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Sibling Relationships Between Adopted Teens

Sibling rivalry will always be present in a home with more than one child. Adoption or not, such a practice is inevitable. But is there a special dynamic between adoptive and non-adoptive siblings?

Families everywhere are defining a new definition of—well, family. Step-siblings, half-siblings, and adoptive siblings—all are combining to reshape the family unit. Still, an adopted child may feel as though they are the outcast, regardless of whether or not they share the same race or cultural identity.

In an article titled Teens in Blended Families, it reads, “In blended families, an adopted teen might compare her story of joining the family with that of a sibling born to their parents. Regardless of order, if a teen worries that her sibling has greater "status" in the family because he or she is a biological child, that can compromise her sense of self-esteem and belonging. Does she think her birth sibling is favored? Does she think her birth sibling is more like their parents? Does she think her parents enjoy closer, easier relationships with their birth child(ren)?”

An Internal Battle

There are all-important questions that may need to be addressed, and are definitely something to be considered. It’s easy to forget, when your child is simply your child and nothing more or less in your mind, that their own mind might be seeing things in an entirely different manner. If feeling inferior to a sibling already comes naturally in many familial relationships, how much further could it go for a child who is reminded of their uniqueness physically or mentally without anyone even mentioning it? A teen could find him or herself severely critical of their own special qualities that you, as parent, very much love.

This would be an excellent way to keep a good perspective on the uniqueness of your family situation: What does each child bring to the family that is different from all the others? And how lacking would your family be without it? Highlighting these qualities and making certain to verbally and emotionally appreciate what all of your children bring to the home is an excellent way to help normal sibling rivalry stay in its pre-disposed space.