When your adopted child is being bullied it can be one of the most horrible things for a foster parent. Adopted kids and step kids don’t share the genetic pre-disposition which natural born children do. Even still standing up for your adopted child can be a totally strong bonding experience for the two of you. Here are five steps you can take to decide how involved you and your spouse want to get in your adopted child’s life. Chris Perez writes for us on how to help your adopted child who is being bullied.
The first thing you need to do is decide just how bad this bullying situation actually is. Kids are known for their imagination, so it can be difficult as a parent to tread through their stories, grabbing up the facts and ditching the fiction. If your child is not being bullied, and is making-up stories, this is something that you need to know. If you decide that your child is being bullied or if you are able to corroborate their story then it might be a good idea to decide what the reasoning for this bullying is. Adopted children can be more prone to bullying as young children, if their adoption is general knowledge. If that is the case then you, as an adoptive parent may have a difficult road ahead. According to 2010 Census data, adopted children make up for 2.3 percent of the children in American households, which is why counseling for child adoption has become a popular method to help children sort out their thoughts, and to find if there is a legitimate issue at hand. You may actually do your adopted child more of a service by not getting involved if the matter on a peer-to-peer level. You of course should still engage counselors, teachers, and others about this matter, but the unique paradigm you are involved in, may be a discouraging factor in your getting involved in their bullying situation. If the cause of their bullying is sourced to their adoption, then you getting involved may only exacerbate the situation in the short term.
Once you have a good understanding of the situation, it’s time for a talk. Stopbullying.gov suggests talking “about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away.” If your child is like most then the chances are that they will put up some wall and say that they aren’t bothered by the bullying and that it doesn’t impact them. Of course you need to probe deeper and find out how they are really handling the situation. Bullying can impact your kid’s schoolwork, home life, friends, and so many more areas of their lives.
While you are encouraging your kids to stand up for themselves, you should also be reaching out to teachers, administrators and maybe even the bullying child’s parents to try and temper the situation. Of course you don’t want to interfere too greatly with your kids and their private lives, but you also can’t afford to sit idly by. If you keep your conversations about the bullying rather low key and keep your kids thinking about all the good that they can do, you will be doing your child a service. You don’t want to drive them away by belaboring the point being about their child adoption and make them feel deserted. It’s a delicate balance for a parent and it’s a rather unenviable situation certainly.
Once you have talked to your child, talked to other adults involved, and discussed how to stand up for themselves, then the next important thing you can do is keep an eye out for them. Monitor their cell phones, social media pages, and their general mood around you and around others. If you feel as though your child is setting the ship aright and standing up for themselves, then that’s great! They have learned an important lesson about self-reliance and you have shown them that they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to. Kids counseling can help here too. If things don’t begin to resolve themselves, if your child’s school work suffers, if teachers and administration seem to turn a blind eye, and if your child devolves inward, then it might be time for the final step.
You never want to baby your child; especially your adopted child. An adopted child already likely has enough hurdles to overcome for their own psycho-social development. But if you can’t get any resolution from the steps listed above, it may be time to take another path. In drastic situations of unending drama you can think about home school, taking your kids and moving them to another school, or even a private school.
The fact is that it’s real life and kids need to learn to stand up on their own two feet. But sometimes kids brought up from child adoption can get a real rough go-round. If your adopted kid is suffering help them by taking these steps and seeing what it is that you can do to make things comfortable and successful for them in their school career.
About the Author: Chris is a writer living in Arizona. When not writing, he enjoys cooking, reading, and watching Science Fiction movies.