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Nurture Vs. Nature: The Psychology of Adopted Children

Adoption can be a wonderful thing for many families to invest in. Most importantly, adoption is a great event for an adopted child who can finally enter a warm, caring, and loving home. However, there are a number of emotional and psychological variables involved that are important for new parents to understand. In many ways, some adopted children come with unique emotional and psychological issues that need to be addressed before adoption or after the adoption. These issues may be tough to grapple with because the psychology of adopted children is very complex and sensitive.iso insurance

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology (AACAP) states that 120,000 children are adopted each year in the United States. Many, but not all, of these children could come from backgrounds that are considered emotionally traumatic. These backgrounds can range from children who lost their parents to children who show the psychological effects of child abuse. In addition, living in the environment of the adoption system may make the child feel in limbo. The disconnection from loving authority figures, like parents, while the child resides within the adoption system can seriously hinder the emotional growth of the child. Because of that, many new parents may be ill-prepared for the emotional investment they need to make for the adopted child. In addition, it may be hard for clinical and child psychologists to understand why an adopted child could be displaying emotional and psychological issues. Much of this could be similar to nurture versus nature debates.

The psychology of adopted children is very complex and sensitive and it can be hard to find the root cause of some emotional issues. On the one hand, the child’s psychological issues can be the result of the fact they are put up for adoption. These children may see themselves as being abandoned by their natural parents, leading to self-esteem and emotional development issues. They also could have lost their parents due to a number of circumstances (accidental death, disease, murder, etc.), which, depending on how the parents died, can also effect the child’s emotional development. This would all compound with the grief the child would have of losing a parent or parents. On the other hand, the child needs to be psychologically prepared that they are going to be adopted by another family. The child, experiencing a time of their life within the adoption system, might become uncomfortable over the fact that someone is adopting them. This is a radical life change for them and no matter how loving the adopted parents’ intent is, the child may not be emotionally prepared for an adult or group of adults that will love and care for them. Feeling distant or rebellious may be common reactions to all of these feelings.

These issues require a child psychologist to monitor and prepare the child for an adoption. This is especially important to see what issues with the child can be overcome by therapy, medication, or other psychological treatments. This can be difficult to ascertain, however, due to the complexities around the adopted child’s psychological health. In many ways, it harkens to a nature versus nurture argument. For example, if the child is up for adoption because their parents were drug users or the parents could not take care of the child due to their own psychological issues, then the child may have tendencies built into them that are different from emotional norms. Essentially, these related issues could be a nature issue, where the child has genetic predispositions or was radically affected in utero by the actions of their natural parents. However, if the child was born in an environment where they were physically and emotionally abused, this is more of a nurture issue. Children may be distrustful, angry, defensive, and particularly emotionally distant if they were abused by their natural parents or previously adopted parents.

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