Ask AF: Surprise Sayings

Sometimes adopted children say hurtful things to their parents, like "I wish you weren't my mother!" Here's how you can respond in a constructive way.

Q: Lately, our eight-year-old has been saying things like “I wish you weren’t my mother” or “I wish you’d just leave,” though she always apologizes later. How should we respond when our daughter makes negative comments about adoption and our family?

 

A: I suspect that when your daughter says these things, she gets a big reaction from you. If so, you’re reinforcing this undesirable behavior. Calmly ask your daughter if there’s anything about her adoption she’d like to discuss. If she doesn’t open up, family therapy can help change negative behavior patterns between parents and children.

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