How To Ease The Transition Of An Abused Child

Article written by Ricci Juno and is exclusively submitted to the Children’s House International Adoptions

Adopting a child is a life changing action that is often a joyful event for both the adopter and the adoptee. Yet, it is also the case that many children who are adopted have had a traumatic past through being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. The Child Welfare Information Gateway highlights how adoptive parents may not even be certain that abuse has occurred if the child has not explicitly said so. Sometimes it is only through certain signs that they can determine that trauma has occurred. This is why today’s social workers and professionals are being trained to spot such signs as early as possible. With this, they are changing their approach to teaching child welfare and social service workers by also focusing on building a strong foundation in criminology. This will help child welfare specialists help to address abuse cases against children and be able to better inform their future parents of any such trauma and how to move forward.

If you are an adoptive parent who has discovered or been told that your child has had an abusive past, there are steps you can take to ease their transition to a safer and happier life. Here are three ways you can help your child overcome their trauma:

Encourage Your Child to Express Their Feelings

Encouraging abused children to express their feelings will not only indicate that you are willing to listen to them, but it will also make them feel that their feelings are valid, whether they are happy or sad. When you feel like they are showing signs of emotional distress like increased irritability, sit down with them and calmly ask them what’s wrong. If they’re having difficulties identifying their emotions, help your child name their feelings by giving them a label. It’s also necessary to not overreact or discredit their emotions once they’ve finished explaining. Since abused children will most likely repress their feelings to avoid confrontations, practicing this habit will allow them to develop and reinforce healthy behaviors when it comes to coping with stressful emotions.

Create a Consistent and Predictable Schedule

Studies show that familiar activities can provide comfort for children, especially during challenging and uncertain times. This is because abused children will feel more comfortable and secure when their daily activities are predictable and familiar. If they have a consistent daily routine, they can feel a sense of control over their environment, which will also guide them on what to do next after accomplishing a task. When starting this practice, remember to keep it simple. List down only the basic tasks they have to do every day before introducing new activities in their schedule. It’s also important to let your children know when a routine is different for the day. It will help them anticipate this change and not feel left out when it occurs, which can trigger anxiety.

Be Patient with Your Child and With Yourself

Heather Matthews shared how adopting has changed their lives. He recalls the memorable moments they shared, such as celebrating their daughter’s first words and seeing their son ride a bike for the first time. Although these moments have been blissful, Matthews acknowledged the struggle of adopting children. When you adopt a child, you may feel like your love and efforts are wasted because they are unable to reciprocate these feelings, especially if they have a difficult past. However, remember that children may take time to recover from emotional trauma. If they are still unable to express their feelings, always remain available and responsive to their needs and emotions. Since children experience different circumstances, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to raising children from abusive households. This is the time when you need to be patient with yourself and your children since exhibiting patience can also help them learn the importance of emotional stability.

It is never easy to adopt a child and adopting one that has suffered abuse is even more challenging. If you are in this position, we hope the above tips help you as you transition your child to a happier household.

Article written by Ricci Juno and is exclusively submitted to the Children’s House International Adoptions