Adolescence is a time of significant brain development, including the growth of emotional maturity and interpersonal relationships.
It is during these teenage years that adolescents struggle to form their own self-identity and their need for independence. This is even more greatly affected by them being adopted teens, especially if they have suffered early childhood emotional trauma and/or suffer from PTSD. Parents of adopted troubled teens, or angry teens, often find themselves asking, “How can I help my adopted child with their anger?” There is professional help available to provide therapy and healing for defiant teens and their concerned parents.
Early Childhood Trauma
Adoption itself may not adversely affect brain development, but early life experiences and any early childhood trauma certainly do. Toxic substances (such as illicit drugs), neglect and abandonment, and trauma significantly affect brain development. In fact, research has determined that neural connections are affected by trauma. Neurons that originate in the lower portion of the brain stem send signals into the higher regions of the brain. If these areas are not functioning at properly, then the entire brain is damaged. The longer a child is left in a neglectful or dangerous environment, the harder it will be to stimulate brain development. This is as true for toxic substances as it is for trauma. This has been proven time and time again by doctors and scientists. However, this damage may be reversed or reduced by introducing the child to a positive and loving environment full of trustworthy adults.
Teen Independence, or Just Rejection?
How can adopted parents tell if their adopted teen is struggling with independence, or if they are actually rejecting their adoptive parents?