Whether your child is internationally adopted, domestically adopted, or adopted through LGBT adoption, your child is still just that: a child. While being adopted may add its own set of challenges, even adoptive parents aren’t immune to the ‘terrible twos’ or moody teens.
In this article we’ll be exploring the nature of spirited children, and some top parenting techniques you can use to help your child navigate life post-adoption.
Why is my Child Spirited?
Typically, there really is no secret reason for why your child is spirited, it's simply how they were made, and certainly having a spirited little one doesn’t reflect poorly in any way on your parenting skill.
With adopted children, there may be some additional reasons for spirited behaviour. For international children raised in institutions, having boundless energy and emotional outbursts may simply be them coming out of their shell, feeling safe and able to explore the world however they see fit.
Adopted children may have disobedience due to the dysregulation within their lives pre-adoption. They may be unable to express the complex emotions they’re feeling, leading to frustrated outbursts and tantrums.
Finally, they may want to be center of attention or express themselves more intensely due to fear of abandonment. They want you to see and notice them at all times because of an intense fear that you’ll forget them.
There are many parenting tips you can implement post adoption to help create a harmonious home. Of course, you may need to adapt your own solutions in response to your child's unique quirks!
Parenting relies on the interaction between parent and child. Understanding your child’s unique temperament is important, but what about your own? Are you exuding excess anxiety around them? Are you letting your frustration overshadow loving interactions? Your child is able to pick up on these emotions, and could express their concerns about you in spirited ways.
Positivity not Negativity
All children thrive on praise. It helps them to understand and model good behaviour, in place of bad. When you’re worn down by a spirited child however, you might end up focussing on the negatives, reprimanding them for their challenging behaviour, and supplying little praise.
For adopted children with potential abandonment issues, any attention, even negative, is better than no attention. If they achieve interaction with you through undesirable behaviour, and little through desirable behavior, then they will opt for the former. As a parent, make the time to praise your child for the positives they achieve, no matter how small.
Adopted children have often faced upheaval within their lives, and this can cause all manner of behavioural problems, as the child may be anxious about uncertainties, not knowing what they will result in or why they’re happening.
Post adoption it’s important to implement clear routines for day-to-day occurrences, such as mealtime, bedtime, playtime, etc. If the child knows what they’re doing and what’s expected of them, some of the anxious behaviours such as crying, frustration, and anger may start to dissipate.
A Spirited Child is a Gift
There’s no doubt a more spirited child can be more difficult to parent, but, with boundless energy, or extra love to give, a spirited child really is a blessing to any family. Having your own mind and being vocal about your thoughts and feelings isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as it’s channeled the right way. By nourishing the good sides of being spirited and helping to navigate the negative sides, your child will thrive and flourish into a confident adult.