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<p>A friend of mine has asked me for advice about her daughter.  The daughter (I'll call her Zoe) is 6 years old.  She has been known to throw temper tantrums from time to time, and sometimes gets out of control enough that she kind of scares herself.  She'll occasionally try to hit, and tries to think up naughty words to shout, like "booty" and "poop."  All fairly normal stuff as far as tantrums go.</p>
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<p>Zoe is adopted and has been with my friend since birth.  She has birth siblings whom she sees a couple of times a year.  The siblings are also adopted, so the adoptive parents set up phone conversations and visits.  It is also an open adoption, so the birth mother sees the children together maybe once a year.  The birth mom is kind of a hapless/depressed pothead who is 24 or 25 years old, and has given birth to 6 or 7 children.</p>
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<p>Anyway, last night Zoe had a tantrum.  I don't know what started it, but I assume it was around bath time, because my friend says it involved Zoe running outside naked and trying to rip the plants out of the planters in front of the house.  She also tried to bite my friend, and screamed her head off for a good hour to two hours.  This morning, apparently she was still in tantrum mode and threw a flip-flop at my friend.  At one point, my friend told her that she needed her to be "a girl who makes good choices."  Zoe screamed back, "Too bad!  You got me!"</p>
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<p>I don't know what to advise my friend.  This tantrum seems a bit above and beyond normal, but I don't know.  My own 6 year old has had tantrums, but usually they involved crying and lying on the floor, never anything of this magnitude.</p>
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<p>Zoe's tantrum seems really extreme to me, and maybe has some other underlying issues involved, but I'm no expert on tantrums.  I don't want to express unwarranted concern to my friend.  But if Zoe is hurting emotionally in some way, and they can get at the issue, it seems like that should be done.</p>
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<p>I don't know if this is relevant, but my friend and her husband are white.  Zoe is african american and latina, but looks african american.  Her birth siblings are all latino.  4 of them have the same adoptive parents, and the two youngest live with their biological father (who is not the father of the other 4 or 5 kids).  The adoptive family who has the 3-4 older siblings would have taken Zoe, too, but the birth mom did not inform them about Zoe's impending birth.  I think she was trying to hide the pregnancy from her own family because she knew the baby would be african-american, and I guess that would have been a big problem for the family.</p>
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<p>What do you think?  Should I express sympathy and otherwise butt out?  My friend and I are very close, and she has asked for advice, so I don't think she'd get mad at me if I expressed concern.</p>
 

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<p>The tantrums seem extreme for that age. I think having her see a psychologist or someone cannot hurt. Maybe she is just having a really hard time expressing emotions she is feeling and they come out in ways like biting or other destructive behaviors. I just read "Happiest Toddler on the Block" and thought it was really great, but she is beyond toddler at 6, but a lot of it was about dealing with tantrums. I wonder if there is a similar book for a slightly older child?</p>
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<p>and zoe? what are you trying to say? :D :D :D J/K</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>Oops!  Sorry meri.  I was just trying to think of a name, and it popped into my head.</p>
 

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<p>I was just kidding <img alt="" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/blush.gif" title=""></p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>merigayle</strong> <a href="/forum/thread/69179/child-s-temper-tantrum-is-this-normal-long#post_1928079"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The tantrums seem extreme for that age. I think having her see a psychologist or someone cannot hurt. Maybe she is just having a really hard time expressing emotions she is feeling and they come out in ways like biting or other destructive behaviors. I just read "Happiest Toddler on the Block" and thought it was really great, but she is beyond toddler at 6, but a lot of it was about dealing with tantrums. I wonder if there is a similar book for a slightly older child?</p>
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<p>and zoe? what are you trying to say? :D :D :D J/K</p>
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yeah...she's gonna probably end up needing some intervention...counselor, psychologist, something...adoptive kids just tend to have a greater chance of some at least mild psychiatric problems; ADHD, depression, possible bipolar, etc...especially since we know mom has some problems...has she had behavior problems in school yet?...not to be all gloomy, but her kid is probably going to be more high maintainence than average...</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>That's the thing.  As far as I know, she's never had a behavior problem at school or when she's with her grandparents.  Part of me thinks that she feels safe enough with her mama to throw these wild tantrums.  If she can keep it together at school, maybe in some way she's "letting" herself have tantrums at home?</p>
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<p>I think I will mention some concern to my friend, and see how she takes it.</p>
 

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<p>Take this for what its worth.</p>
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<p>My good friend and her husband adopted his cousin's child at the age of 3 (before that he was living with her husband's parents). They discovered that he had many, many more behavior issues when he saw his birth mother and siblings than when he didnt. He also had more nightmares. They think its because every time he saw them he remembered the abandoment all over again. Finally they cut birth mom out of their life (she was still a drug adict and they didnt think she was a healthy influence) and he became much better behaved, They also put him in counseling and that apparently helped a lot.</p>
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<p>Yeah, I get it.  That could be confusing.  My little sister is adopted.  She never had any behavioral problems or anything.  But she also never had any contact with her birth parents after her infancy.</p>
 

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<p><br>
If the behavioral problems only happen at home, it sounds like there may be a discipline issue at home.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>jebba</strong> <a href="/forum/thread/69179/child-s-temper-tantrum-is-this-normal-long#post_1928102"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>That's the thing.  As far as I know, she's never had a behavior problem at school or when she's with her grandparents.  Part of me thinks that she feels safe enough with her mama to throw these wild tantrums.  If she can keep it together at school, maybe in some way she's "letting" herself have tantrums at home?</p>
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<p>I think I will mention some concern to my friend, and see how she takes it.</p>
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<p>Are the visits with her birth mother and siblings supervised? </p>
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<p>I guess regardless, I agree with the open adoption thing possibly being the source of distress and confusion.  Zoe's comment "Too bad, you got me" indicates that she thinks no one really wants her - not her birth mother, not the family that adopted her other siblings, not the biological dad of the other two, so Zoe is all alone by comparison.  This girl knows she's different from her adoptive parents (white vs african-american), and I'm certainly not an expert on this, but I'm guessing there are just too many differences for this poor girl to handle.  </p>
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<p>I absolutely agree with OBH that some kind of intervention is needed and I also agree with muzicgrl that the visits with family are distressing.</p>
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<p>We have friends who became legal guardians of their nephew (her sister's child).  The mom was a drug addict and changed men frequently.  She would occasionally clean herself up, come visit her son, promise him the moon and get his hopes up and then disappear again.  It was horrible for the boy and he had emotional problems because of it.  Naturally, he was particularly distressed after visits, but the distress would continue for longer periods of time the older he got. </p>
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<p>Jebba -</p>
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<p>The poor family.  It's got to be hard on everyone.  Not to be the bearer of gloom and doom, but it might also be RAD or another attachment disorder. It can affect adopted children and when the kids are different races than the adoptive parents, it can exacerbate that feeling of not belonging.  I have a friend who adopted a child from China and they are also dealing with this.  It's extremely exhausting.  Children with this issue will often test to the limits, so it's not surprising that she acts out with her mother - she's trying to see if she will give up on her too, like everyone else in her life.</p>
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<p>Poor squirt. </p>
 

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<p>I would definitely suggest that your friend start to keep an eye on whether there's a correlation between the tantrums and the visits. Are the trantrums worse the week after? Or the week leading up? Etc.</p>
 

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<p>I don't know, Jebba. </p>
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<p>I have a nephew who throws tantrums like crazy.  Throws himself on the floor, screams like a mad man, pulls his hair.  It's honestly just his way of expressing anger.  He's perfectly normal in every other way; in fact, he's extremely bright and a ton of fun otherwise.  Maybe she's just figured out that tantrums get attention?</p>
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<p>Maybe she's feeling things she doesn't understand and this is the only way she knows how to deal with it?  Maybe someone who can help her express herself appropriately would be helpful.  My SIL is teaching my nephew things like, "This makes me very angry.  I don't like this at all.  I feel very frustrated.  I feel hurt.  I feel disappointed..."  Maybe Zoe needs a good emotional vocabulary to express what's going on inside as opposed to pitching a fit?</p>
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<p>I have no idea.  I'm sure that your friend and her husband love Zoe like crazy and aren't going to give up on her, and I'm sure they've told her that over and over again...Maybe getting the birthmother out of the situation is best?  I mean, a statement like, "Too bad, you got me" is a very adult thing to say...where did she get that??</p>
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<p>I'm just babbling...I have no idea and no real helpful insight...</p>
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<p>I hope it all works out well for everyone, though!!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<p>Very thoughtful responses.  I spoke about it a bit with my friend, and she doesn't seem that concerned, so I didn't push it.  She did say there seems to be no correlation between tantrums and contact with biological family.  The girl does seem appropriately attached to her mom and dad, from what I've seen. </p>
 
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