Before we adopted, we had three biological boys. We had been through the sleepless infant nights, the terrible twos, the horrible threes, the first day of school, the playground squabbles and found ourselves knee deep in the preteen years, close to entering the dreaded teen years. So why did things with her feel so different?

Was it because she was a girl?

Was it because she was adopted?

Was it because we were older parents and not as anal about things as we used to be?

Probably a mixture of all three in one way or another.

I couldn’t totally pinpoint it through. All I knew was that I felt too gentle with her discipline. Things we would have never allowed our sons to do, we allowed our daughter. Behavior that would have been stopped early on, became daily occurrences. Something had to change. I had to change.

We could no longer excuse our behavior with the “She’s still little” or “She’s our baby girl.” We had to step in and gently, lovingly, put boundaries into place.

This made me closely look and see what did make us parent her so differently. My husband frequently would say, “But she’s our little girl. She’s just a baby. You’ll hurt her feelings.” But honestly, I was just as guilty. And so were our sons. No one wanted to hurt the baby!

Thankfully, as the years passed from her second birthday to now her fifth, we have gotten better. And more consistent. Which is really all she ever wanted. She wanted to know we were paying attention, not being permissive. She wanted to know she could count on us, not completely on herself, and she wanted to know we would be there. To cheer her on, pick her up, and to tell her no.

Make no mistake, that tiny girl still rules our roost. But she also gets reprimanded from time to time. And her brothers jump in when they feel she is doing wrong. And our sweet baby continues to be sassy and test the limits. Just to remind us that she is one of the kids. Adopted or not.


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