I’m very grateful that someone shared with me today a column in the Washington Post called ‘On Parenting’ by their “parenting advice” columnist, Marguerite Kelley. She appears on radio and TV, so her opinions are shared far and wide.
Her advice made me ill.
A couple wrote in about the trouble they were having with their 10-year-old adopted twins from China. Why are they so demanding? So oppositional? So emotionally immature? What are we doing wrong?
Ms. Kelley’s response? You need to be tougher with them! Don’t give in! More structure! Chores! They need to be more self-sufficient! That’ll whip these little brats into shape! Never once – NOT ONCE – does she mention the boys’ adoption, even though the parents disclose this right up front! I was absolutely stunned, though I shouldn’t have been. We got exactly the same advice about our daughter with tragic results! The comments following the online post are equally ignorant, but I don’t blame them for being ignorant. This one comment really stuck in my craw:
Dear lord the kid is TEN and still throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants and when it’s bedtime?
What is even more troubling about this column is that it appears in a publication with the reputation and reach of the Post, which implies a certain degree of gravitas on those who write for the paper. Readers assume the advice is legit.
Ms. Kelley and her followers won’t like this but I’m sharing this post to you and will comment on her page so that people like her, with no qualifications whatsoever in adoption therapies, dispense bad advice to struggling adoptive children and parents.
Here is the Washington Post link.
P.S. Sorry for all the exclamation points. I’m really mad and you should be too!
Written By John Brooks
A Washington Post “Parenting” Columnist’s Stunning Ignorance! was originally published @ Parenting and Attachment and has been syndicated with permission.
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This type of parental arrogance is the norm around the world. What’s surprising is that they haven’t already drugged those kids, which is a common step for parents who are making parenting crucial mistakes that adversely affect their children. The USA drugs millions of children daily only to pacify the parents and not to help the child(ren). Children misbehave because they are being abused, neglected, or hurt in some way. Children are not born naughty or nice. They are made that way from how they are raised and from their daily environment. Nothing makes me sicker than when a parent bad-mouths their child or blames their child for their bad behavior, but in every situation where a child isn’t perfect their parents blame the child and are incapable of looking at their own behavior for the real problem.
For instance just yesterday there was a 17-year-old in a nearby town who was busted right before completing his plan to murder his entire family and then blow up his school. A passerby saw a strange young man in a trench coat at a storage facility and reported it. The authorities found bombs, ammunition, and a journal of how the child was going to carry out the murders. But instantly everyone blames the 17-year-old and villainies him. Hello? Is there anyone out there? Is every that stupid or are they just that arrogant and ignorant? Obviously that young man has a terrible home-life and it is the parents who should be blamed and put under the microscope, but never does that happen.
Even in the Sandy Hook school shooting no one had the guts to show the truth about the sick mother that Adam Lanza was cursed with. No one talked about how she alienated him from his father after their divorce or how she was so demented she took him to shooting ranges, yet wouldn’t allow him to cook at home because she was fearful that he would hurt himself. The world made Adam Lanza out to be the monster but really he was so emotionally and mentally tortured that he saw no other way than to kill himself and others. That is clearly a parent’s fault and responsibility.
Another case in WI where a young mother dated and allowed her young child to be alone with a convicted child abuser. The convicted child abuser murdered her child but society felt so sorry for her that they never made her accountable in any way. Or what about the mothers who purposely allow pedophiles to molest their child so that they can have comfort and security? Some mothers will even allow someone to sexually abuse their child for a payment of drugs, but those mothers get no punishment whatsoever. Even Dottie Sandusky escaped any blame or punishment for actually adopting children for her husband to sexually abuse. She even heard the screams and did nothing, yet she walks away scot-free?
What is wrong with you people! It’s disgusting how children are mistreated in this country, and in this world. That’s not even touching the surface of the horrible and purposeful ignorance that adults exhibit every single day while they ignore signs of child abuse by their neighbors, co-workers, friends, relatives. No one speaks up and no one helps these poor kids. The adults in our country, specifically parents, are despicable and selfish.
How sad for the family, and for all who have adopted children from tough circumstances!!! A much better resource is “The Connected Child” by Dr. Karyn Purvis. This is an amazing book that truly is written for parents and educators to help us understand what these children have experienced and what they need from us – connection first and foremost!
The best advice I got from the article came not from the author but one of the comments:
“Both your examples center on him not taking into account timing of events. I suggest drafting a rigid schedule on a weekly basis that will show him exactly what is to be done at certain times of the day each week. Work on it with the kids and put it in a prominent spot so he always knows what to expect. He’ll handle the push-off a lot better when he sees that he’s got an hour of family play time scheduled for 5-6 in two days, and you’ve also got a reason that’s hard to argue with for your brush offs. (“It’s 5:45–if you leave for the court now, you’ll just have to come back right away for dinner at 6:00. Is that really how you want to spend Family Time?”)
If you do it right, this will also help address Marsh’s point about quality attention. If you book one or both of the parents with the kids, that is *all* you’re doing. No running in to get a quick load of dishes in while he’s retrieving the baseball, no checking your phone between rummy hands, none of that. They can get extra time with you, though, by helping you during chore time, but only on your terms.”
In my experience, very often adopted children (if they know they are adopted or suspect it) fear they will be “returned”. It’s not a logical fear. It’s an infantile, irrational fear. Life for them is extremely fearful, especially at age 10 or so when they begin to develop the cognitive abilities of conceptual thought. Having structure, as suggested in the comment, gives them assurance of what to expect in the next hour or so and the next day and the next week, etc. It reassures them. Anyway, I loved that suggestion!
In a similar vein: For me it was getting them to help around the house. I discovered a similar “eureka” moment when I constructed a chore list for my boys (adopted at age 9 and 10). They actually enjoyed checking off the items on the list! My nagging and “reminding” was replaced by a simple checklist posted on the fridge! LOL
All children like structure (even teenagers) but for adopted children its ever more important because they need the external reassurance such as a chore list as much as the emotional. You can give them both.