Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » How Can I Please My Adoptive Parents?

How Can I Please My Adoptive Parents?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From a young man in the U.S.: My adopted parents took me in when I was 17. I’ve always struggled mentally with a lot. From day 1 all I wanted was to please my adopted parents, mostly my dad. However, it seems like I can never do anything right in his eyes. He always complains about something. I try my best to help as much as possible, but there’s always an issue with him.

I can sense if he’s upset, and it makes the entire environment uncomfortable. Then I feel bad because I think it’s my fault. I try to apologize but it doesn’t help. He says that sensitivity makes him uncomfortable. I want a great relationship with him but it seems to me that he doesn’t. It makes me feel as if he doesn’t like me, and doesn’t want me around.

How Can I Please My Adoptive Parents?

Answered by on -


Thank you for writing. The most important thing you said in your letter is that your dad is uncomfortable with sensitivity. I have a feeling that the problem is not that he doesn’t want you around. Believe what you wrote. He doesn’t want to (or know how to) deal openly with sensitivity. He may be one of those guys who was raised to think that emotions in men should not be talked about or shown.

It’s unusual to be adopted at 17. I’m guessing your parents’ decision to adopt you was complicated but ultimately was one of love and the best of intentions. You say you came with mental struggles. Your struggles got added to the mix. It may be that your folks were not quite prepared to be parents of someone who had already been through a lot. It may be that your expectations aren’t quite in line with their’s. That doesn’t mean that the decision wasn’t wise. It does make it markedly different from an adoption when a child is under 3 years old.

My best recommendation to all of you is that you get into some family therapy for awhile. You all need help learning how to read each other accurately. You all need support in helping everyone feel the love and appreciation that is already there but not communicated as well as it could be. The fact that you wrote to us here at PsychCentral tells me that you very much want it to work. The fact that your parents did adopt you tells me they want it to work as well.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Can I Please My Adoptive Parents?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How Can I Please My Adoptive Parents?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 Oct 2019 (Originally: 20 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 20 Oct 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.