endeavors. They may experiment with bizarre identities or even proclaim their strong desire to leave the adoptive family. The steady, enduring commitment of parents to the child and adoption can yield
unimaginable healing during the turbulent years of adolescence. Remember that adolescence is chronic, but not terminal, both for you and your
Adolescence can be a difficult time for any family. Having an adolescent in the family creates a period of imbalance for all family members,
not just for the adolescent whose identity is emerging. Many parents
with adult children assure us that nothing challenged them to grow more
as individuals and as parents than mentoring their child during adolescence. While navigating the turbulent waters of parenting teens, it is easy
to forget that there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel . . . that adolescence is, fortunately, time-limited. The reward in surviving as the
parent of an adolescent (and very happily, the vast majority do), is that
survivors will experience one of the greatest joys of the life span: watching your child blossom into a young adult. The surprises and joys that
accompany this blossoming are well worth the struggles necessary to the
"pruning" and "shaping."
|1. ||What questions have been asked by your teenager about his or her adoption?
|2. ||Do you sense that your teen might be asking in nonverbal ways for more
information about his or her history? In what ways does your teen "act out"
the need to know more?|
|3. ||Do you feel you need additional information to respond appropriately to your
teen's need for information? If so, what plan do you have to get that information? How can you involve your teen or young adult in getting it?|
|4. ||What have you communicated well with your teen regarding his or her history? Where would you like to improve?|
|5. ||What are three ways you can improve communication with your adolescent?|
P. L. Benson,
A. R. Sharma, and
E. C. Roehlkepartain, Growing Up Adopted:
A Portrait of Adolescents and Their Families ( Minneapolis: Search Institute, 1994).
S. L. Smith and
J. A. Howard, "The Impact of Previous Sexual Abuse on
Children's Adjustment in Adoptive Placement" Social Work 39, no. 5 ( September 1994).