Adopted Teens | Nature -vs- Nurture

Adoption may take some time, but love arrives instantly. Today, parents who adopt teenagers are looking for help with this life-changing chapter. Adoption is a big adjustment for both the parents and the teen.

Building relationships like these are all about communication. The better you both communicate, the stronger will be the relationship. Following are a few recommendations for parents to keep in mind when trying to build a strong relationship with their teen son or daughter.

Make adoption a topic you can talk openly about

Remember that the teenage years are completely filled with self-discovery. They constantly make every effort to find and shape their identity, and for many, a huge portion of it comes from their nurturing. However, all of us, especially adopted teenagers, are curious about which tendencies or personality traits come from their birth parents. They will feel guilty or uncomfortable bringing up their birth parents with their adopted family.  

Out of nowhere, adopted teenagers can be blindsided and often struggle with mixed emotions about their adoption. The struggle can turn to anger towards their birth parents and questions flood their mind as they wonder why they were put up for adoption. The questions turn to alienation as they separate themselves because they feel that they don’t “fit in” with their adopted family.

There is hope and it all comes down to communication. While it can often seem “out of the norm” and often “awkward”, parents looking for help with adopted teen issues should know that a big part of helping adopted teenagers is open communication. You will establish an incredible relationship of trust with your teen and make adoption a topic you can talk openly about. You will help your child with any struggles they may be having with adoption and you will find that they will help others with the same struggles.

Being adopted is a big adjustment for a teen

Adoption doesn’t come without its challenges. Most adopted teens come from a background where the values and rules are very different from those of their new family. Even with their best efforts, parents may feel like dealing with their adopted teen is a trial-and-error process where they aren’t seeing results. Parents often need help establishing new expectations and accountability with adopted teens. It’s tough, and things like breaking curfew, using explicit language, violence, or theft are issues that take time and consistency. Likewise, healthy habits like cleanliness and grooming can all be established with consistency and open communication.

Parents can discover ways of establishing boundaries while still helping their child adjust to their new life. Fortunately, there are several resources parents can turn to for help with adopted teen issues.

Don’t be afraid to turn to professional help

Adopting a new teen and adjusting to a new member of the family can be one of the most important events in life. Many parents turn to professionals to help with adopted teen issues. Today, there are several options parents can turn to for help with adopted teen issues including school counselors, family therapists, and psychologists.