adopting an older childQ: When adopting older kids, how can parents balance the competing goals of creating attachment at the same time as honoring their teens need for independence?

A: With patience and empathy.  This can be one of the scariest times for an adoptee.  The unspoken fear of total abandonment is ever-present at this stage of adolescence.  Teens have a natural, biological urge to separate and distance, yet there is also the need for continued bonding.  This paradox can feel confusing, disturbing and awkward for the adolescent and creates quite a dilemma for both child and parent.   Which is why parents need to not take their child’s distancing, erratic and/or sometimes rejecting behaviors personally.

Answer provided by Sean Delehant, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with CASE

Image Credit: Elham Sandhetya