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Helping bio child handle negative behaviors of adopted sibiling

My older child is generally very sweet and extremely well behaved. Our younger daughter has emotional and behavioral issues stemming from her traumatic background prior to adoption (as a preschooler). When the two of them fight, if often turns physical.

To be honest, fights are vitually always triggered by the younger one, but the older one is pushed to her limits and strikes back physically. Most often, this means digging her finger nails into her sister's arm (while the younger one lashes out by hitting). Beyond the general concern of reducing fighting (and managing the younger one's antagonistic behaviors), I am concerned that my younger one is getting scars all over her arms.

I am trying to find ways to help the older one to stay calm and walk away or get me or my husband to intervene. Just telling her to do that is not working, so I am looking for some concrete coping skills I can suggest to her. Any ideas?


Asked by Anonymous at 7:52 PM on Apr. 11, 2010 in Adoption

This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • Can you guys go to family counseling. I was (well, still am) the biological older sister of two adopted younger brothers who are special needs, and then another three biological brothers. My special needs brothers were often very frustrating, espescially the younger one who had emotional problems on top of mental retardation from fetal alcohol syndrome. I know I dealt with a myriad of feelings. There were times that dealing with my brothers was so difficult for me that I resented my parents for adopting them. I would feel like, "How DARE they have done this to MY family to MY childhood". Of course, then I felt disloyal and guilty for feeling that way, and that added a whole new layer of bad feelings.

    Your daughter that is adopted will obviously have lots of struggles surrounding her adoption. However, it's likely that your biological daughter has just as many. An outside professional may be able to help everyone.

    Answer by DDDaysh at 2:36 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • To a certain extent, I think that sisters fighting is actually a normal thing. We don't like it,but normal,lol.
    I wouldn't lay all the responsibilty on the older one to just walk away, rather discuss the issues with them both. Ask them both how it makes them feel when they fight.How do they feel when they hurt eachother. What can you (each of the girls) do to make it better so they don't fight as often. Get them to come up with thier own answers, conclusions and solutions.
    If all else fails, threaten to ship them to China,lol.Just kidding...don't really do that one,lol.

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 7:58 PM on Apr. 11, 2010

  • Talk to the ped about behavior management and maybe about a councelor
    Good luck

    Answer by mommymeg03 at 8:05 PM on Apr. 11, 2010

  • Can you say how old the girls are & how long the younger has been in your home? Are these your only 2?

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 11:00 PM on Apr. 11, 2010

  • Although I agree that siblings often fight, if they are physically hurting each other that seems something that needs attention. I recommend finding a family counselor that might be able to give you some guidance.

    Answer by Southernroots at 2:17 AM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • When they start to argue, make them do a "redo". Make them stop, and then act out the situation again, handling it the right way this time.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:30 AM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • Quote "If all else fails, threaten to ship them to China,lol.Just kidding...don't really do that one,lol."

    All kidding aside, don't ever, ever, ever threaten an adoptee with abandonment. Don't even do that thing where the child refuses to come and we say "ok we're leaving, bye" Adoptees are highly sensitive to abandonment.


    Answer by onethentwins at 12:54 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • I never allowed my twins to fight or call each other names or treat each other disrespectfully. It's the number one rule in my house. If I were you I'd look for counseling from someone who specializes in adoptee behavior and adoption issues.

    Nancy Verrier offers phone counseling: 

    Or try Marlou Russell: 


    Answer by onethentwins at 12:58 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • Even bio siblings girls fight all the time. The younger one is a biter too so that makes it worse. I doubt adoption has anything to do with it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:47 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • ANON 2:47PM,....If you DOUBT it, then you would be doubting wrong. A child whom was adopted, carries cognitive memory from very early on,, in some instances the moment it is abandoned by its mother. Do not take my word, this comes from very highly intelligent Doctors whom have researched this longer than I have been alive:) SO , probably smarter than the both of us:) The adopted child is changed forever the moment it is placed with strangers to be made to bond and love with( even though these wonderful, loving couples only wish to offer love to the child), they are virtually complete strangers, and they are being forced to attach and bond, against nature. As the other fine ladies have stated...counselling ASAP:) Good Luck, you are so wise to see this is a problem , and so loving for wishing to correct it before it gets worse, CJ

    Answer by ceejay1 at 6:01 PM on Apr. 12, 2010