Growing Up Adopted: Parenting Teenagers


Practical advice for parenting adopted teens, from ages 13 through 19.

an adoptive mother committed to saying yes and parenting her teenage son with positivity

Just Say “Yes” to Positive Parenting

Just Say “Yes” to Positive Parenting

If you’re parenting an oppositional child or teen, you probably say “no” a lot. You may say it so often that it’s become your default response, or you may be stuck in the perception that “no” is the healthier option. How can you bring positivity back into your parent-child relationship?

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An adopted teen looks into the distance

Your Job as Consultant and Coach

By talking through possible actions and consequences, you can help your child develop decision-making and long-range thinking skills.

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father's hand placing missing piece in wooden heart tangram puzzle, representing healing after older child adoption

“One of the Missing Pieces”

When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.

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A teen adoptee graduates from high school before going to college

3 Tasks for College-Bound Adoptees

"Going to college provides the time and distance for young adult adoptees to experiment with and sort out their own interests and self-expectations."

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Just Found Out That My Child Is Friends with His Birth Mother on Facebook

“I recently found out that my teen is friends with his birth mother on Facebook. I feel badly that I found this out by ‘snooping,’ but I am also shocked and upset that she didn’t try to contact us or the adoption agency first. What should we do?”

A teen who wants to start a birth parent search

When Teens Want to Search for Birth Parents

Part of how teens form identity is by finding ways they are alike and different from their family. They may want to search for their genetic relatives to figuring out who they are and how to emotionally put pieces in place.

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A mother and her transracially adopted teen son share a moment of empathy and connection

Navigating the Teen Years, Part 2: Maintaining Your Emotional Connection

Teens don't tend to talk with their friends about their feelings about being adopted, being teased, or other tough topics. But if you have a healthy, trusting relationship, they'll open up to you. An adoption therapist advises on maintaining an empathic connection with your teen.

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Parenting teens: a dad sits outside with his son at a picnic table

Letting Teens Take the Reins

As teen's desire more control over their lives, they want to be the decision-makers in determining contact with birth family.

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A teen boy sits and thinks about his birth father

“What Do I Tell My Teen About His Birth Father?”

Your teen will want to know more about his birth father—and his birth parents' relationship.

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An adolescent has difficulty processing teen emotions

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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