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The Wall


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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.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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The Wall

  1. 1. The Wall
  2. 2. The Wall 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 development. The Wall is based on an exercise from our parenting programme, Parenting Our Children.
  3. 3. 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...
  4. 4. By the age of two, new social and developmental needs become evident...
  5. 5. When our needs are met, development and a sense of self are encouraged.
  6. 6. The wall of a healthy child may look like this.
  7. 7. 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 families 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?
  8. 8. A neglected child would have rarely or never been cuddled
  9. 9. Their milk might have been infrequent or inconsistent
  10. 10. They may have received little or no parental stimulation
  11. 11. Their parents would not have attuned with them
  12. 12. Because of this, they might struggle to make friends
  13. 13. Their play would be unsupervised
  14. 14. They struggle to feel part of a family unit
  15. 15. An abused child might play in an unhealthy way
  16. 16. They may not receive encouragement, or even believe the encouragement they do get
  17. 17. They may struggle to trust others
  18. 18. They might experience no or few boundaries on their behaviour
  19. 19. All this can cause problems at school
  20. 20. They can fear being left alone
  21. 21. Even though their birth family may love them dearly, the expression of that love might be infrequent or even unhealthy
  22. 22. 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 families. Their average age at adoption will be just over 4 years old.
  23. 23. 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 to find out more about our work and how you can support us.