For older children brought into a household through adoption, parenting will definitely involve the need for the “adults” to assert their parental authority over their children. For one, though parents may not actually have to put terms of residence in writing, they still should agree on an established set of rules that are consistent over time and between spouses. An adoptee should not be able to automatically go to Mom when Dad denies a request.
Adoptive parents should also make clear that a violation of the law of the house will be met with consequences. Certainly, children should not be punished out of malice or with undue force, but any punishments should nonetheless come with “teeth.” Adopters may elect to wait a few weeks after adoption finalization to institute their binding policies, but if nothing else, they can ease their children into any system gradually to make them more comfortable with this transition.
Adoption parenting often involves the need to address differences in standard procedure from one household to the next. In the absence of a long-term home before adoption finalization, meanwhile, what parents deem “bad behavior” might be natural to a child. Specifically, a child may have a relatively poor sense of physical boundaries, and as a result, may be physically aggressive and abusive to other children or might act out sexually with non-family members at an inappropriate age.
Parents may need to address these concerns perhaps earlier than they would like, but nonetheless, to prevent conflicts with other families and potentially people getting hurt, such a tact might have to be taken.
Adoption parenting is not an exercise in perfection, as no parent is perfect. Like any parent, adoptive parents should stress that their home is one in which it is OK to make mistakes. Moreover, adoptive parents should communicate the sentiment that, though they are grown-ups, they too are learning along with their children. Undoubtedly, parenting is a process.