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Adopted Son's trantrums

Well his adoption is be final in the fall. He is 19 months old and I have had him for 9 months. We (our entired family) have bonded beautifully and now he is one of the gang. Before coming to us, he was moved from motel to motel and was even missing for a few weeks.

He is suddenly throwing tantrums. At first I just wanted to hold him and give him affection and that just made it worse. I have started putting him where I can see but not giving him attention and the tantrums take less time. Is there anything I can do to help him? They don't have an obvious cause. Is it normal at this age? May he is testing us? Who knows what he has been through. These truntrums just break my heart, he seems so unhappy in them.

He seems happy, healthy and normal otherwise.


Asked by ochsamom at 1:02 PM on Jun. 14, 2011 in Adoption

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Answers (15)
  • How verbal is he. That may be the key...the frustration of wanting things but not being able to communicate is so hard at that age. It may should crazy but can you try some real basic sign language? It may he

    Answer by 2ndtimewish at 10:11 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • could just be early terrible twos.It may have nothing to do with being adopted.Maybe you could try this.When he throws a fit, don't get upset.And calmly say "When you get done with that, we can go do ____________"and make it something fun he likes to do.He would rather go have fun than kick in the floor.

    Answer by evelynwest at 1:11 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • I think it is the terrible twos as well. As an adoptive Mom, it is almost impossible to tell what is adoption related and what is not. You can ask your Pediatrician to be sure but hopefully it is just his age.

    Answer by 2ndtimewish at 2:42 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • That's around the age that my daughter started throwing tantrums. When she started, we would put her down and walk away and start giving her attention again when she was calm. That's the best answer I can give because like you said, no one really knows what he has been through.

    Answer by other_mother at 1:12 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • My daughter started her terrible two's at 16 months. We'd either walk away from the tantrum until she was done, or we'd sit her in the middle of her floor and tell her she could come out when she was done. This really does sound like a normal 19 month old behavior, AND partly due to the adoption. Mostly though, the age.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:25 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • This is about the age my oldest son started doing this as well. In his case he was just starting to talk and would get frustrated when we didn't understand him. It did take a little while for me to catch on to that, many times he would throw things, hit his head on the wall, scream etc. For me I would hold him on my lap with my arms wrapped around his and rock, I would talk very calmly telling him I wanted to help him but couldn't until he calmed down. It always worked for him.
    My younger son never threw tantrums I got lucky I think.

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 1:33 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • Sounds like the terrible twos to me as well. Mine started that a bit early as well (not adopted) and he is a boy so maybe they start it earlier. I remember it came on so suddenly - he had never gotten mad like that before!

    Answer by confused969 at 1:49 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • I agree with 2ndtimewish, its good to maintain good dialogue with your pediatrician. It could be the normal toddler behavior, but it'll probably give u peace of mind to have him monitored by his doc. Not to make u fearful, but who knows what his bio-mom did while he was in-utero. Good job OP! I applaud you for opening your heart to a child in need of a family. Stay strong.

    Answer by kenzie07 at 4:58 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • It can be hard to tell the difference between the terrible twos and a possible neurological disorder, such as sensory processing disorder or autism spectrum disorder. You can call Early Intervention and they will assess him for free. It might be worth a call . . . if only to rule these conditions out.


    Answer by ARgal at 7:17 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • It could be the start of the terrible 2's but go with your gut. If they get worse, I'd contact Early Intervention for a evaluation.


    Answer by JSD24 at 9:30 PM on Jun. 14, 2011