A 15-year-old girl sits in my office managing to look caved in while sitting straight up. She says a familiar refrain, “My parents don’t understand me.”
What are they not understanding honey?
“Me. They don’t see me. They see who they think I am.”
Who are you that they are not seeing?
“Well, they all look alike, even my sister and brother who are adopted too look just like my parents—blonde with blue eyes. I don’t look like I belong. I’m Indian. I like Indian things. Food, my culture, but it isn’t their culture and they think it isn’t my culture because they got me as a baby and their culture should be mine. It isn’t. I’m Indian. Look at me. I’m brown. My friends see it, but not my parents.”
Have you told them?
“Yes, I used to all the time, but they laugh at me and tell me I’m making up things to be miserable about. I don’t know. I feel miserable, but I know I’m spoiled and I have a good life.”
This is where the rubber hits the road. Kids who have a great life can feel like they don’t fit into it because of how they feel inside. That internal feeling can motivate a child to unconsciously work hard to create an external reality that matches how they feel—anger, frustration, depression, shenanigans, opposition, malaise, low motivation, lack of gratitude, and basic disagreeableness. Before long, the happy family life with all the great trimmings becomes chaotic and negative, or worse. You might be living with a miserable tyrant, diva, bully.
If this is happening in your home, slow it way down. Your child is acting out of how s/he feels inside. Take the time to listen (a lot and often) to the heart of your child, even when you think your child should be happy and grateful for your fabulous family life. If children don’t feel the fabulous on the inside, there will be little ability to respect and appreciate it on the outside.
NEW THERAPEUTIC PARENTING WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017. IN PROGRESS NOW.
UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP: Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on August 9th, 2017! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Free child care provided.
TRY MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT. Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.