Growing Up Adopted - Parenting Through Developmental Ages & Stages


As children grow, their behavior and understanding of adoption changes. Below, find parenting advice for different developmental ages and stages.

An adolescent has difficulty processing teen emotions

Talking to Teens Who Don’t Want to Talk to You

Talking to Teens Who Don’t Want to Talk to You

It's important to look for those natural, easy times when personal, tender issues can be touched upon.

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a girl who is being bullied at school

“My Child is Being Teased at School”

Sometimes school brings tough situations, like teasing, tricky assignments, and nosy questions. When should kids handle things on their own, and when should a parent step in?

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adoptive mom Sandy Burkett with her daughter as a toddler

“Are Adoptive Moms Allowed to Have a Bad Day?”

After finally realizing my dream of becoming a mother, I found what most new parents find—along with the bliss come days filled with crying, spit-up, and leaking diapers. But when I dared to vent, I was chided: “You wanted to adopt…you asked for this!”

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How to Defuse Teen Anger in Adoptees

Defusing Your Teen’s Explosive Moods

It can be easier for adopted teens to express anger than the emotions that are often behind it: vulnerability, weakness, or uncertainty. Help your adolescent deal with these complex feelings in more effective ways.

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Looking for Adoption History Using the Internet

Searching for Answers…with Google?

The Internet requires a cautious approach when teens are looking for answers about adoption.

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How should your child respond when asked adoption questions at school?

When Classmates Ask

How can you help your child answer adoption questions with confidence—and handle any queries that come your way?

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School Projects: Empowering Adoptees to Self Advocate

Stepping Back at School

As your child progresses through elementary school, she should take more responsibility for handling tricky assignments. Here's how to hand off the reins.

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Family Tree Project for Kids: Adapting for Adoptees

Exploring Family Roots at School

The family tree assignment is a perfect opportunity to answer your child's questions about adoption.

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A girl answers intrusive questions about adoption at school

How Preteens Can Answer Prying Questions at School

How to help your middle schooler cope with curious peers.

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An African-American girls plays with two dolls that reflect her race

Dolls and Toys for Our Families

We asked readers, “Have you found any dolls or other toys that reflect your child’s race and/or birth culture that you would specifically recommend?” Here are the top picks.

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Teens Alejandro and Rosanna, adopted as older children from foster care

“Letting the 13-Year-Old Drive”

How do you empower a child entering his teen years in a state of defeat, powerlessness, and utter self-disregard? You give him a key and tell him to take off!

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A picky eater shares her school lunch with a friend

Packing a School Lunch Your Picky Eater Will Devour

Picky eating is common in children—and as a parent, it’s probably driving you crazy. Here, simple strategies (like using a cookie cutter!) help make sure your child gets enough to eat.

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Teenagers developing empathy by volunteering together

Building Your Child’s Sense of Self-Worth

Families that expand their worlds to incorporate all kinds of cultures help their children develop strong racial identities.

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An adoptive mother and her teen daughter share a moment of empathy and connection

Navigating the Teen Years, Part 1: Setting “Adoption-Sensitive” Limits

As a teen, your child still needs and wants you to be a strong parent—not in a controlling fashion, but as a reliable authority in his or her life. Read on for 10 ways to establish yourself in this role.

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