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I'm a non adopter wanting to understand family better - can you help?

(18 Posts)
LoveMyPatio Mon 14-Nov-16 22:21:38

Ever since my family member first raised the idea of them adopting a child I have been reading this board, and been awed by the wisdom of many regulars.

I would like to ask a question though, if I may, as I'm a little concerned, and probably just "don't get it". Asking the family member direct seems a little intrusive.

Anyway, I've noticed on here the emphasis on attachment, and the common theme that ALL. Adopted children will have some extra needs and/or sensitivities that BC may not have. Which I completely understand.
My family member parents in a much more authoritarian way to us - they are all about the naughty step, and sending to room, and encouraging independence. And i worry that it is setting up their child for difficulties later on. Although the child currently seems happy and healthy and us obviously well loved and cared for they are still very young (not yet school age).
Am I worrying unduly? Am I just letting my own parenting style colour my views? (I try to do time in, name and acknowledge emotions, empathetic boundaries etc)


Italiangreyhound Mon 14-Nov-16 23:25:43

LoveMyPatio you are not worrying unduly. Time out, being sent to the room, all those things are not suitable for adopted, especially newly adopted children.

We do a version of time out called 'Take a break' which has very set boundaries, very short, no pressure to say sorry etc but rather to try and just cool down on a cushion, or step, or whatever, either in the same room or within eye sight of parent.

I admit, I have sent my son to his room, when he was being really difficult and I was at my wits end. I am not proud of it and usually it has been when ds (6) and dd (birth child 12) were fighting and I wanted to separate them so allowing one to stay in living room would have caused more arguments!

Can you begin a dialogue with your family member? Not too judgmental but just aware?

LoveMyPatio Mon 14-Nov-16 23:35:05

I'm not sure how to as I'm not coming from my own experience of adoption - and whatever I say will sound judgyy.
I've only once sent my dd1 to her room - and as yourself it was to separate them! She often takes herself there though if she's cross. She loves a flounce and a door slam grin

I really don't know what to do

tldr Tue 15-Nov-16 01:22:05

They're sending a pre schooler to his/her room for misbehaviour? And preschooler goes? That doesn't sound right to me. Wouldn't most pre-schoolers have a big tantrum if you tried that?

I don't know what I'd do about it though -interfering in other people's parenting generally doesn't go well.

Re the authoritarian thing - that might be a considered decision in best interests of child, for example where child thinks he has to look after himself or thinks that he and parents are peers. (Or it might just be how they do it.) And I don't think this would necessarily be harmful.

Italiangreyhound Tue 15-Nov-16 02:24:17

LoveMyPatio I think (just my opinion) that you praise the good and try and ignore the bad! Just as you do with kids!

When she does things you know to be good, comment, in a totally natural way, "Phew, you handled that well, I thought a tantrum was coming but you seemed to just divert his attention onto something different."

IF you feel super brave, get a book on parenting from an attachment stand point, not necessarily geared to adoption and use it yourself and comment to your relative about how good it is.

I would recommend The parenting puzzle

Raising Happy Children by Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson what every parent needs to know year 0-11

thread on mumsenet about this

The Secret of Happy Children: A Guide for Parents by Steve Biddulph

Good luck.

LoveMyPatio Tue 15-Nov-16 06:30:07

Tldr yes he goes. He's a remarkably obedient child - which actually worries me. A d of course they look at my 3 with their probably more normal challenging behaviour and see that I've got it all wrong and that they are right confused maybe they are right because their child is certainly better behaved than my 3 year old ball of stubbornness and dare! grin

Italian - theyve got every parenting book under the sun. Read the attachment stuff and decided it wasn't for them then got toddler taming and supernanny.

LoveMyPatio Tue 15-Nov-16 06:33:37

Oh and re my dd1 and being sent to hr room - she was 5.5 at the time. Not a preschooler.

conserveisposhforjam Tue 15-Nov-16 14:05:52

Tbh I'm not sure this board is massively representative of adopters. I think lots of people probably go to their training, do minimal reading, are matched and then parent how they would have anyway. Certainly my acs birth siblings are not parented in ways which are consistent with having attachment as a priority.

I suppose you could just follow a policy of mentioning the MN adoption board in every conversation until you can get them to at least pop in and read a bit? Can't see your other options other than to be a fantastic aunt/uncle/cousin to their acs.

LoveMyPatio Tue 15-Nov-16 18:42:46

Good idea conserve. And I'm not saying there is anything wrong - they are fantastic parents and they are a lovely family. I just have concerns mainly from reading this board!

Italiangreyhound Tue 15-Nov-16 20:13:12

My dd is a birth child. I did start out trying to tame her, it didn't work. In fact it made things worse. I finally realized she is not a dog, or a young person on work experience placement - and started treating her like a small person. Worked for me!

(I never thought she was a dog but I did, foolishly, think I could train her. Once!)

LoveMyPatio Wed 16-Nov-16 07:39:25

(I was the same with dd1! grin)

Buster5187 Wed 16-Nov-16 11:13:10

Tbh I'm not sure this board is massively representative of adopters. I think lots of people probably go to their training, do minimal reading, are matched and then parent how they would have anyway. Certainly my acs birth siblings are not parented in ways which are consistent with having attachment as a priority.

Just to echo this really.

But I do think it sounds as though their child is very compliant, which can be a strong trait in adoptive children (my DS included), and I would say rightly so that you are concerned over how willingly he goes to his room etc. Do you know if he expresses any emotion at all in doing this, tears, frustration etc?

Like the others have said, it is great you're so mindful of his needs, but I would perhaps point them in the direction of this site if you feel it could help in certain areas.

I do feel that sometimes (well I'm speaking for myself really) it is very easy to slip into 'more traditional' sort of parenting, especially if you're overwhelmed in the early days - I know I did. It could be that although she has read the books etc - she physically does not feel she has the tools to implement a more attachment based approach. It's one thing reading about something, and another applying it day to day when it may not be 'your norm' or 'what you grew up with'. There are more courses etc she / and other family members can attend, but it's whether you feel confident enough to approach her on the matter?

It is brilliant you're so insightful, after speaking with many adopters over the years and my own family included it took a long old time for them to see things through a more 'adoptive sort of lense' so to speak, and not the 'oh every child does that' view point. If you have a close relationship she may take it all on board really well.

Buster5187 Wed 16-Nov-16 11:22:08

Oh also, re they will probably see their child as being 'remarkably good and yours / others disobedient etc' - I would say they really probably wont.
Again just using my experiences of a very compliant child, especially in the early days, I was never under any illusion that he was somehow so well behaved due to my parenting, in fact it was, and still is a huge concern of mine just how compliant he can be. She is probably very aware of this, and yes of course isn't life easier when people do things you want them to, it is very easy to just go with it!
But it will likely cause her concern that he is holding a lot of his emotions in. It was never something that crossed my mind how he compared to his peers in terms of their and his behavior, other than 'wow he really does just do as we / others say doesn't he.... If she is anything like me, she may 'want' that little bit of angst, or for him to maybe have a tantrum, or disagree with what is being asked. The little glimpses we started to see of that we relished and loved to see (which I realise goes against what most parents would have joy from grin and one day will maybe become the 'norm' and bite us on the bum)

LoveMyPatio Wed 16-Nov-16 12:31:04

No hr doesn't show much emotion. They haven't had him that long though

I did fall into the "oh all children do that" at first, and if course for some things that is true, but as I've got to know him be I realised that actually, no, not all children do "that" a lot of the time.

Is this compliant child thing a particular worry then? Are they likely to have a backlash at some point?

LoveMyPatio Wed 16-Nov-16 12:35:57

I'm not sure if it's "my place" to offer advice though - as a non adopter. They also seem to have a good group of adopters who they did the course with and they all meet up regularly.

I suppose it all boils down to - how can I support my family better without coming across as judgy and interfering in something I know nothing about? As adopters, what do you appreciate from your wider family?

LoveMyPatio Wed 16-Nov-16 12:37:07

Oh and is there any wider reading you would recommend for me? Obviously I haven't done the courses! grin

conserveisposhforjam Wed 16-Nov-16 15:22:35

Anything by Dan Hughes. He recommends a system called PACE (sometimes PLACE) which is a v useful acronym to remember and probably v googleable.

tldr Wed 16-Nov-16 20:38:24

If you want to support them, ask them how you can help or ask open ended questions and see what they tell you - unsolicited parenting advice is rarely welcomed anywhere, I'd say moreso with adopters. (Just be careful that you don't sound like you're being nosey re LO's background.)

If it's early days, they quite possibly don't know if they're coming or going, and all the helpful advice that says things like 'don't do time outs' often don't suggest alternatives.

Compliant children are often compliant because they want people to like them/think it might stop them being sent away again. What you'd want to see happening is LO becoming less compliant and more 'normal kid'. I was ridiculously happy first time LO scribbled on a wall...

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