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Adoption & Sibling Rivalry

Some families are composed of both adoptive and biological children. And that can sometimes create conflict, anger, and hurt feelings. Remember, all children will find reasons to argue.

Each child in your family should understand her own origins, and those of her brothers and sisters. But no matter what her background, every youngster should be treated the same by you, your spouse, and the other siblings.

Handling Academic and Athletic Differences

Sometimes academic or athletic differences between your children can seem exaggerated because of their different origins. For instance, if your adop­tive child does not do as well in school as your biological child, their differing backgrounds can heighten any tensions that might emerge because of their re­spective school performances.

Siblings of Chronically Ill or Physically Impaired Children

Having a chronically ill or physically impaired child in the home will add to the usual stress within families. Sometimes the adoptive child may feel "different" to begin with, and if her sibling excels in ar­eas where she doesn't, she could feel that she is less than a full member of the family.

Focusing on Strengths

With all of your children—whether they are adopted or biological—look for their strengths, and focus on those as much as possible. As one mother told her child: "Yes, you are having a hard time with math right now. But I know you will be able to learn it. And there are many other things you can do that make you very special."

Kids Will Be Kids

As you raise your adopted youngster, keep in mind that adopted children are, first and foremost, children. In the same way, adoptive parents are par­ents. There is a lot of joy and satisfaction in raising children, and your rela­tionship with your adoptive child can be as deep, loving, and long-lasting as any parent-child relationship.

Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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