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How is discipline different with an adopted child? (Article below)

Do you find that you have to look for other alternatives than perhaps the way you were raised? Any stories on "Creative Discipline" for an adopted child? (or foster, if you have them.)

There are 7 pages, so when you read through to the bottom, click on "Next article in series". I thought it gave a lot of insight as to why traditional methods are ineffective.

Answer Question

Asked by doodlebopfan at 9:49 AM on Jul. 17, 2010 in Adoption

Level 20 (9,525 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • (Link to 1st page.)

    Being the mom of an adopted 3 y/o, I tend to constantly look for ways to EFFECTIVELY modify his behavior, so that keeps me googling & asking others for suggestions.



    Comment by doodlebopfan (original poster) at 10:02 AM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • I read the first couple of pages and was disappointed that it seemed to assume that children adopted at birth wouldn't have the same issues and that it only pertained to children adopted from Foster care.

    But yes, I do think that adoptee children should be disciplined differently. I think everything that's done with an adoptee child should be considered carefully, such as trying to do everything within your power to avoid putting your child in child care and being obsessively vigilant about picking your child up on time. Being late to pick up a child from soccer practise can cause extreme stress in an adoptee.


    Answer by onethentwins at 3:56 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • I completely disagree. I am both adopted and also the mother of 2 adopted children. We are doing our children a great disservice if we treat them differently and allow them extra considerations because they are adopted. Do we honestly feel that the rest of society is going to bend over backwards to accommodate these children - and not only as children, but when they become adults? The goal is to raise healthy, capable young people.
    While it is certainly important to be sensitive to every individual child's issues, these children need the same things that any child needs - and that includes traditional discipline.

    Answer by justnancyb at 4:24 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • No and yes. No in that I would not change the consequences I choose to use when my child makes a poor choice. The goal is to teach and so we do. I choose, as a parent, to not use spanking, to not yell, and to use ideas i have studied and taught other parents to use. But yes to the fact that I recognize my son, through adoption, at times may make connections about consequences to adoption. Untrue as it may be from my perspective.....I'm available to being open to his thoughts and feelings. Also there may be times in the future a poor choice might be due to an adoption related issue. For example: a child in class makes fun of him for having white parents when he is black. Perhaps my child hits him. There are two issues and not one. So we deal with both. To ignore the cause would be abusive to him and to be frank - it does change the type of consequence I would institute. How I handle it would be different than

    Answer by frogdawg at 5:59 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • If my child bullied because he was making fun of the kid. While still a consequence for hitting it changes the entire picture and a time for me to advocate for my child. I disagree the world doesn't need to make changes. In fact my child has the right to be free from harassment. So the teacher would be the one to have to learn how to teach her class to be respectful of different types of families.

    Answer by frogdawg at 6:04 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • Thank you, frogdawg, for getting to the root of the question. It isn't about whether or not to discipline, but HOW to discipline. For instance, I have learned recently that children with abandonment issues don't respond well to Time OUT, but rather Time IN, which means keeping them BESIDE YOU and focusing on attachment rather than separating him/her from you, which may trigger and reinforce the abandonment fears.


    Comment by doodlebopfan (original poster) at 6:53 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • It took me a while to get through all of the pages, but I thought it was very good. I like James Dobson and Focus on the Family, and I thought this was more insightful than some of his books that I have read on disciplining a strong-willed child. In those books, I do like what he says about presenting a united front and being ready to address a direct challenge from your child. I also like what he said about being consistent. He is, at least in the books I've read, a big advocate of spanking. While I am not totally opposed to spanking, I think it is not very effective and is usually not the best way to handle discipline. Since we started using Love & Logic, I have seen a great deal of improvement in our daughter's behavior. She was adopted as a newborn, but was exposed to drugs in-utero and is sort of hyper-irritable and somewhat hyperactive. (cont)

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 9:33 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • (cont) On the first page of the article, I saw several things in that scenario with Karen and Russell that I would not have done. First, I try not to let my kids see that they are rattling me, and I try to remember to give choices using thinking words instead of making threats. Instead of saying "stop that or you will go to your room!", I might say "you can stay out here if you will be nice, or you can go to bedroom time if you choose to keep doing that". I would not have grabbed the kid by the arm like she did. That would be especially inappropriate for a kid that has been abused.

    Even though the article was geared toward families who adopted older children who had suffered previous trauma, I thought that there was a lot of useful information. Thanks for the link, DBF!

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 9:36 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • I also look at the fact that his bio mom experienced forms of violence and I want to end that cycle. I also was spoken to abusively by my parents. They did not spank me but their yelling, their words and put downs, the inappropriate punishments still mounted up to abuse. So I parent based on my child's needs and my knowledge about how parenting has it's own set of consquences. One consequence for my parents is they are not part of my life right now. I know this much is true - if I do not consider the needs of my child now he will grow up to not care about mine.

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:48 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • Also like love and logic. I first heard of it while co therapist in a court ordered parenting group. Since then I really try to use it and AP style together. Some wonder how the two go together - but they can be done.

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:53 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

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