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LESSONS I LEARNED
From a 4 year-old... - continued

By Cindy Champnella


Sisters Don't Happen Overnight.

Along with my other delusions, I had a fantasy of a new playmate for my other kids. After the first few days my older daughter had only one question: "Why is she so mean?" Jaclyn brought with her wariness of older children. In the orphanage she had often seen the older kids bully and take advantage of the younger ones. Survival of the fittest was her norm and, as a result, she often was aggressive. She had a menacing stance with upraised fists that appeared, always behind my back, at the least provocation and sometimes without any provocation at all. She also saw other children as competitors for scant adult attention. But I believe that there was another issue here, too. She had left behind in the orphanage two children that had become family to her. About one of them she stated simply: "I gave him all my love." She had now lost them both, in addition to her birth family who she also recalled. Given this, how willing was she to love again?

So how can you facilitate the sibling bond?

Prepare Your Children. They need to understand the 'whys' behind the new sibling's often puzzling behavior.

Encourage Empathy and Support. Make this a family issue - you're all in it together. Ask for their help.

Empathize With Their Frustration. They're kids after all, not saints. They don't have the perspective of adults. And it is annoying to have a new sibling steal your stuff and become the mom-hog.

 

The materials for this course have been reprinted with permission from the book Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox Building Connections, edited by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae Copyright 2006 EMK Press, all rights reserved. The complete 520 page book covering all aspects of becoming and being an adoptive family is available at Amazon.com.

 

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