Strategies When Your Adopted Child Acting Out
When you’ve built a family through adoption, you can have concerns about your adopted child’s interactions with you and other family members. It can be particularly distressing when the child starts acting out, engaging in behaviors clearly designed to either get attention or to annoy you.
Why Kids Act Out
All kids act out at some point. The tendency can be greater in adopted children, though, especially those who are adopted after infancy.
Most experts attribute acting out to an attempt to non-verbally get others to feel what the child is feeling. Adopted children can often feel shame, anger, fear or resentment because of the unstable nature of their early lives, or because of their loss of connection with former caregivers. Because they lack the cognitive skills or the verbal acuity to explain those feelings, they try to convey them to others the best way they know how—through their behavior and actions. A child who deliberately does things that he or she knows will make you angry is likely saying to you “I’m angry. I may not know why and I don’t know how (or don’t want) to tell you.”
When your child starts to act out, it’s important to remember a few things:
- Acting out is one of the ways your adopted child tests the commitment of your family—Especially if your child feels abandoned, acting out is likely a test to see whether (and at what point) you will abandon them, too.
- Acting out is better than doing nothing at all—When your child is feeling angry, ashamed, afraid or abandoned, one of the worst things they can do is hold it all inside. Acting out is generally a good sign, an indication that your child is trying to express a deep emotion. Acting out is typically the first step toward confronting and healing the hurt your child feels.
Adoption Attorneys in New Jersey
At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.
Contact our office online or call us at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005 in Woodbury, NJ, or in Philadelphia, PA, at (856) 429-5005. We also provide a free initial consultation in personal injury and workers’ compensation matters.