When your child's behaviour is difficult, can you hear yourself saying things like "he's doing that on purpose, you know, to push my buttons" or maybe you refer to your child as manipulative or controlling. I know you love your kids and desperately want to feel you're in control and know what’s going on but... holy smokes people; are you serious? Why are you giving a child so much credit? To presume that a child is in control of their behaviour when we, the adults, often aren't, is a wee bit coo-coo isn't it? Do you think it's possible that maybe, just maybe, you don't really understand what's going on with your kid and you are having the tantrum and resorting to name calling because you're not getting your way?

Listen folks, your kids are not mini adults. Latest research reports that their frontal cortex grows until they’re about 25. Now, think about it. If the area of the brain for decision making and rational thinking takes about a quarter of a century to form, then a four year old is less than 1/6 of the way there. AND remember, adopted kids have a trauma history that has them operating from a base position of FEAR! That means until they are strongly attached to their new primary caregivers (parents), their behaviour often stems from one of three positions: fight, flight, or freeze. These are survival mechanisms at their rawest.

So, the next time your five year old is having a meltdown and screaming "noooo" or "I hate you", don’t take those words literally. They are pushing you away to protect themselves. Your children are surviving in the best way they know how. This is the language of children: they communicate through their behaviour. After the storm breaks, the best thing you can do for your child is to say, "I know this is scary. It's ok. We'll work this out together. I will always be here for you." If your child doesn't run away at that point, ask if a hug would be ok.

Doesn’t that make more sense?