THE POUT has descended.
Are you an adoptive parent? Then you KNOW what I am talking about. I don't think I've ever met an adoptive parent who has not encountered THE POUT.
For those of you unfamiliar with THE POUT, let me attempt to describe it.
What THE POUT looks like:
Child presents with mouth firmly shut with lower lip protruding. Often, arms are crossed. Head, may be down on tabletop or cocked to the side. Eyes emitting either look of death at parent, or oddly vacant with zero eye contact. In younger children, tummy may be pushed forward. In tween, hands on hips, hips forward, or arms crossed, hips forward. Feet are firmly planted to the floor.
Child's expectation of how adoptive parent should or should not respond to their desire (desire may be spoken or unspoken) has not been met in part, or in full.
What THE POUT is meant to communicate:
You brought me all the way from _________ (fill in country of origin) for THIS?
Psychological effect on the adoptive parent:
Irritability, helplessness, loss of rationality. THE POUT may cause all prior adoption training to go out the window.
During seasons of chronic POUTing, primary caregiver must take regular breaks for times of refreshment with whatever fills you up, i.e., coffee with friends, exercise, Bible study. It also helps if you can find the humor in the midst of a particularly potent POUT. Find a friend who knows the POUT and can talk you down. You may not want to hear this, but if you take the time to find out what is fueling THE POUT, you will, in time, eliminate THE POUT. Remember, there is more to THE POUT than meets the eye. It represents something- grief, loss of control, fear, etc. Good news- THE POUT is NOT fatal to child or parent (though at times it feels like it might be!).