Why do adopted children need a different kind of parenting? With the majority of children adopted from the care system coming from an abusive or neglectful background, it is unsurprising that many struggle to overcome the consequences of this difficult start to life. The Wall illustrates how unmet physical and emotional needs early in life affect children’s later development, requiring different parenting techniques and support for adoptive parents.
Why do adopted children need a different
kind of parenting?
All children have physical and emotional needs.
How these needs are fulfilled dictates a child’s
The Wall is based on an exercise from our parenting
programme, Parenting Our Children.
Our needs start from birth, and we look to our
parents to fulfil them...
As we grow, many of these remain, but we also
develop new ones...
By the age of two, new social and developmental
needs become evident...
When our needs are met, development and a sense
of self are encouraged.
The wall of a healthy child may look like this.
Most adopted children have experienced
some level of trauma.
This may have been caused by abuse or neglect in
their early lives.
They will have been separated from their birth
They will have spent time in the care system,
sometimes with more than one carer.
All this will have had an effect on their development
and their ability to attach to their new parents.
How might their wall look?
A neglected child would have rarely or never
Their milk might have been infrequent or
They may have received little or no parental
Their parents would not have attuned with
Because of this, they might struggle to make
Even though their birth family may love them dearly,
the expression of that love might be infrequent or
There are over seventy thousand children in
the UK care system at any one time.
Many will return home and their birth families will be
supported to care and parent them.
Many will stay in foster care or other types of placement.
But about 5% of those children will be placed for adoption
because it is not possible for them to return to their birth
Their average age at adoption will be just
over 4 years old.
The lives of adopted children in their new families
are affected by the hurt and loss in their past lives
We are the leading charity providing support, awareness and
understanding for those parenting or supporting children
who cannot live with their birth parents.
Call our Helpline if you and your family need support:
0844 848 7900 (Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm)
Visit www.adoptionuk.org to find out more about
our work and how you can support us.