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Angry toddler(30 Posts)
We have adopted a 3yo boy and an 18mo girl and they have been home a month/6 weeks.
It's all going really well apart from DS is quite angry and says NO a lot and just doesn't like sharing. He pushed our little dog today and I just don't know how to deal with him when he gets angry.
Every question I ask him is NO even though I know it's a yes 🤔
Any help/thoughts would be gratefully received
Maybe try removing choices totally - when my son is emotional/angry I find it helps to respond as if he is 18 months younger than chronological age. You are massively in early days so try to keep everything low-key and make decisions for him as you would with a younger child. Keep him close and away from pets/anything he could hurt or break. Keep him with you as you would 12 - 18 month old.
First months are tough op. Keep plugging away!
Sorry, meant to add - sharing could be massively stressful at present. He doesn't know you or the new home and will struggle to let go of things he wants/needs - just too much loss has happened in the last month. Don't feel pressured to resolve these things immediately - let him have his own things and your daughter hers as much as possible. You have years ahead to sort out sharing /turn taking but now is the time for building his comfort and connections. When he feels less traumatised, you may find some behaviour change /disappear. My son compulsively ate EVERYTHING for 6 months and howled after every meal. It was pure survival kicking in when everything was unfamiliar. Now his relationship with food is age appropriate- ie picky!
Thanks for the reply. It's things like "did you have fun at nursery?" He says NO even though they all said he did when I pick him up.
Tell me it gets better and the anger subsides 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻
Yeah, I let them have their own things and when she takes his things then I return them. He was massively spoilt by BM for first 2 years and then all during contact which was for the last year, 5 times a week 😢
Can't let him have his own way or he will be the kid that no one likes and wants to play with 😞
3yos don't ever like sharing. A newly placed 3yo with a (needy) baby sister is likely to be very jealous, fearful, insecure, attention seeking and possibly determined not to like you so that it won't hurt when he gets moved again, as he possibly/probably imagines he will.
Be patient, treat as much younger, try making sure that elder gets as much attention as younger (I remember well having to change LO's nappy with bigger LO climbing up my back and over my head) and hang in there! It gets easier.
Just seen your update. Don't worry about how he is with other kids. That'll all come. Just focus on meeting his immediate needs for now. (And the other one obviously.)
His sister is the opposite of needy and is very independent. She has had to be as BM didn't give her any attention. She is quite good at relinquishing toys but is starting to display same signs so need to avoid 2 of them 😂
It will be Ok, it gets better! Six weeks is so, so early - you are pretty much seeing their fears and anxieties. Is there any opportunity to keep your son out of nursery for a while- although he may be ok there, it's obviously crucial that he builds attachment to you. His "no" even if he is seemingly happy there may be an actual true answer for how he is feeling.
Instead of angry, think scared and treat him as you would a terrified child - because that's what he is. Fear will manifest itself as anger because anger keeps people back, if you're scared of relationships or connection then keeping people back is entirely a survival mechanism.
He needs lots of reassurance, comfort and closeness, try not to get hung up on him telling you stuff, that's something he can control as he sees fit. I'm about 6 weeks ahead of you in terms of placement and my two are so scared all the time - usually looking like anger for the older and the younger being self sufficient.
Try not to worry too much about behaviour - pick the things you really must tackle (for me it was violent behaviour) and know that other stuff will fall into place when they are more settled.
Early days of placement are really hard. I feel like I would be angry too though, if I had lost pretty much everything I knew and had no control over that or what was happening next. I agree with other posters that he will be terrified, as will your compliant DD. Is it possible to just keep them with you all the time right now? I remember we started DD in very part-time nursery 10 months post-placement and I really regret it. It was just too soon.
What you are doing is really tough. It may be easier if you try to keep in mind that your son isn't fighting you, he's just trying to survive.
The early weeks/months are bloody hard, I didn't appreciate how hard until recently (we are almost 2 years in). I found it hard because in all honesty I was winging it and doubting myself at every turn. I went from just me to me and a 1 year old and no amount of prep and research can prepare you for your first child let alone a terrified and traumatised toddler!
I agree with others about removing choices, treat him as much younger and TRY not to sweat it too much. The kids will be settling in and scared and will push you to your limit some days but you need to appear to them to be solid and I found a routine really helped and a clear message early on about certain non negotiable behaviours, so hitting etc isn't kind behaviour but you are a kind boy so let's no do that again please and then try to have a cuddle. Everything else...let it go, it's so so easy to be constantly saying no, stop, you can't and I try really hard to turn it around a bit so rather than get down off that table I'd say ooh DS let's put your feet on the floor now please and you can help me to do (insert job of choice!).
My DS is 3.5 now and is just about at the stage of playing with other kids his age....so long as things stay on his terms but that's a whole other thread!! No is still has favourite word though, along with talk of his widgie and lady booberies 🙄
If you haven't already heard of it I found using some theraplay activities useful, in fact we are starting some formal theraplay sessions next week. Google has lots of examples of theraplay games. They are designed to help build attachment and are easy to do.
Enjoy your babies and make sure you always have some gin in the cupboard 😁
We adopted 2 years ago LO is 3 now. Luke others have said the early days are really hard. It must be very challenging with 2 little ones. My 3 year old can be very challenging and exhausting. We have really good days and then terrible ones, ingress on some ways the challenging behaviour of a 3 year old is 'normal". Good luck....hope your managing to get some sleep!
so he's been seeing his BM 5 times a week till the last 4/6 weeks....
left his FC,
moved to you...
?started nursery....(why is he in nursery?)
poor little boy.....
can you stop nursery and keep him home with you....you need to have him home 24/7, start building the bonds of attachment. at these very very early days, nursery will be doing him no favours at all.
and I agree do not leave him alone with DD or the dog - far too tempting for him to take out his anger on them.
he needs lots and lots of 1-1 time with you.
I'm not surprised he's angry to be honest....
Actually this last week (2nd week of nursery mornings only) he has vastly improved, the routine and structure is really good for him. I spoke to FC about nursery and she said he needed to get back. He has been going for the last year and loved it. They have said he loves it and has made some new friends and speaking and sharing better 👍🏻
Me and DS do spend 1:1 time together during afternoons and weekends so there is plenty of bonding and attachment!!
After speaking to a lot of my friends with 3 yo boys they said it's fairly normal to be rough and snatch and what toddler likes sharing 🙄
Since being separated for mornings me and DD get to spend time together and she is displaying less of the snatching and tantrums herself.
Been a good and positive week and long may it continue 🙌🏻
Thank you ladies for your positive messages and help
Waiting - if you had a baby would you at 4/6 weeks separate from them and send them off to nursery?
the best advice for adoptive children when newly placed keep them with you if you can.
yes some 3 yr old boys may be rough - but that doesn't mean its normal. some 3 yr old boys snatch - but thats really immature behaviour - 1-2yr olds find sharing hard, 3 yr old pre-schoolers should be able to share.
His behaviour is his only communication he has. His anger is his only way of telling you what he is feeling etc.
You said initially he kicked the dog today, I don't know what to do when he is angry.
Now you are saying, its been a positive week - long may it continue.
I wonder if you are feeling conflicted or confused at all? Or a bit defensive maybe?
It makes no difference to us online what you do - but it will make a massive difference to him, and to your family. All the best advice says keep children home with you for as long as you can.
I worried that I sent mine off to nursery too early - after 4-5 months at home...
Search here, there are lots of threads about sending them off to school/nursery etc....
your attachment at 4 or 6 weeks (sorry i'm not sure how long he has actually been with you) has barely begun to scratch the surface, at this point you are probably just ending your 'honeymoon' period, and the anger for him is probably just beginning to emerge.
I hope SW are supporting you well - 2 little ones is hard work
Please can you refrain from making people feel guilty by the things they do, this decision was agreed with all SW, health visitor, reviewing officer and foster carer who had had him for a year. He goes a couple of hours a day and is loving it.
His speech is improving, behaviour to others and sharing so it's a good thing for him.
This is tough enough without people condemning you and people come on here for advice.
Each family is different but most people say that 3 yo do say NO a lot and don't like sharing.
Some people have no choice to put babies in nursery.
I will be coming off this app as I'm upset to read such things.
This is really complex and I can see all sorts of perspectives.
What I want to say, very very very gently (because at your stage I was beyond exhausted, overwhelmed, doubted myself at every turn, and was pretty much down to my last nerve) is that whatever you're feeling in terms of confusion, struggle and intense feelings - your children will be feeling that too. It will get easier for all of you, but for a time it's going to be hard. Access all the support you can for yourself - can people help with shopping/ cleaning/ gardening/ errands/ coming for a coffee to make you laugh for a bit? Any of that is great, and gives you precious headspace to connect with your children.
The best advice my SW gave me in those early days, was to focus on ways to give the child opportunities to express their feelings. This might be with language if they have it, or you could use pictures, books (Todd Parr's The Feelings Book is good). You can describe the feelings for them to help them process "I can see you're feeling really angry there, I wonder if you can feel that in your tummy? In your head? In your feet?" No need to get answers, just to acknowledge the feelings and that they are hard. I always used to end with "I know the feelings feel really big right now, but I'm here, and together we will get them to feel smaller".
You only get these early days once, and they are simultaneously the most exhausting-draining-demanding-emotional time - and the most precious opportunity to grow trust. Sometimes children need very different things after placement than they did in foster care, because a big regression step is normal. You are getting to know your new children, and doing your best to make the right choices for them. That's all you can do, every day. For most newly-placed children, coping with childcare is too much because it means learning to trust and attach to yet more new adults and places, which can be confusing and make it harder to build the new bonds at home. This isn't an exercise in trying to make you feel guilty (you'll feel guilty all the bloody time anyway now you're a mum!). You need to base your choice on what will be best for all of you to cope - your new children need you with them, and you also need to not go mad. That's where making sure there is real-life support for you from friends and family comes in. It's not a simple or easy path to navigate. to you.
Agee with waiting for a family Our DD has severe global delays age 3 and in nursery. Have developed with nursery support strategy's.
with disability outreach team. they attend nursery include OT's, Physio,
speech and language, also level LA funding level 2 support , and have done Educational health care plan for when he starts school. all in 12 month's has learnt too walk talk and most important he is included with other children. He is also learning sign language yes they sign as well.
All children are different as are their needs. Just have too explore and push for support. All is free if approached the correct way.
Waiting - no-one here, certainly not me is trying to make you feel guilty. As a mum you'll manage to feel that now about all sorts of things.
Most adopters here are trying to help.
Fas - did you child visit bm 5 times a week, then leave fc, move to you, start nursery 4 weeks later?
That is what we were talking about....not whether sn kids age 3 should go to nursery....
I think you've got the wrong end of the stick somewhere....my 2 yr old could sign too....not sure what point you are actually trying to make?
4- 6 weeks after placement is very early to be into nursery, I'd be angry if I'd lost everything I had, moved house, lost my family, living with strangers, and then I had to start a new job, with new colleagues etc. All the advice is to keep things very 'small' for the first few weeks.
Your social workers, IRO etc and foster carer may well say it's ok. Very few social workers actually have a clue about attachment. The foster carer parented a different child to the one you have, the one you have is grieving acutely, for the second or third time? That changes a person, even aged 3.
I'm not critising, I'm trying to be helpful. Getting your child home, and building attachment now could save years of heartache.
I repeat all children are different as are their needs SEN or otherwise and all the kids sign and play at his nursery. He was used too seeing BM whilst attending nursery and other extended family no reason too
change a routine he was used too stop inclusions with other children.
FASparent, there are actually lots of reasons to minimise interactions with those outside the (new) primary attachment in the very early days.
Lots of reasons, lots of evidence. Telling the OP 'it'll be all right!' is neither true, nor fair, on her, or her children.
Fasparent - thank you for your objective view. This is all subjective and people's opinion vary. In our case he was seeing BM every day til May then once a week til July. Everyday he went to nursery he was making progress with other children and learning social skills but was being undone by BM and her attitude.
This is working for us and he is a very happy boy at nursery as all the staff tell me when I collect him and he is full of love and cuddles when we see each other.
The foster carer who had him for a year said that this was a good idea for him and she knows him best. He was due to start in December so we started a few weeks earlier.
Last time I post on here as the vitriol from "experts" is galling
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