There is no fixed definition for "normal" behavior. It varies by person, time, place and situation. Challenges may crop up for your family that therapists in The Cradle’s Center for Lifelong Adoption Support (CLAS) can help you work through. We talked to Cradle post-adoption therapist Mandy Jones about some of the signs that it could be time to schedule an appointment through CLAS.
- It's never too early! Regardless of your situation, it can’t hurt to bring your child in for an evaluation. "Just like you get a checkup with a physician each year, it's important to get a mental health checkup as well," Mandy says.
- When you aren't sure how to handle something new. If your child asks questions or something comes up that you aren't prepared to deal with, it may be a good time to consult a CLAS therapist. For example, difficulties with openness, school projects like family trees, genetics projects and ethnicity fairs, or questions about birth parents and where they fit in the family web are some areas where your family might benefit from guidance.
- If behavioral issues crop up. Sometimes, attentional or regulatory issues can arise at school or at home. You may feel like traditional parenting techniques or those you’ve seen work in other families for curbing negative behaviors just don’t apply to your child. A Cradle therapist can help you develop skills that are geared for your child and family.
- When communication in the home breaks down. While disagreements, arguments and claims that parents "just don't understand" are normal in every household, when it begins to feel like too much to handle, it may be time to bring the family in for therapy. Says Mandy, “Ask yourself, ’Are more days harder than easier? Are we yelling and fighting more than anything else?’"
- For questions about race and gender. Our therapy room is a safe space for children to ask difficult or confusing questions about race or gender and confront their fears. It's also an ideal setting for parents to learn how to help their child with these issues.
- When they are reconnecting with a birth parent. Therapists can help prepare your family for reconnection, and help your child figure out what situation may be best for them. They will also help guide you throughout the process, should any additional issues arise.
- When you just need a little support. Parenting is hard, especially when parenting with the added complexity of adoption. Sometimes parents struggle when their expectations do not line up with reality, and therapy is a great space to work through that disappointment. Cradle therapists can also help you develop parenting skills and learn to navigate tricky situations.
To schedule an appointment with a CLAS therapist, please call 847-733-3225 or fill out our online form.