Helping with acceptance

This week we have a problem from a mum of 2 – a birth child and an adoptive child who just can’t seem to get along. Do you have any advice for Jan?

Our family is made up of myself, my husband, our birth son, and our adoptive daughter. A Problem Shared

Our son Jack is 8, and has always been a pleasant, well-mannered, relaxed, happy child. When, after some time, it became clear that another birth child wasn’t going to happen for us, we turned to adoption.

Mia has been here a year now, and is now 5. She has settled very well, and we’re lucky that at the moment she’s not showing any signs of attachment issues or anything else really. She’s a happy, playful little girl, talks about anything and everything, is a big fan of Disney princesses, enjoys school and loves affection. Mia clearly loves her big brother and attempts to play with him, share her things, placate him by letting him lead or do what he wants – she’s happy to follow as long as she spends her time with him.

Jack however just can’t seem to accept her. He was involved in every step of our adoption journey towards Mia, and had a big say in whether we had a boy or girl, what age etc, and our social worker was happy that it was a good decision for him too. He just seems to absolutely hate her, and I mean, really hate her. He is jealous of the time we spend with her and of the things we buy her (even if he gets new things too!), he even seems jealous that she has another family. He won’t share with her, won’t play with her, wants to pick fights all the time. He’s not trying to get her into trouble, more like he doesn’t seem to care that his actions will get him in trouble.

We’ve tried all sorts of things to support them building a relationship together, and we also make sure to give each child time without the other. We know it’s hard for older siblings – of any kind – to suddenly have to share their parents, but whilst we were prepared for it to be rocky with Mia, we didn’t really expect Jack to react quite this badly, for such a long time.

Is anyone else in the same or similar position? We really don’t know what else to do and our social worker is like a chocolate teapot!

One thought on “Helping with acceptance

  1. Suddenly Mummy

    I keep coming back to this, hoping that someone will have replied with some words of wisdom – sadly I am not that person! Although I am not in your situation, my (adopted) son has a similar relationship with one of the little ones I am currently fostering. It has been quite a shock to see the apple of my eye, who breezed through two years of pre-school without a single incidence of violence towards another child, react in such an unpleasant way towards a child in our own home. While I totally understand where he’s coming from, and am doing everything I can to mitigate the difficulties in our situation for him, it doesn’t take away from the exhaustion of managing that situation every day. For us, there will be a natural end when the fostering placement reaches its conclusion (or before if necessary as I could choose to end the placement early should the need arise, although I’d rather not), but for you that’s not the case. I haven’t found a solution yet, but I sympathise deeply – I hope you are getting some good self care as managing all of this must put you under enormous strain.

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