Attachment Series: Remember.

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Pearl is as brown as can be, and Sassafras could pass for Norwegian. Sweet Love has thrown an entirely new pink person look into the mix, so it is official that none of our beautiful children look alike.

One of the greatest points in our adoption experience was the day we realized we are so busy being a family that we forget that we all look different. There is great relief to be found in that. I am so much Pearl’s mama that, though obviously I value her ethnicity very much, I do not dwell on the fact that we are different races. I'm just her mama, that is all. 

As wonderful as this can be to experience, one notsowonderful by-product is that we can also forget to treat Pearl like she is adopted. Adopted children have highly unique, specific needs in attachment on a level that most biological children do not face (though some bio kids can have attachment issues). Because of their beginnings and many adopted children’s disconnections related to early relational trauma, they have what is referred to as a deep core of shame. They need extra helpings of nurture.

Our parenting style is sound. I am an educator and have been trained in various philosophies of discipline. The Captain and I feel that Rudolf Dreikurs’s theory of logical consequences makes the most sense in parenting. Our children are well aware that when they choose to disobey, they are choosing to receive a consequence, and that the punishment fits the crime. (Examples: two children fight over a toy, neither gets to play with it; child throws tantrum because she is not getting her way, child is removed from the group/public setting).

With adopted children, you can take that nice and tidy parenting style package and you can flush it down the toilet. What works with children who have no attachment issues absolutely will not work with those who do struggle with attachment  (whether biological or adopted…and remember that 

bio kids can experience attachment problems as well

). Just know that even when what you’ve always done as a parent might make good sense, it still may not work with your adopted children. This is parenting from the heart, even when parenting from the head has always been effective before.

Always be on the lookout for red flags and be flexible in your parenting and disciplinary methods. Upping your nurture will frequently help address behavior issues you see in adoption. The best resources for this are

Dr. Karyn Purvis’s Connected Parenting stuff

.* Read it, reread it, and read it again.  

Just remember that your adopted children will have unique needs at all stages of their lives. Be ready to support them in the way they need it most, and know that may look differently than the parenting style to which you are naturally inclined. 

*Amazon affiliate link.