Ask AF: Inappropriate Affection

How do you set boundaries while developing emotional attachment with an older adoptee? The AF expert weighs in.


Q: Our seven-year-old daughter was adopted about nine months ago and is adjusting well. We wonder how to respond when she shows inappropriate affection to family members or friends. Shortly after she’s introduced, she may climb in their lap, hug them, or ask to sleep over at their house. She does not behave this way with strangers.

A: I suggest that you immediately curb your daughter’s behavior or preempt it before it begins. She needs to understand personal boundaries; she cannot do this without your intervention.

The people to whom she is showing affection should re-direct her to you, and you need to retrieve her quickly. At her age, you should be the center of her life. I think that if you interrupt her behavior, without explanation, your daughter will begin to understand quickly.

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