#58 Power and control

April 23, 2013 at 8:53 am | Posted in Adoption differences, adoption issues, adoption loss, Adoptive parenting do's, Raising the adopted child | Leave a comment
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We as parents like to think we’re in control of our families, certainly in control of our children. In any power MP900285060struggle, we think being in control means taking control from the other person, or at least having more control than the other person. It becomes a back and forth dance, a power struggle.

Children, who don’t feel loved and safe from their very beginning, often learn they need to take charge of themselves – be in control of themselves because they can’t count on other people.  Of course, they aren’t capable of this, but nonetheless this fear of having to be in control of their lives takes over their motivations.  This feeling is often absorbed in such young lives that it’s just a feeling, it’s non-verbal because something happened to them before they could even talk.

One adoptee told me his earliest memory was being held by different pairs of hands.  What is the other side of this?  His earliest memory was one of discomfort, insecurity. He doesn’t remember one set of steady loving hands holding him.  What happened inside his brain, inside his spirit?  He internalized a disquieting emotion.  We all need to feel secure.  His very first memory was just the opposite.  And, yes, he had a difficult time growing up and made some bad decisions along the way.  The consistent love of his adoptive parents pulled him through, but he struggled for many years before he realized he was loved and could count on his supportive and loving parents.

 It’s hard to give responsibility (power) to a child you think is inept. Often our kids push us away.  It’s hard to feel loving toward an angry, disruptive child.  This is when we need to keep our calm, realize he’s coming from a fear of something and using his behavior to lash out.  Often he doesn’t know why.  Behavior is communication.  When a child either doesn’t know or is too emotional to verbalize his feelings, he’ll use behavior to express how he feels.

It’s at this point we need to listen 100% to our child.  He needs our undivided attention to defuse his situation.  He can’t always verbalize why he feels so awful, but our attention to what he does know about his feelings is paramount.  Think of what you might do at this point to make your relationship better with your child.  Give him back some power which is nothing more than respecting the fact he’s upset about something.  Feed him lines to acknowledge how he feels and help him identify the real source of his anger.  He might have hit his baby brother for no reason, but we all know that isn’t the real source of his anger.  Talking him through or letting him talk through his feelings is giving respect to his problem.  It often becomes a physical dance.  You can’t approach him closely when he’s so angry, but as he calms down you can slowly move in closer – and hopefully it will all end with a hug.  No one has lost power.  You have yours and your child still has his.  You listened !

Your power comes from the influence you have on your child.








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