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Nature/Nurture: Helping Adopted Kids Thrive

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

When it comes to assimilating an adopted child into your home and family, you can expect pretty much what all new parents expect when dealing with a newborn and infant, but the rules “do” change (at least a little) when it comes to toddlers and older children.

Remember, these children, while they “do” need love, attention, and affection, have gone “without” and have developed unique and special need, some of which new moms and dads my be unaware of and overlook. But, it’s this “special” focus and parenting skills that will help these kids thrive.

· Create a comfortable and comforting environment: Make your home a bright, sunny, and inviting place for your child. Experts suggest bold, subtle colours and tones that will sooth the child and his or her emotions rather than bold, cheery colours and patterns that may overwhelm.

· Feed your child’s needs….literally: Keep in mind that for many children from overseas or who lived in poverty, food is a luxury and there’s always the deeply imbedded fear that “rations” will run out, and that starvation is near. Make sure to encourage healthy eating and healthy snacks, maybe even keep some on hand in his or her room just in case your child wakes up hungry and frightened.

· Awaken his or her brain: This is best done through physical contact and connections. Try to hold your child as often as possible or use a baby carrier rather than a bouncy seat or other “independent” child seat.

· Give Time-outs a “time-out”: Older children who’ve been waiting to be adopted realize early on that they feel “all alone” in the world, so a time out may simply communicate isolations and alienation. Instead enforce proper punishment but stay close by so that your child can see and hear you, and know that he or she can approach you if he or she wants to talk. And, regardless of implementing rules, make sure your child knows you love him or her.

Long Island Adoption Articles > Nature/Nurture: Helping Adopted Kids Thrive

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