Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | June 14, 2013

When One Parent Is Rejected

Lately, we’ve heard from several families who have told us about their struggles with one parent being rejected by their adopted child while the other parent seems to receive all of the child’s love and attachment.  This is a very difficult thing for any parent to handle and can bring about questions such as, “Is there something wrong with me?  “Did I do something wrong to upset this child?”  “Will my child ever accept me as his parent?” 

Adoptive Families magazine released an article entitled, “When One Parent Is Rejected.”  This article focuses on the rejection from a newly adopted toddler between the ages of one and three.  The author writes how it is often the mother who is the parent to be rejected.  There are several reasons for this.  If the child has had a positive, warm relationship with a previous female caregiver, they may reject the mother in order to protect that past relationship.  Another possibility is that children who have not had a positive caregiver relationship in the past may put up a wall of rejection as a means of self-defense whenever love and affection is shown to them.  This is sometimes a child’s only known way of coping and protecting themselves.  A child may also fear a particular parent because their voice or something else about them may remind them of a previous unkind caregiver.

There are several steps that can be taken in order to teach a child that the parent they are rejecting can be trusted:

1) Get support from your spouse. 

2) Earn your child’s trust. This is done by meeting the child’s needs on demand, constantly being there for them, etc.

3) Feeding is key. Take opportunities to feed your child, and utilize physical touch, rocking, etc. to develop stronger attachment.

4) Maintain calm. Keep your voice calm, steady, and positive, rather than angry and defensive.

5) Try holding the child.

6) Be patient. Punishment or ignoring the child will not help in this situation.  Keep trying, and keep showing your child that you love them no matter what.  It may take time, but your child will eventually accept you as their beloved parent. 

Here is the link to the article if you are interested in reading more:



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