Foster and adoptive family services

Gregory Keck, PhD Attachment Therapist & Adoption Expert, shares advice for adoptive parents on what to do if your adopted child begins to push you away
What To Do When Your Adopted Child Pushes You Away
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Foster and adoptive family services

Many adoptive parents find that their kids don't want to accept the nurturing they give them. If the parent is overly concerned about being rejected then that becomes a more serious problem, but we try to help parents find non-intrusive ways to provide nurturing and comfort. If they can be really directly it's helpful, but if they continue to get rejected we really want them to continue trying and it may be trying a different avenue if giving them a back rub didn't work then maybe arm wrestling might work, again, following kind of what you can do with the child. Now, if we're talking about adolescents we often have to remind the parents that while she's immature she's still in part 15, and adolescents typically push away and do some separating and individuating from their parent. So it may not be anything to do with adoption, it just may be that, “Okay, I need my space. I'm on my own, it's my life, you can't tell me what to do, I'm not going to get hurt, everything is safe, I'm in charge of everything, don't worry about it.” It may be some typical adolescent stuff mixed in with the trauma which I think is more complicating because I think adolescence is more complicated for kids who have had early trauma, and then they get to this developmental stage where they're supposed to pull away but they really aren't ready to pull away but they think they should be because they see all their friends doing that. So we just remind people like probably in five, or six, or seven years things will come back around. If you have a 15-year-old, probably by the early 20s you're going to see a very different person than you see at 15. And I think it's about supporting them and giving them hope, and because she's rejecting you it's not going to be very corrective to reject her. And so just to keep the relationship open, as open as you can, keep the contact open, keep the communication open, and probably things will end up okay.

Gregory Keck, PhD Attachment Therapist & Adoption Expert, shares advice for adoptive parents on what to do if your adopted child begins to push you away


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Gregory Keck, PhD

Founder & Director, Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio

Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio. He is an internationally known psychologist and trainer who addresses the issues of trauma, adoption, and post-adoption challenges. He and his staff provide attachment therapy for adoptive families whose children have experienced serious early childhood maltreatment prior to adoption. In 2012, he received the National Association of Social Workers State of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the parent of two sons who were adopted in adolescence.

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