IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THE RELATIONSHIPS
Relationships between adolescents and their parents frequently are characterized by conflict and disharmony. The character of such relationships may be characterized by even greater turmoil when the child is adopted (Nickman, 1985, pp. 365-398). Among a sample of 90 adolescents (aged 14-to-21 years old), Lahti (1993, pp. 67-74) found the 18.9 percent of the adolescent subjects suffered for problems at a neurotic level, and that an additional 13.3 percent of the subjects suffered from more severe disorders. Lahti, 1993, pp. 67-74) found further that approximately 45 percent of the adoptive fathers and one-third of the adoptive mothers of the adolescent subjects suffered from problems at a neurotic level.
The high levels of disharmony in relationships within families that included adopted adolescents reflect the unmet needs of these families--both the adopted adolescents and the adoptive parents. This research presents a group process proposal designed to meet these needs.
The problems involved in disharmonious relationships between adopted adolescents and their adoptive parents frequently are complex in character. A failure by adolescents, parents, and social support professionals to both recognize and support existing bonds during periods of family stress represents an important unmet need of families that include adopted adolescents (Nickman and Lewis, 1994, pp. 753-755). A failure of both adoptive parents and social support professionals to provide appropriate psychotherapy for both the adopted adolescents and the adoptive parents reflects a second unmet need of families that included adopted adolescents.
The problems experienced by adopted adolescents frequently are linked to the adoptive child syndrome (ACS), which is a cluster of emotions and traits (Lifton, 1990, pp. 85-91). The development of ACS has been linked to the character of the adoption system in the United S...