Friday, December 28, 2012

Teaching Adoption Concepts: Consistency Creates Trust

No matter a child's age, they need consistency to create trust. As mentioned in my first segment, adoptees are particularly sensitive to developing trust.

Children thrive with a certain poetry and balance between structure and creative play. So, find out what inspires your child and create consistent structure surrounding the meaningful experiences.

How? 

Well, children love to do different things at various developmental stages. A 6 year old, a 10 year old and a 15 year old have all very different development milestones to meet. But, the trust thread is always there.

One major theme in the relationship with your child needs to be communication. We also need to pour consistency into the relationship.

So, as adults and parents of adopted children, be available. Be the consistent touchstone in the relationship and provide a safe place.

When your precious little 6-year old, comes to you and can't figure out why they don't belong and connect, be Open, Every time. Talk to the child on her/his age-level.

A conversation:

Child: Mommy, I don't like playing with this or that (insert whatever your child dislikes)

Tip: Now...As an adult, take this as an opportunity to continue the adoption story for them. It is very important to pull in the lifelong influence of their natural families. Be strong emotionally and cognitively for your child. Be careful that your own interests and desires don't overpower theirs. Yes, this is true of non-adopted children, but with adoptees, we seek the genetic connection through our entire lifetime. Be sensitive and thoughtful to this fact. Especially, when and if the adoptee is paired with a family that is inherently different with personality and interests. As parents, extra attention and effort are needed to explain these differences at all times. In essence, the trust will continue through consistent parental presence and communication.

Parent: Everyone is made different and special. Mommy likes to (example...play the piano), but that does not mean that you will love to play the piano. You may want to dance or explore the stars. You might, but you might not. And we will try lots of wonderful things so that you can find what you love. But remember, that you had a natural family before we met. And inside of you there are things that they passed on to you. Special gifts and interests. We will figure out what you love together.

Tip: These consistent chats and consistent parental presence and guidance may seem simple, but simplicity allows an openness. As the child grows and develops, the conversation will become more complex. Your child will want to come to you, if you can remain strong and open to all things. Even and especially when these things may not be your passion. Every single time. Even when you are having a bad day or stress overtakes you, explain these things. You don't have to be perfect. Be a loving and consistent guide and keep the conversation going.

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