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Little has been home for just over a year and is 2.8. She is lovely and has come a very long way. However, there is one thing that I don't think I am dealing with well. Once or twice a day she will have a massive tantrum about not being able to have something. We work hard to avoid them but they will happen daily. They don't last long, 5 mins. But when she is in the rage, she screams like you wouldn't believe and runs around throwing things. What can I do to reduce the anger? The tantrums are part and parcel of life, but the anger is what I really want to work on.
Not sure how much help it will be but my reaction would be, "you can't have that, but you can have this" and give an alternative rather than just a no. If that doesn't work (or you already do this) then I would pre-emp the tantrum saying, "you cannot have this, I know you are upset and that's okay, maybe mummy can give you a cuddle so you don't feel cross".
Firstly and - you need and deserve both!
You will know that 2.8 is absolute peak age for tantrums from any toddler, and that the lengths many secure, non adopted toddlers will take things to can be pretty epic. That said, with my adopted kids I have tended to find that normal developmental stages are more intense and/or persistent, because they have much bigger and scarier emotions that they struggle to regulate. So you might well be having toddler tantrums 'plus'. Time will tell whether they pass as they do in the normal developmental stages, or whether you and DD need a bit more help. If you do, Theraplay might be a really good thing to consider and you can now access it much more easily through the new Adoption Support Fund.
You sound as if you're handling it pretty well if your score is one or two a day for five minutes. DS at 2.8 could go on for *hours*, as could DD (this may be a reflection on my standard of parenting )
All the normal advice stands in my experience - avoid hunger or tiredness like the plague, pick your battles, stay calm, be consistent but not over demanding in your boundaries and expectations (cf picking battles), ignore ignore ignore. Two choices both of which you are happy with can be a good tactic 'eg do you want blue jumper or red jumper?'
Have an open mind on how to handle the tantrum. For many adopted kids there is very good reason not to put them in their room or use the naughty step - they have overwhelming feelings of shame and are scared of losing you, so further exclusion just makes it all worse where it wouldn't for a securely attached little one. however when DS was kicking off the prescribed 'time in' just escalated everything - too much emotion and he couldn't bear anyone getting involved. Only answer was to get him into a safe place, which tended to be his room, and let him ride it out. But never to make that punitive, and lots of cuddles and re attunement as soon as he was calm.
Put things out of reach that are going to damage her or themselves if they get thrown - sensible damage limitation.
Toddler Taming is a good general book. What Every Parent Needs To Know by Margot Sunderland is a nice attachment and neuroscience focused one.
Best of British!
What do you do when she tantrums? Do you ignore or do you try and intervene in some way? What makes her calm down in the end?
I'm just wondering if you're ignoring tantrums she's trying to get your attention.
(Ignoring a tantrum here is the right way to deal with DS and the wrong way to deal with DD.)
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