Today I bring you a guest post from Agnes Jimenez on how to help adopted teens feel they belong. I'd suggest these are good things to consider for children of all ages who are in or who have ever been in care.
How to Instill a Sense of Belonging in Your Adopted Teen
As the parent of an adopted teen, you must understand that your child is going to have certain issues that other children will not face. This is just part of being adopted, and there is nothing that you can do to change the way that such an event occurred. However, you can work very hard to show your adopted teen that you love them, that they belong in your family, and that they can trust you. When you do this, you can change the way that the adoption impacts your child.
- Express Love and Affection
One of the biggest things that you can do to help your teen now is to show that teen that you love them at every chance that you get. Some parents make the mistake of thinking that their child already knows about their love. Even if this is true, reinforcing those feelings can make a large difference. Go out of your way to tell your teen how you feel, even if that is not a strong part of your personality.
- Be Involved
You can really show your teen that you care if you are involved in his or her life. Go to all of your daughter's piano recitals. Never miss one of your son's football games. This is good advice for all parents, but it must be a priority for the parents of adopted children. If you are involved, it shows that you care, which can speak more loudly than any words.
- Portray Adoption as a Positive Thing
Some adopted teens think that they were rejected by their birth parents. This can make them feel abandoned and insecure. Talk to them about how you think of adoption as a wonderful thing that brought the child into your life. When they see how differently you view it, they will know how much they mean. (Mie's Note: While I agree with this point, I would also suggest based on the story I shared that we must also acknowledge the pain associated with the loss of the child's first family, helping through the grief process and not just covering it up with stories of how perfect adoption might seem).
- Hold Family Events
Finally, you need to put special emphasis on family events. Go camping together. Have game nights. Take vacations to other countries. The more that you can do to help your family bond as a whole, the more the adopted child will feel like a part of it.
If you do these four things, you can really show your adopted child that you care. You can show that child that he or she is a valued and intrinsic part of the family. It is always important to work to demonstrate to your teen that they belong, that they are wanted, and, most of all, that they are loved.
About the Guest Author
Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and currently partners with HelpYourTeenNow.com in spreading awareness about troubled and depressed teenagers (and how to deal with them). Help Your Teen Now aims to increase awareness on the current psychological and societal stresses of today's teens and how these factors affect the future of our society.