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How should we tell our daughter that she is an adopted child?

Q: My nine years old adopted daughter does not show affection and care towards her grandmother. Both I and my husband are working and my in-laws are taking care of her. She keeps on fighting with my mother-in-law and this leads to tension when I return home from work. I feel bad when my mother-in-law cries in front of me. I think my daughter does not like the over caring attitude of my mother-in-law. How can my daughter’s behaviour be managed? Till now, she does not know that she is an adopted child. What is the right age to break the news?

A:I would recommend that you find a suitable time to sit down with the entire family, outline problem areas after hearing both your mother-in-law and daughter and establish a few rules of conduct with the help of the entire family. This will take away the pressure from you, give a chance for sharing and collaboration to each member of the family. Please make sure that the language you use is easy and suitable for a nine year old. Critical language is unhelpful and should be avoided. Encourage members of the family to adopt a supportive and problem solving attitude.

On the second issue of disclosure about your daughter's adoption it will be necessary to again discuss the matter thoroughly with your spouse for there is no way that the reaction of the child can be predicted. If the child takes it badly it will be necessary to involve a professional. Be sure that you are honest with her and you express yourself clearly and appropriately (to her age).Be ready to answer her questions and talk to her again and again till she is able to internalise the information. Be supportive of her feelings as they come up and help her resolve them.

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