Many aspects of behaviour are learned from the adults around you. Some kinds of behaviour are pretty universal, such as smiling to show pleasure. But many things differ from culture to culture. Some of these differences are not very important or obvious, but others can cause major problems when people from different cultures meet and one or the other does something which is perfectly normal to him, in his culture, but insulting, ridiculous or outrageous to the other.
If you are adopting an older child, one who has had time to learn these culturally-determined behaviour patterns, you will need to learn about her culture ways and be on the lookout so that you don’t misinterpret what she does, do something offensive yourself, or ask your child to do something she considers disgusting or improper. Eventually these problems will be ironed out, with good will on both sides, but they can get you off to a bad start if you are unaware of the pitfalls. They are nowhere near as serious as the quite different problems to do with attachment and institutionalisation discussed in the previous section.
A Very Few Examples
© Roger Ridley Fenton