Overview on Adopted Child Syndrome

Adopted Children Syndrome is a somewhat controversial. This syndrome was studied, developed and named by psychologist Dr. David Kirschner. In about 10 percent of adopted children there appears to be a very clear pattern of problems. The child has low self esteem, is very angry, displays a lack of empathy, is argumentative, has uncontrollable outbursts, and refuses to take personal responsibility for their actions.

This condition is displayed more often in homes where there is not full disclosure of the adoption. In some cases adoptive parents over compensate with material things instead of talking about the adoption. They feel like they must “make up” for the fact the child was adopted. In the long run, this is harmful for the psychological and emotional health of the child.

In the cases of Adopted Child Syndrome the child does not develop an adequate conscience. The child struggles with the theory of good and evil. There is a not a clear understanding between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. There are issues with loyalty and they somehow know that their family situation is different, even if no one talks about it. Parents who talk more openly about the adoption tend to avoid some of these problems.

The Adopted Child Syndrome has not been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. One of the reasons may be because many of the adopted children have issues before they ever arrive in their new home.

Children who lived in an institutional setting before being adopted into the family have more problems. Many of these children did not bond as babies. The symptoms used to determine Adopted Child Syndrome can also be described as Attachment Disorder.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is another common ailment in children who are adopted. The statistics do not rule out these causes.  An infant adopted with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome would fall with in the same parameters as Adopted Child Syndrome.

There does seem to be a vast difference  between children who are adopted as infants and told about the adoption and those who were adopted as infants and not told about the adoption. This would back up the theory behind Adopted Child Syndrome.

It is apparent that with so much controversy and overlap the may never be included in the DSMD list.

However they are labeled the symptoms can be extreme. This can include starting fires, truancy, extreme prejudice against authority and violence against other children and animals. These children clearly need help of some kind.

The most common treatment for Adopted Child Syndrome is openly telling the child about the adoption and encouraging investigating their heritage. Allowing a professional to handle the counseling to process the information and deal with the unacceptable behaviors is highly recommended.