In 2007 I attended a workshop about inducement. I blogged about it then, but unfortunately the link to the page explaining it all is now dead after five years. But you can get the idea from reading that post.
To repeat for those who aren't inclined to click on links -- Inducement is the idea that children who are abandoned feel many emotions -- anger, grief, loneliness, out of control, crazy. When words are not adequate, they attempt to communicate those emotions but it is too difficult. So instead, they attempt to create those emotions in the person with whom they are beginning to build a relationship.
Inducement is very well seen even by adults. It is all subconscious.... dad has bad day at work -- comes home, kicks the cat and throws his briefcase on the floor, stomping off to his man cave. No matter what mood everyone was in before he walked in, everyone is suddenly now in the same mood he is in....BAD! That's inducement.
Here's another example. Teenage boy comes home from school where he has been bullied and threatened all day. Inside he is a swirling tornado of anger, fear, and frustration. He comes home and his mother does something that triggers those emotions and he grabs a chair and stands over her threatening to kill her. When he does this she becomes inside a swirling tornado of anger, fear and frustration. She now knows how he feels.
So even though it is subconscious, the boy has reached his goal -- he has helped his mother understand how he feels.
So what is an appropriate response? In the past we've been taught to always be the strong ones as parents, to "never let 'em see you sweat." But in all actuality what we need to do is to acknowledge our feelings and model what a person should do when they feel out of control. So back to the teenager/mom scenario above. An appropriate response would be to label the feelings "Wow, son, right now I am feeling very angry, frustrated and scared. I think I need to go lie down on my bed for a few minutes and practice breathing slowly so I can calm myself down." (And yes, I have done this, and yes occasionally something does get broken, but no one gets hurt and more often than not, just disengaging and walking away resolves the situation).
So, that's inducement in a nutshell. But a had one of those "a-ha" moments while at NACAC a couple weeks ago when an older gentleman in Bart's seminar started talking about inducement when he was referring to the transitioning of children to adulthood and the way that they often simply walk away from the family as Salinda did a few years ago and like Ricardo did a few months ago.
It's almost as though self-consciously they are saying, "So, how do you like that? Do you like it when someone walks away from you and doesn't come back? How does that make YOU feel?" Perceiving themselves as having been abandoned, they abandon their parents inducing those emotions.
While inducement was something I've understood for years, I had never applied it to kids who leave their families in a huff when they near 18 or go back to birth parents or, in the case of our two, who in essence found another way to choose a new family. Now I'm trying to figure out what the best response is to their behavior. What we have done so far is simply sit back and wait. We haven't stopped loving them, and when we see them at their initiation we say that we do, but we have to find a way to let them go, hoping that some day they will return.
Inducing abandonment. Just understanding this one thing made the price of our trip to NACAC insignificant.