Adopted children

Family Psychologist John Grienenberger, PhD, shares advice on how to best parent an adopted child from a different culture or racial background on how to celebrate their differences with them
Parenting Adopted Children From Different Cultures
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Adopted children

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I work with a lot of adoptive families in my practice. Very often, the children are adopted from another country perhaps China or Guatamala, or if it's a domestic adoption, the child may be from a different racial or cultural background. Parents often wonder how to be sensitive and responsive, how to acknowledge the differences while also celebrating them. I think its important to make opportunities whenever possible to help the child become exposed to their origin. There's different ways to do this. Here in Los Angeles, for example, there's a group that some adoptive parents started a group where they had all adopted children from Guatemala. They meet once a month and try and celebrate the children's cultural background while acknowledging. It's also important not to minimize the differences. I think children want to feel a part of the family, but the also know that there is something that's different. Celebrating the difference while also acknowledging that you are a family and you have a shared family culture as well.

Family Psychologist John Grienenberger, PhD, shares advice on how to best parent an adopted child from a different culture or racial background on how to celebrate their differences with them

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John Grienenberger, PhD

Family Psychologist

John Grienenberger, PhD, is a psychologist, attachment researcher, and Co-Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Reflective Communities in Los Angeles. He is also a Founder, Executive Director and Clinical Director of Community West, a psychological treatment center for adolescents and young adults in Los Angeles. He has extensive experience in family work, and has trained hundreds of therapists in his mentalization-based approach to working with families. He has authored numerous papers, presentations, and training programs in the areas of psychotherapy, attachment, mentalization, and parenting, and has conducted trainings and presentations both nationally and internationally. He has a part-time private practice in West Los Angeles conducting psychological and psychoeducational testing as well as providing psychotherapy to children, adults, families, and couples. Along with spending time with his children, John also enjoys backpacking, snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking.

 

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