Triangulation in families can be a big road block for adoptive and foster parents. It is real. It does happen. And the good news...it can be fixed.
You and your spouse decided to become parents TOGETHER. You decided to adopt or foster TOGETHER. You started this journey as a team...as a united front.
Then the daily struggles began and being an adoptive or foster parent wasn’t feeling like you though it would. The tools you had weren't working. The questioning of your ability to be parents played over and over in your mind. Feeling alone and hopeless a lot of the time becomes overwhelming and too common.
The next thing you know you are blaming and criticizing each other. One partner often says they don’t even know the other anymore, while others report that their spouse just doesn’t get it.
Parenting a hurt child often adds a lot of stress to a marriage and many times can be the demise! You have got to stick together!
5 Ways to Stop Triangulation in Families
1. Greet Each Other First
When one parent comes home, make sure you greet each other first. A quick hello or hug BEFORE you greet your child. This shows your child that you and your spouse are a team!
2. Keep Perspective
When dealing with triangulation in families, remember that your spouse hasn't changed. While your spouse may not seem like the person he or she used to be (angry, frustrated, sad), they still are the same person. They are fighting an important, but incredibly difficult, battle. Know that many times hurt kids have a different relationship with every adult in their life. Studies are showing more and more that the adoptive or foster Primary Attachment Figure gets more of the behavioral and emotional brunt of the challenge.
3. Intentionally Parent.
Have a check in system. One parent checks in with the other before returning home to get the feel for what is going on at the moment. Start preparing to connect with the other adult so as not to allow triangulation in families to happen.
4. Move your own “stuff” so that you are not adding to the spin!
Have expectations your child can actually meet so that they can succeed. You have to do it differently.
5. Always remember to look at your “whole” child!
Don’t get caught in only “seeing” the behavior right in front of you. It's important to consider your child's emotional age as well as the impacts of trauma.
TOGETHER you can create a safe and consistent environment for your child.
TOGETHER you can commit to No MATTER WHAT and for as long as it takes!
TOGETHER you can help your child heal!
INTENTIONALLY CHOOSE, TOGETHER!
P.S. - If you'd like more strategies to stop triangulation in families and are ready to create a STRONG united front in your family, join us in CONNECT.