Parenting Adopted Teens and Young Adults

How does parenting an adopted teen differ from parenting teens that come to us through birth? What are some of the unique challenges adopted teens or young adults face? Check out our interview with Katie Naftzger, an LCSW, Korean adoptee, and the author of “Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years.”

In this episode, we cover:

  • Why is parenting an “adopted” teen any different from parenting a child who comes to you by birth?
  • What issues related to adoption come to the front during the teen years?
  • What issues that relate to early neglect or abuse, or loss come to the fore in adolescence?
  • In your book, “Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years,” you talk about adoptive or foster parents taking a learning stance when working with teens. What is a learning stance?
  • Many of our kids have experienced early life adversity and carry the scars of this early trauma. Parents often naturally feel bad for their teens because of this. How can these feelings of pity interfere with the healthy parenting of teens? When to step in and help and when to let our teens figure out how to handle things on their own?
  • Some adoptive parents adopt out of a feeling of needing to save the child. How does the savior narrative impact parenting teens?
  • Birth family issues:
    • Birth parents search
    • Handling hard birth parent situations
    • Identity formation-nature vs. nurture
    • Navigating an open adoption with teens
  • Identity formation as a transracial adoptee.
  • Transitioning into adulthood.
  • We hear that adopted teens are more likely to have mental health issues and more likely to commit suicide. How do adoptive parents support their adopted teens?

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Vijay Hu