facing a ranting, angry child is to raise our voices as well.  This only reinforces the stress and prolongs it.  A parent needs to be in control of himself or herself to pull this off.  Knowing why the child is misbehaving makes this possible.  You’re dealing with a child who is out of control for his logical reasons – you as the parent need to keep yourself in control for your logical reasons.

More on this in the next few blog entries.

Heather T. Forbes books can be seen on Amazon.  I have a link to her website – www.beyondconsequences.com

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