Q: 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