Parenting Script Work

Adoptive parents’ own life scripts can also have an influence on how they respond to the child’s trauma and extreme behaviours and many suffer from secondary trauma i.e. the child’s experience will trigger unhealthy responses which are rooted in parents’ own past e.g. being rejected, not being heard or seen in their own family, infertility as loss and recurrent dashed hopes, a ‘never good enough’ script, fear of failure, a wish to rescue the vulnerable child.

I think of all these scripts, experiences and beliefs as ‘narratives” which shape and are shaped by new experiences and attachments. The way adoptive parents make sense of themselves as parents and carers through particular ‘self-narratives’ or ‘family scripts’ is crucially important in defining their identity and role and in gaining a sense of competence and confidence in their parenting. This might also relate to their own upbringing and how they are trying to replicate or change their ‘parenting scripts’ in relation to their own parents.

The key aim of Parenting Scripts work is to explore some key features of the parent-child relationship e.g. safety, emotional warmth, boundaries, communication, protection, comforting, by making links between the past (with their own parents) and the present (with their adoptive children).