Ask AF: Wanting to Be President

All children have dreams that parents try their best to nurture. But what if the dream — like wanting to be President — isn't actually possible for your internationally adopted child?

Q: My nine-year-old keeps on saying he wants to be the President when he grows up. How can I explain to my internationally adopted child that this is not an option for him, even in theory, without crushing his dreams?


A: Start by accenting the positive. Your child wants to contribute to his country. Ask him what he would do as President, and explore different types of jobs — from community organizer to governor — that foreign-born citizens can hold. Then offer the “bad news” matter-of-factly, and in a way that leaves open the possibility for change. “Right now, our country doesn’t allow citizens born outside the U.S. to become President. No, I don’t think that’s fair, either, but the constitution has been amended before, and it could happen again.” Give your child time to react. If he seems concerned or upset, you might add, “Perhaps this is something you would want to work toward with other adoptees. And remember, there are many ways to help govern our country.” The key is to support your son and his ambitions in the broadest sense.

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