How Adopted Children Are Treated Differently Than Biological Kids

Parents treat adopted children differently than biological children, according to the comments on this article and research on adoption! Parenting styles, methods of discipline, and even mealtimes are different for adopted children.

“[When you’re adopted], you suddenly have twice as many people to blame for all your problems.” – Alison Larkin – an adoptee and author.

Hopefully you’re past the point of blaming other people for your problems! Below is a summary of research on adoptive and biological children, and how they’re treated by their parents…

Research shows that adoptive parents treat their children differently than biological parents do, in numerous ways. Parenting methods, styles of discipline, the amount of time spent together, and even meals as a family are different depending on whether the kids are adopted or biological.

That said, remember that the results of one study don’t indicate that all adoptive parents invest more or treat their kids better than all biological parents.

Traditional Thoughts on Adoptive Parents and Children

Most current legal and academic arguments state that children are best off with their biological parents. Evolutionary psychologists argue that parents dote on biological children more than their adoptive children; it’s about ensuring your genes survive long after you do and making your mark on the planet in a healthy and socially acceptable way.

Current Research on Adopting Children

However, a recent study conducted by sociologists at Indiana University at Bloomington and the University of Connecticut revealed that adoptive parents invest more time and money on their adopted children than do biological parents. Two-parent adoptive couples read and talk to their kids more. They discuss problems and are more likely to eat meals together.

These findings make sense on several levels. Adoptive parents are generally older and wealthier than biological parents, so they have more resources to invest in adopting a child when they can’t get pregnant. They presumably can’t or choose not to have their own biological children and may perceive their adopted kids as rare and precious gifts. The adoptive parents feel so blessed with their children and wanted them so badly in the first place that they treat them exceptionally well.

Adoptive parents may also have strong innate or learned tendencies to nurture a family – that’s why they pursue adoption – and this makes them more motivated to spend time with their children. After all, they endured the lengthy, expensive, and energy-draining procedures that occur before and after adoption. They filled out paperwork, provided references, underwent interviews, and invested hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the process. Some even flew halfway around the world to appear in court and do battle in foreign justice systems.

Perhaps people who want kids that bad are predisposed to invest more of everything in their children.

What this Means to Same-Sex Couples

The results of this study could affect how often and easy it is for same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. A contemporary argument against same-sex marriage is that biological children are better off with their biological parents. This may no longer be the case (if it ever was).

According to Professor Brian Powell of the Indiana University at Bloomington, past studies didn’t include two-parent adoptive studies in their research on parental investments and interactions. Instead they just compared biological parents with stepparent households or single parents. This current study forges new paths into parenting, marriage, and raising kids – for couples of all sexes.

The study also challenges the traditional view that adoption isn’t normal and kids are better off with their natural parents. This could dramatically change how the courts and adoption facilities handle future adoptions – both in North America and overseas.

Another interesting article about adoption is If You Feel Depressed After Adopting a Baby, You’re Normal!

Do you think parents treat or even love their adopted kids differently than biological children? Comments welcome below…


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