Best ways to make an affective bond with the adopted or foster child

So the wait is over, and you are finally going to welcome the new member of your family at home.

Now you wonder: what are the best ways to integrate the brand-new member of the family?
It is usual for adoptive or foster parents to feel concerned about this new situation. As far as possible, we want to offer you some measures for this transition to be as friendly as possible. Keep in mind that each child is different and has a different life experience. Likewise, even if you have asked other parents regarding their adoption or fostering process, each case is different.
So, be patient, and let’s see some advice!

What to expect and what to do when first time meeting

For the first day of reception in their new home, you can prepare a gift. A present can always help to mitigate the tensions and fears that they may have.
But don’t expect, and much less demand, a show of appreciation or affection in return. Many children do not know what to say or what to do on the first day of their adoption. They will feel insecure and unwell, but seeing the strength in you will make them feel calmer.
Meeting for the first time is the first step to create a healthy and happy family but is not your only opportunity.
You’ll have plenty of time to become a united family and offer those little ones all the love, joy, and care they deserve.
In this sense, an affective bond is a crucial factor for making this happen. The bond will allow this new member to feel unconditionally accepted, loved, valued, and cared for by their new parents.

We wanted to give you these tips to establish an affective bond with the adopted or foster child. We hope they serve as a tool to generate and enhance this essential element.

How to establish a good bond with your adoptive child?

The following advice can help you create this vital bond that you want to have with the new member of the family.

Reading stories helps to create a bond

Reading children’s stories to children is an ancient and very effective strategy for parents and children to develop a harmoniously integrated relationship.

Cooking together builds trust between family members

Including children in food preparations -with tasks according to their age- is an effective way to promote trust. Incorporating children in such an elemental activity in daily family life will make them feel part of the family and make them aware of this fact.

Effective communication is vital to the functioning of the family

Eye contact is indispensable for good communication. From the moment the child is introduced at home, eye contact will make the child feel loved and accepted. Also, there must be reciprocal attitudes such as listening carefully, using the appropriate language and practicing honesty.

Recognize the value of the child’s origin

Remember that your child brings life experiences from outside of the new home. Parents must understand how important is the children’s past in their life history and how it can affect their present. It is essential to respect the reality from which the child comes.
Do not hide or deny their history!

If your children come from traumatic situations, they must know and recognize them. This is the only way they can heal from their wounds. Not knowing their background history will only hurt them. Parents should provide the help of a mental health professional for their children if necessary.

Empathy is essential

Empathy will allow a healthy bond to be born and grow between parents and children, whether in foster or adoptive families. With patience and sensitivity, parents can support the child’s adaptability to the new situation.

Keep in mind that once home, the child may not behave as you expected

 These are some of the attitudes and behaviors that the child may display as he adjusts to his new home and you may find difficult:

  • Lack of self-control.
  • Need to satisfy their wishes immediately.
  • Short memory
  • Tendency to repress their feelings.
  • Low tolerance to frustration.
  • Difficulty in accepting no for an answer.
  • Difficulty in tolerating criticism.
  • Unusual detachment from objects.
  • The tendency not to perceive risks and constantly put themselves in danger.
  • Extremely sensitive or extremely cold.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Indifference to lies or aggression.
  • Little sense of humor.
  • Need to be the center of attention.

All these behaviors are expected, and if you are aware of them, you can be better prepared to face any situation generated from them.

Learn how to face as a parent the experience of abandonment that the child has suffered

 When children are newly adopted, the family experiences moments of total happiness. Shortly after, this can change as some children think they are going to be abandoned again. Then the challenging actions and difficulties begin. The child tests the parents to see if their experience of abandonment will continue to repeat itself. To successfully overcome this stage, parents must practice patience. Recognize that the child has an abrupt change in life and routine and provide support, care, and understanding. It is up to parents to embrace change without being overwhelmed. You can always use supportive words to reinforce reassurance but without denying or invalidating the child’s emotion.

For example, you can say: It is okay to feel afraid, but I will never leave you. Or also you can say something like: it is normal for you to feel that way, but you know what? You will feel better later.

Establishing a new routine

The parents must introduce the new routine gradually. In the beginning, it is to be expected some rejection by the child. As parents, it is necessary to have a lot of understanding. The child may interpret the new routine as an attack against his freedom. But as the family bond grows, it will minimize the feeling. At some point, the child will assume his new situation. Meanwhile, nothing better than communicating your affection with clarity and precision.
You can say, for example: even if you don’t do what I asked, I will not stop loving you, I will always love you, or I want the best for you, and I love you.

Remember that there is no easy family, and sometimes unexpected conflicts will arise. But the love between parents and children is the basis that allows a family to overcome any difficulty. You can always learn from any experience but go to a specialist when you feel that you cannot stabilize a situation.

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