How to Help Adopted Children Face Their Unique Challenges

Adoption is a wonderful way for a child to find a permanent, loving home and a solution for parents who cannot have kids. However, it is also fraught with complicated emotions and issues that might not be obvious on the surface. This guide should take the guesswork out of what those challenges are and how to face them with dignity and success.

Self-Esteem and Identity Issues

Most adopted children at some point in their lives feel a sense of grief and loss over the separation from their birth family. Even children who were adopted as babies may go through these emotions when they get older and better understand the situation. Older kids may grieve for the loss of siblings or other family members they remember.

Adoptive parents sometimes struggle in handling these emotions. Their adopted child may start to show signs of anger, anxiety or fear and feel like they don’t belong or don’t know where they fit in. Their self-esteem may dip as they consider the question of why their birth parents did not keep them. As they struggle with identity issues, they may lash out at their loving adoptive parents or siblings to figure it all out. They may feel rejected by certain members of the family, and this can impact their self-esteem also.

These complicated emotions can lead to guilt over hurting the feelings of their adoptive family. Now is the time for support and relying on resources outside the family to help counsel each member, so relationships within the family do not suffer.

School Challenges and Other Mental Health Challenges

Often kids are adopted from foster care after being removed from dysfunctional homes where they experienced trauma, abuse or neglect. All these factors can contribute to developmental delays and sometimes, mental health issues as well. Some other things to watch out for are anxiety, depression, ADHD, attachment disorder, substance abuse and even behavioral problems. Here are some additional resources to help adoptive parents of children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect.

If you adopted an older child who experienced some form of trauma or abuse, they should be in counseling until all of the issues are resolved. Family counseling is also strongly recommended.

Managing Post-Adoption Issues

The adoption process is a wonderful thing, but it can also cause the entire family discomfort during the adjustment period. There are plenty of post-adoption resources, clinics, counseling and even reading material that can help you process things until your child is fully integrated into your family.

  • Talk openly with your child and make yourself available to them. Be honest about their adoptions and answer any questions they may have.
  • Find out as much as you can about their history, so you know what to expect and how to help them.
  • Reach out to therapists and other resources when needed.
  • Do your best to love them and provide a stable, consistent home with boundaries and expectations.

How to Bond With Your Adoptive Child

Sometimes it takes a little while to form a parent-child bond with your adopted child. A few ways you can help the bonding process are:

Build Attachment

Connect with your child on commonalities that you share. If a baby, cuddle, hug and talk to your child a lot. Let them learn to love the sound of your voice.

Play Together

Playing together is an important way to bond with your adopted child. It also helps build social and development skills as well.

Provide Consistency

Kids crave consistency and routine. As they get used to coming home from school and seeing you, it starts to develop into a dependent and reliant relationship.

Show Them Love

Often kids who are adopted at older ages act out to see if you will “send them back.” Make sure they know you love them no matter what and you are a family for good.

Study: HPV Vaccine, Safe and Effective Against Pre-Cancer

“HPV vaccine for schoolgirls gets full marks,” reports ITV News.

Almost all cases of cervical cancer, which usually takes many years to develop, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV causes the cells in the cervix to slowly go through a series of pre-cancerous changes that can eventually turn into cancer.

The HPV vaccine helps protect against cervical cancer by preventing the cells of the cervix from changing into pre-cancerous cells.

In the UK, cervical cancer affects more than 3,000 women a year, with most cases diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 29. In 2016, 815 women died of cervical cancer. A programme began 10 years ago to vaccinate schoolgirls aged 12 to 13 against HPV.

In this latest review, researchers pooled results from 25 trials worldwide involving more than 70,000 girls and young women.

  • After looking at the evidence, the researchers reported that the HPV vaccine provides excellent protection against development of pre-cancerous cells in the cervix.
  • This review found that vaccinating girls before they have HPV works best, cutting their chances of getting pre-cancerous cells linked to the most dangerous strains, HPV16 and HPV18, by 99%.
  • Vaccinating women aged 26 and over, and those who have already been infected, also cuts their chances of pre-cancerous cells but not as dramatically.
  • The researchers found no increased risk of miscarriage or other serious adverse events in the years following vaccination.

Find out more about the HPV vaccine.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the Belgian Cancer Centre and the University of Antwerp, both in Belgium, and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in the UK as part of the worldwide Cochrane Collaboration of research. It was funded by the National Institute of Health Research, European Cancer Network, Belgian Foundation Against Cancer, IWT (a Belgian science and technology institute) and the CoheaHr Network (part of the European Commission).

It was published by the Cochrane Collaboration and is free to read online.

The UK media celebrated the news that the vaccine is safe and works well, with ITV News asking: “Is it now time for boys to get it too?”

Boys are currently not routinely offered the vaccine, although some people have pressed for the programme to be extended. While boys do not get cervical cancer, they can pass HPV on to unvaccinated girls. The virus can also cause less common cancers of the throat, anus and penis.

What kind of research was this?

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. This is the best way to find out whether a treatment works.

Carrying out a meta-analysis means researchers can pool evidence from smaller trials to come up with a more reliable result.

What did the research involve?

Researchers looked for randomised controlled trials that compared the HPV vaccine with a dummy vaccine (placebo) and measured how many girls or young women had pre-cancerous cells (called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) at grade 2 or above.

They also wanted to assess the vaccine’s effectiveness against the most dangerous strains, HPV16 and HPV18, which are thought to cause around 70% of all cervical cancers. The UK vaccination programme protects against both.

The 26 studies included 73,428 girls and women, mostly aged 15 to 26, with follow-up periods from 0.5 to 8 years. The researchers looked separately at results for:

  • girls or women who had no HPV infection when vaccinated
  • women aged over 26
  • the 2 different types of HPV vaccine, which protect against different strains

As well as looking for evidence of pre-cancerous cells, they checked for differences in rates of serious adverse events and pregnancy outcomes between women given the HPV vaccine and women given a placebo.

Unfortunately, results for cervical cancer were not available.

All the studies were assessed for risk of bias and, while all but one were funded by the vaccine manufacturers, the review’s authors said most of the trials were at low risk of bias.

What were the basic results?

Results were clearest for girls and young women who had not been infected with HPV at the time they were vaccinated. These findings are likely to be the most relevant for girls in the UK, who receive the vaccine at an age where they are unlikely to have come into contact with HPV.

For non-infected girls and women:

  • chances of having pre-cancerous cells (CIN grade 2) linked to HPV16 or HPV18 reduced from 164 per 10,000 to 2 per 10,000 – a reduction in relative risk (RR) of 99% (RR 0.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.00 to 0.05)
  • chances of having higher-grade pre-cancerous cells (CIN grade 3) linked to HPV16 or HPV18 reduced from 70 per 10,000 to 0 per 10,000 – a reduction in risk of 99% (RR 0.01, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.10)
  • chances of having pre-cancerous cells (CIN grade 2) linked to any strain of HPV reduced from 287 per 10,000 to 106 per 10,000 – a reduction in risk of 63% (RR 0.37, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.55)
  • chances of having higher-grade pre-cancerous cells (CIN grade 3) linked to any strain of HPV reduced from 109 per 10,000 to 23 per 10,000 – a reduction in risk of 79% (RR 0.21, 95% CI 0.04 to 1.10)

The rate of deaths was similar among vaccinated and non-vaccinated women – 11 per 10,000 in the control group and 14 per 10,000 in the vaccine group – and no deaths were linked to the vaccine.

The HPV vaccine did not increase the risk of miscarriage or pregnancy termination. However, there was not enough information to be sure about the risks of stillbirth or babies born with malformations.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers said: “There is high-quality evidence that HPV vaccines protect against cervical pre-cancer in adolescent girls and women who are vaccinated between 15 and 26 years of age.”

They added that “protection is lower” when women are already infected with HPV at the time of vaccination.


This review provides reassurance for women and girls who have received the HPV vaccine, and for parents of girls due to receive it.

It found the vaccine does a good job of protecting against the most dangerous strains of HPV, which are passed on through sex and skin-to-skin contact of the genital areas.

The majority of the trials included in the review involved girls and women aged 15 to 26, which is slightly older than those vaccinated in the UK programme.

However, what made the key difference for the vaccine’s effectiveness was whether or not women already had HPV when they were vaccinated. By vaccinating girls at age 12 to 13, the chances of them being already infected are lower, which should increase the effectiveness of the vaccination programme.

HPV vaccination has been shown in this study to reduce the chances of women getting pre-cancerous cells in the cervix, but we need to see longer-term results to be sure this translates into a reduced chance of cervical cancer.

Most young women aged 14 to 25 in the UK should now have received the vaccine, meaning rates of cervical cancer may drop in the coming decades. In the meantime, women should continue to attend screening appointments for cervical cancer when invited.

Find out more about the HPV vaccine.

Analysis by Bazian
Edited by NHS Choices



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Child Health & Safety News 7/16: US Opposes Breastfeeding

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: The Safest and Most Dangerous States for Kids Online

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

  • Child Health Protection Act just the the start of healthier food environments for kids 2018-7-15
  • US Says Breast Isn’t Best, Angers Moms & Docs Alike 2018-7-15
  • Developmentally Appropriate Toys and Things to Avoid – Toddler Health 2018-7-14
  • The billion-dollar industry of detaining immigrant kids from $74.5M in 2007 to $958M in 2017 and rising 2018-7-14
  • The 10 golden rules of air travel for families 2018-7-13
  • The World of Child Immigration and What We Can Do to Help 2018-7-13

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
U.S. Attempts to Block Resolution Endorsing Breast-Feeding – Stuns World Health Officials

  • Does Your Student Need A Campus Health Insurance Plan? 2018-7-13
  • Speech Milestones for Toddlers 2018-7-12
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta opens first out-patient, non-emergency medical center 2018-7-12
  • Man gives out gun locks to residents after child’s accidental shooting 2018-7-12
  • Einstein Your Thinking and Keep Your Child Safe Around Water Thurs Time Capsule – 07/11 2018-7-11
  • Primary Children’s Hospital to give out free Baby Safety Snaps – a visual reminder that baby is in car seat 2018-7-11
  • Tips For Choosing The Best Preschool TV Shows From A Children’s Show Creator 2018-7-11
  • How to Plan Activities That Keep Babies & Toddlers On The Move 2018-7-11
  • How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Sleepover 2018-7-11
  • Constable Care Child Safety Foundation launches world-first road safety app for kids featuring real-life situations for W. Australia students 2018-7-10
  • Smart technology to remind parents a child is in the back seat – 4 different options tested and compared 2018-7-09
  • Summer and Beyond: How to Get Your Special Needs Child To Read 2018-7-09
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp are Sensory Friendly Tomorrow Night at AMC 2018-7-09

8 Ways to Boost Our Kids’ Social-Emotional Skills

Teaching children social-emotional skills is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. After all, few skills increase their confidence, social competence, empathy, resilience, and self-esteem more because kids need them in every area of their lives. So what’s the problem? It’s this: today’s teens would rather text than talk. Girls spend (on average) more time on social networking than boys and send more texts – about 100 a day.

Common Sense Media surveys also show that the average eight-to 17 year old is plugged into some kind of digital device at least 7 and a half hours a day. And you don’t learn social-emotional skills by facing screens.

The single predictor of healthy emotional interactions is lots of face to face communication. [Clifford Nass] Kids who spend more time interacting via a screen than in person do not get sufficient practice in observing and experiencing true emotions and developing crucial offline skills of social and emotional intelligence. What’s more, face to face communication is the best way to help our children develop empathy. Without those skills our kids are less equipped to successfully navigate their social world. Do make sure you are striking the balance of unplugged vs. plugged in times in your home. Ensure that you have sacred, unplugged family times so you can all enjoy one another in REAL time!

We also know that many kids have difficulty reading emotions. Duke and UCLA are just two of the many universities researching ways to help children diagnosed with communication handicaps.

The good news is that you can improve your child’s communication skills and boost his or her emotional intelligence. Here are eight simple ways to tune up our kids’ social emotional intelligence so they learn to communicate face to face and reap the joy of real (not virtual) relationships.

1. Listen more attentively

Attentive listening keeps the lines of communication open so that your children always feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences with you. You discourage your kids from expressing themselves when you cut them off, deny their feelings, lecture, order them, roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, raise your eyebrows, frown, turn away, or shake your head. (Woah, eh? Not to send you a guilt trip but… do tune into your communication skills a bit closer, and beware of how influential you are).

2. Help your children send and receive nonverbal messages

Sending and receiving nonverbal messages through body language enhances your child’s social and emotional competence. Often kids don’t listen to your words as much as they watch your posture, gestures, and facial expression, and hear the tone of your voice. Help children understand that their body posture, facial expression, and voice tone send messages and that if they don’t interpret or send nonverbal messages correctly, serious misunderstandings occur.

3. Teach two critical skills-eyes contact and smiling

Using the skills of eye contact and smiling increases children’s social success. As you talk with your child, use eye contact. Whenever your child displays a great smile, point it out! By reinforcing these skills and modeling them regularly, your child will soon be smiling more and using eye contact.

Hint: Eye contact (or looking at the person) and smiles are the two skills that are also the most commonly used traits of well-liked kids. They are also easy to teach and reinforce. Point them out in others!

4. Make an emotion scrapbook

Collect pictures of facial expression in a scrapbook. Include the six basic emotions: happy, sad, angry, surprised, afraid, and disgusted. Now make a game of naming the emotions by asking, “How is this person feeling?” Help your child predict the body language and voice tone that would accompany each expression.

5. Guess people’s emotions

With your child, watch other people’s faces and body language at the playgound, park, or shopping mall. Try together to guess their emotional states.

The best way to teach social skills is by SHOWING a child what each skill looks like in real context. So SHOW the skill, don’t just TELL your child about it. Do also help your child understand the value or benefit of learning the skill. (“It will help you get a job.” “It helps you make more friends.” “Teachers like it when you look at them as you talk.” “People like to be around others who make them feel valued.”)

6. Watch silent movies

Turn off the sound on your TV and watch a show together. Guess how the actors feel based on what you see. Don’t assume that your child is picking up the subtle clues of body language. Point them out. Role play them together.

Tension behaviors to watch for include blinking eyes rapidly, biting nails, twirling hair, clenching jaws, and grinding teeth. Withdrawal behavior include folded arms, crossed legs, rolling eyes, and not facing the speaker. Expressions of interest include nodding, smiling, leaning into the speaker and standing or sitting close to the person.

7. Play emotion charades

A fun game is to have family members play charades using only their face and body. Try to guess the person’s emotion.

8. Observe good listening behaviors

Be on the alert for people demonstrating good listening habits; point them out to your child. The better your child understands what good nonverbal listening behaviors look like, the greater the chance he will use them on his own.

Learning these skills takes practice. At home, provide opportunities for your child to practice a wide range of communication skills, enabling her to get her point across more confidently in the real world. Just remember: it’s never too early–or too late–to enhance communication skills nor social-emotional competencies. The key is make sure face-to-face interactions become part of our daily lives.




UnSelfie 140x210Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy—along with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome—so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, it hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem-solve—all must-have skills for the global economy. The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want activate our children’s hearts and shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours. It’s time to include “empathy” in our parenting and teaching! UnSelfie is AVAILABLE NOW at

The World of Child Immigration and What We Can Do to Help

A Brief Introduction

About 10 weeks ago the Trump administration implemented a new immigration policy. All immigrants crossing the border illegally, even if they were seeking political asylum would now be prosecuted as criminals and their children would be taken from them. There were even a number of immigrant asylum seekers who followed US law and presented themselves properly at legal border crossings and still found themselves being treated as criminals and subjected to the same new immigration policy which separated them from their children. Roughly 3,000 children have since been separated from their families.

After a massive public outcry, Trump signed an executive order that stopped the separation. However, it did nothing to reunite the families already split and ensures the continued detention and prosecution of all people attempting to cross the border, children included.

A judge has ordered that all of the children be reunited with their families by the end of July, a deadline which the White House has already requested be extended. As the struggle continues to try and undo some of the horrors of the last few months, information and calls to action continue to flow through communities.

The Facts:

What We Can Do

Illustration by Justin Teodoro

It is natural in times like these to be so horrified by a series of events that we become paralyzed. The weight of the world can be so great that it feels like our souls are being crushed. It is at times like these that we must choose not to hide or be overcome by despair. Every one of us can make a difference.

For the children and their families:

  • Volunteer agencies* are seeking social workers, lawyers, and individuals with language skills to act as translators to help reunify these families and represent them in court.
  • Become a Child Advocate
  • Foster an immigrant child while they wait to be reunited with their families and work through immigration procedures
  • Donate to any of the numerous organizations that have mobilized to support Asylum Seekers and Immigrants

For our future:

  • Educate ourselves- evils like this happen because of ignorance, it is up to us to educate ourselves about our history and our country’s policies so that we know what kind of future we are trying to create
  • Talk to each other- we can feel so alone at times like these, but acting as a community will give us the support we need and make us more effective
  • Be brave

For ourselves:

  • Breathe- take a minute to breathe and touch base with yourself mentally and physically. There is a lot going on and we need rest. Even if it’s just a moment’s.
  • Take breaks– from the news, from social media, from conversations about politics and the state of society. If we don’t take breaks we can become overwhelmed and may struggle with depression or anxiety.
  • Be willing to grow- this goes with “educate ourselves.” As we learn new things our past assumptions about the world are challenged. It can be frightening, we may feel threatened, both are perfectly natural responses. Try to accept the new information anyway.
  • Talk to people about what you feel

The United States can be better than this, but we have to choose to be.

*Individuals are not allowed to volunteer at the detention facilities themselves, so it is best to find an agency to help.

How to Plan Activities That Keep Babies & Toddlers On The Move

Ways to get your baby moving

  • Lay your baby down on their back so they can kick their legs.
  • Pulling, pushing, grasping and playing with other people are great ways to practise different kinds of movements.
  • Once your baby has started crawling, let them crawl around the floor, but make sure it’s safe first – see our crawling safety checklist.
  • Playing outdoors helps your baby learn about their surroundings.
  • You can take your baby swimming from a very young age – there’s no need to wait until they’ve been vaccinated.

See Start4Life for more activity tips for babies.

Why tummy time is important

Tummy time helps to build the muscles your baby needs for sitting and crawling. You can start doing tummy time from birth by lying your baby on your chest – but only do this when you’re wide awake and unlikely to fall asleep.

Little and often is best to begin with. Gradually increase the amount of time you do this day by day. Then, when your baby is ready, try doing tummy time on the floor. If your baby has difficulty lifting their head, you can roll up a towel and put it under their armpits. Put some toys nearby for them to reach out to.

Only do tummy time when your baby is awake and alert, and you’re there to keep an eye on them.

Baby bouncers, walkers and seats

It’s important that your baby doesn’t spend too much time in:

  • baby walkers or bouncers – these encourage babies to stand on their tiptoes and can delay walking if your baby uses them a lot
  • baby carriers and seats – long periods in reclining carriers or seats, or seats that prop your baby in a sitting position, can delay your baby’s ability to sit up on their own

If you do use a baby walker, bouncer or seat, it’s best to use them for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Physical activity for toddlers

Once your child is walking, they should be physically active for at least 180 minutes (three hours) a day, spread throughout the day.

  • Let your toddler walk with you rather than always using the buggy.
  • Toddlers and young children love going to the park, where they can climb and swing or just run around.
  • Toys your child can pick up and move around will help improve their co-ordination and develop the muscles in their arms and hands.
  • Involve your toddler in household tasks like unpacking shopping, tidying or sorting washing.
  • Teach your child songs with actions and encourage them to dance to music.

Watching TV or using a tablet for long periods – or being strapped into a buggy, car seat or highchair – isn’t good for young children.

If you need to make a long car journey, consider taking a break and getting your child out of their seat for a bit.

See physical activity guidelines for children under five.

Enjoy being active together

It’s good to join in with your child’s active play when you can. Have fun showing them how to do new things like running and hopping. Being active together shows your child that activity is enjoyable.

You’re a role model for your child so stay active yourself and try to meet the physical activity guidelines for adults.

There may be activities for parents and children at your local leisure centre or Sure Start Children’s Centre.

Activity for young children with a disability

All babies and young children need to be active, including children with a long-term condition or disability, unless their health professionals give you different advice.

Just like other children, they will enjoy being active and it will help their development. You may need to adapt some activities to suit your child.

Scope has ideas for games all children can play, and the Contact a Family advice service** offers information on caring for a disabled child (in the UK).

Coping with a very active toddler

It can be exhausting keeping up with a toddler who is always on the go. It may help if you:

  • keep to a daily routine – routine can help if your child is restless or difficult; it can also help you stay calm and cope with the strain
  • dedicate time to your child – make sure there are times each day when you give them your full attention
  • avoid difficult situations – for example, keep shopping trips short
  • try to go out every day – go to a park, playground or other safe, open space where your child can run around and use up energy
  • set small goals – help your child to sit still and concentrate for a very short time, perhaps on a book or new toy, then gradually build it up

Does my child have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

At times you may wonder if your non-stop toddler has ADHD. But only about 2% of children in the UK have ADHD**. It’s more likely that your child is just a healthy, energetic toddler.

If you’re worried about how active your child is, talk to your health visitor (*nurse specialist/midwife) or GP (*physician).

Learn more about ADHD or visit ADDISS: National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service.

Editor’s Note:

* Clarification Provided for our U.S. Readers

** US Reference Information:

  • The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says that 5 percent of American children have ADHD. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number at more than double that. The CDC says that 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, had the attention disorder as of 2011.
  • UNICEF-USA is a charity that helps to protect US children and support children with disabilities

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