As an adoptive parent, is the back to school season stressful? Are there anxieties that come up around your child in the classroom, with a new teacher and new classmates? Hopefully we can set your mind at ease and provide some advice on how to handle this time of transition.
The first strategy to cope with this time is to talk to the teacher. A simple conversation can head off any difficulties before your child even begins school. Be sensitive to the teacher’s level of experience with adopted children.
If they are experienced, then offer your help and let the teacher come to you. If they are new to the adoption scene, be gracious and help them learn and teach the class about adoption. AdoptiveFamilies.com recommends reading a book about adoption to the class. Also, give the teacher examples of questions that come up about adoption and provide easy answers.
Q: Where are Ben’s real parents?
A: Ben’s real parents are the parents who are raising him, John and Kathy, who pick him up from school each day. He also has birth parents who gave birth to him.
If your child has any challenges as a result of their time in foster care or trauma during the adoption experience, do inform the teacher. Information is power when it comes to caring for and teaching children on a daily basis.
There are sensitive ways to handle these topics without over sharing. Heart of the Matter Seminars provides a great cheat sheet on how to talk to the teacher about these issues. Make sure you address your child’s needs rather than dictating how they should be handled.
What about a newly adopted child? This situation comes with its own potential pitfalls. A child that is new to a family AND a school may have attachment issues. According to wonderbaby.org, it’s important for that child to know that parents always come back.
The transition into school may need to be a slow one to allow the child to build feelings of security and confidence that they will see their parents at the end of the day. Make sure they are reassured again and again that parents will be back and the child is coming home every day.
When yours kids are back in school, remember that the teachers are an invaluable resource. They are around children all day every day and they can pick out unusual or concerning behavior. According to Psychology Today, teachers can look for warning signs of learning disabilities or behavioral problems.
If you’ve built an open relationship with the teacher through your communication about adopted children, they’ll feel comfortable talking to you about these issues.
How have your “back to schools” been in the past? Is there anything that you are concerned about this year? Let’s catch up on Facebook!