When you are a parent, you are responsible for teaching your children many things — how to use a spoon, how to get dressed, how to brush your teeth, how to ride a bike. The list goes on. But along with teaching them hundreds of day-to-day skills, you also need to teach them social skills as well — how to use kind words, how to show compassion, how to help others. This list goes on, too.
Social skills can be more difficult to teach. As a parent, one of the biggest worries is whether or not your child is kind toward others. We often forget that children aren’t born with a built-in sense of respect for others. We have to nurture their deference for people from all different walks of life, including families who are formed through adoption.
Odds are high that your child will meet an adopted child at school, sports practices, or church at some point. Children are naturally curious, and that is fine. Parents can avoid the awkward (although innocent) questions that may pop out of their child’s mouth by teaching them how to be accepting and more understanding of different types of families.
Here are some talking points:
- Adoption is one of the many ways in which a family is made. A child is not an “adopted child”; she or he is a child, who came home to her or his family through the legal means of adoption.
- Adopted children do not always look the same as their parents. The love they have for each other makes them feel the same. They are still real families.
- Adoptive parents love their children the same way as biological parents. Because a child was placed for adoption doesn’t mean their birth parents didn’t love them. They loved their child so much that they made sure they had parents who could give them a better life than they could provide at the time.
- Being adopted is not something that is shameful or wrong. No child should be teased for being adopted. Some questions can be seen as nosey, so suggest your child ask an adult first, and they may be able to provide an answer.
- Siblings are “real” because they are part of the same family.
- Adoptive parents are “mom and dad.” The person who gave birth to a child is the birth mom.
- When in doubt, books are a fantastic resource to help explain adoption to children.