Q&A: Adopted Daughter Behaving Younger Than She Is

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blockquote_bgMy question is about my adopted Russian daughter, now 12 but adopted at 2, with issues regarding social interaction as she was always behaving about 3 or 4 years younger than her peers. Now she is in middle school and getting more withdrawn and ostracized by peers. These seem to be developmental problems and she has been in after school social ed. programs and I want to get her expert help and not sure where to turn.

I would suggest having your daughter evaluated by a child psychologist in order to determine if there are any underlying developmental reasons for her difficulties with social interaction. Middle school is a very tough time for any child, and social skills and making friends are very important, so the sooner she can get help in this area the better. I would encourage you to involve her in group activities like sports, dance or karate to build her self-esteem and self confidence. Meet with her teacher and see if opportunities can be created in her classes at school for a peer mentor or buddy who can help her out socially without it being obvious to others.

Most schools have anti-bullying policies in place these days, but kids are kids and we know how tough they can be. Role play at home with her, creating scenarios where you act as another child and teach her what to say and do in order to start conversations or join in activities with peers…also role playing what to say and do in the event of bullying also helps. I cannot recommend any therapist’s personally, but this is a link I found for a therapist with expertise in child-family relationships in your area.