In western societies, any use of authority in raising a child has practically become taboo. ‘Children have rights and should not be forced to do anything’, is the underlying supposition. But many parents DO force their children to do things they don’t want to do. Sometimes they disguise it cleverly as ‘choices’, but it amounts to the same thing.
Until a child becomes an adult, society also assumes, in a very literal and legal sense, that even though they are capable of making certain choices and decisions themselves, they are not yet able to assume responsibility for the consequences.
Perhaps it would help if parents in general, and adoptive parents in particular, looked at raising a child as providing her/him with a maximum number of opportunities in order to have the maximum number of choices. We impose piano lessons so that one day our children may be able to choose to become a concert pianist rather than having to say, “I wish I’d learned piano earlier”. We force them to go to school and do their homework so that they will have a wider choice of career possibilities instead of having to take whatever they can get. We oblige them to take their medicine so that they will get better and be able to choose to go out and play rather than having to stay in bed for several days.
Our children may rebel against doing scales, complain loudly about homework, reject foul-tasting medicine, but within the context of ‘providing opportunities’, any parental imposing seems justified.
So, all you hesitant a-parents, will creating a connection between your TRA child and his/her culture of origin provide him/her with opportunities or not? (Before you answer, please see my subsequent post.)