Confidence as a Parent and Expectations of Traumatized Children

As I inch my way closer to becoming a parent, I find myself struggling with feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self confidence. For years, I’ve been listening to my friends talk about raising their children. They’re so far ahead in the game that I’m not sure how I’ll ever stack up as a new parent. I know it’s not about comparing my successes (or my children’s) to theirs, but I feel as though I’ll struggle with the unsolicited advice and explaining to those around me how raising a child who has been neglected or abused is so much different than raising a child born to you.

I will likely have lower expectations of my children then I would a biological child. For a traumatized child, even the basic acts in life can be a challenge. My expectations need to be reasonable and achievable. There simply isn’t any comparison between a child who has been adopted and one who has not. For an adopted and/or traumatized child, feeling secure in a family, managing emotions and trying to understand why “this” happened to them take up the majority of their plates. At the end of the day, there isn’t much time left over to be the star basketball player or humanitarian of the year. Making it through each day without a meltdown is a success.

I will need to learn to trust my gut. To keep my confidence as a parent high, expectations of my children reasonable, and to shut out the voices of the people around me who think they know how it should be.

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2 thoughts on “Confidence as a Parent and Expectations of Traumatized Children

  1. Thanks for your comment and congratulations and good luck in your decision to adopt! I completed my training last month and am now waiting (again) for the home study. It’s nice to know that even an experienced mom such as yourself still has the same thoughts I do. I suppose at the core we are all self criticizing.

  2. My husband and I have 4 children all by birth and our oldest is 6 and he is disabled, our next two are 5 (twins), our last is 2. I grew up in a family of 7 children, I was the second oldest. My mom did daycare. All of my cousins are much younger than me. I worked with children with autism as a young adult. In short, I have had lots of exposure to kids. My husband and I are looking into foster to adopt and as we try to move forward all of those same feelings creep up on me too. Am I a good enough mom/person to be able to handle and help a child who has been through traumatic events? Will the case workers judge my every move? Am I putting myself under a microscope? Do I have what it takes? Am I patient enough, consistent enough, compassionate and understanding? Will I have what that child needs? The questions roll through my mind as I lay in bed trying to get some sleep to conquer the next day. My point, It’s totally normal to have all of those feelings. We start our 32 hours of training next month. We are filling out the first application packet now and I AM NERVOUS and EXCITED!

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