Tag Archives: advice

Book recommendations for older sibling

Today’s problem comes from an adoptive mum who wants to provide support to a new adoptive family…can you help?

A friend of mine (we met at an activity day where my husband and I found our daughter) has a books7 year old birth son and is currently in the midst of introductions with her 4 year old adopted son.

I want to help reduce the concerns and worries she and her husband have about their birth son and the huge transition this will be for him.

I was just looking for any book recommendations that they could use with their birth son to help explore his feelings and understanding of everything.

I have identified ‘Oh Brother’ already but any further books and/or advice would be great.

The Things We Do – 31/03/14

Have you written a post recently about the “things” your family do?

Is there a special little something that keeps you and your family going? Maybe it’s a special meal or movie night, a visit to to a special place or an activity that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Or it could be how you’ve overcome a particularly difficult challenge. Have you conquered something and want to share how with everyone? Then write a post about it and link up with “The Things We Do”.



3 Bees and a Honey, did an excellent post last time about how to deliver a successful birthday. Transition to a Successful Birthday is a post full of tips on how to make celebrating  that special day as smoothly as possible, see what you think.

So if you’ve got some useful tips to share, get writing and we look forward to reading when you link up below……..

And if you like you can always add our rather lovely badge to your post or blog…


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Sickness and food

TProblemhis week’s Problem Shared comes from Vicki at The Boy’s Behaviour – have you any tips or advice?

For quite some time now Mini, who is 7, has been complaining of tummy ache and nausea.

Quite often the complaints used to come on a Sunday evening or Monday morning, so we assumed, in all honesty, that these were attempts to stay off school. This was confirmed after some time through a number of ways, and the recent move to another school seemed to stop all feelings of sickness. I should add that we did get him checked over by the GP on several occasions but they couldn’t find anything physically wrong.

Over the last few weeks it’s started up again. Except now it’s especially bad on Friday (spelling test) morning too, but in fact in occurs every morning…weekends included, and it carries on after school and throughout the evening.
Again, I took him to the GP and he was checked over, and the doctor found nothing physically wrong. But this GP suspected there might be some anxieties involved, and confirmed that the sickness feeling probably is genuine. She’s given me some medicine for Mini to help with that.

So he seems to be constantly worried and anxious. One of my worries is that this constant sickness is now beginning to affect Mini’s diet. He’s always concerned about what to eat, whether it will make him sick, and although he’s always been a pretty good eater, he’s completely gone off fruit and veg – even his beloved blueberries.

Anyone else had anything similar? We’re really stuck and although we’ve always known he suffers with anxiety, this is really the first time it’s been displayed through physical illness, rather than aggressive behaviour and emotional issues.

The Things We Do 17/3/14

The Things We Do – a link up for you to share the things you do…

Last time the lovely Frogotter shared her post about ‘The Hat’…you can read the full post here.

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What things do you do that make your life a bit easier? What things do you do for your children?

Whatever it is, we want to share it, so link up below, and as with all our linkys, please do share your favourites, and we’ll do our best to share all the posts that join up.

The Things We Do – 03/02/14

A place to share your Pearls of Wisdom………

I’m really starting to enjoy the diverse posts that we attracting for this link up. From offering up tips for dealing with different situations, we are also seeing posts on just how you get through life in general and what happens within your families.

dance-shoesLast week @3beesandahoney, described the dance of her family life, a great insight into the different situations we can all find ourselves in, read the post here.

So what have you discovered recently, or have remembered a little snippet of advice that could be helpful to others? Maybe you’ve got a post in your archive that could help others. Please come and share them with us in our link up below. And to help promote this link up please do attach our badge to your blog…….


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The Things We Do 20/01/14

A place to share #TheThingsWeDo….

We had a great suggestion from The boys Behaviour last week, who’d have thought a sachet of ketchup could be so useful other than on your chips?



There are so many little things that we all do to help us get through those tough moments. Maybe it’s how you manage your own time to be there for your children, or the little things you do to help you keep focused or calm. Have you noticed a small change in your routine which has had a great affect on how your child behaves? What ever those small or big things are we’d like to know about them, share them here.


We’d like to see a post or a picture, what ever you think best tells us how. Us the hashtag #TheThingsWeDo  and share in our link up below. Oh and don’t forget to add our badge.


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Family Dynamics

Our problem today is from one contributor struggling with family expectations….

Like a lot of adopters, I was childless for a very long time before I became a parent.  I was also single and pretty much used to doing things my own way.  I don’t have a bad relationship with my family, but they live far away and I’m not used to relying on them for anything really.

I have nephews, but my sister has lived abroad for over 25 years now so my Mum missed out on most of their growing up.  Now she and my stepdad have moved close to my sister to enjoy their retirement and suddenly, here I am with another grandchild.Help Line

To say it’s altering our family dynamics would be an understatement!  Now, from seeing my parents a couple of times each year, I find that they are over pretty much every other month . . . staying in my house!  It’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds.  My Mum is not particularly hard to live with – there are a couple of things she does with my son that I’m not keen on, but I can manage that most of the time.

No, the problem is the way our relationship is changing.  Or rather, how it’s not particularly changing and my Mum thinks it should.

  I think she’d rather I was on the phone, asking for advice and seeking the wisdom of the ages from her, but I’ve been used to being independent for 20 years so that’s not something that comes naturally to me at all.  On her last visit here, she said that she wished I needed her more.  This is after years of telling me how proud she is that I’m so independent!

So, I was wondering whether anyone else has found that the arrival of their children has radically changed the dynamic of their existing family, and how you’ve got round it . . . if you have!

Tips for Changing Behaviour

Lindsay from Grey Street has written top tips for us before (on running errands with children in tow), this week she shares her tips on Changing Behaviour.

There are hundreds of different strategies to changing behaviours and hundreds of different ways to reward and consequence a child for behaviour. What strategies and methods you choose is dependent on your child’s needs and abilities and also your time and means to achieving a behaviour goal.

Underlying reasons of why a behaviour is occurring needs to be considered when choosing an approach, however, the list of tips below, no matter the child’s level of functioning or underlying reasons, apply to implementing your chosen approach.

Pick ONE specific behaviour you want to change You can’t change it all and you can’t change it all right now. Pick the one thing that would make a difference in you daily sanity and forget the rest, for now. Eg. stop yelling, putting shoes away, brushing teeth, stop picking nose etc.

Work at it for at least 2 weeks Once you decide on a new strategy, and explain it to your child so they understand the expectations (you’d be surprised at how many people forget this part:), stick with it for a couple weeks. It may not seem like it’s working at first because behaviour will typically get worse before it gets better so you must stick with it, at least for a bit. If you have done that and it’s not working, time to move on to the next strategy.

Follow through You absolutely can not waiver on your consequence. If you are so tired you think your head may roll Rewardsoff and your child does ‘the behaviour’, you must must must drag your lead body to follow through on the consequence. Every. single. time. I kid you not this will be the game changer.

If you are going to consequence, you must reward You can’t keep taking things away and/or just talking about the bad stuff. You need to give your child a reason to want to behave, as unfortunately behaving for the sake of man kind just isn’t intrinsic. Yet.

Catch your child being good Although you may be targeting behaviour X, it is important to acknowledge the other good behaviours, no matter how small – “I like how you combed your hair, great job!”, “You put your shoes on really fast! Wow!”, “I really appreciate how you cleaned up your dishes, you sure are getting good at that!”.

Be specific The examples above tell your child exactly what it is they did good. No more ‘good jobs’ or ‘way to go’. You need to tell them exactly what it is they did a good job doing if you want to see it again.

Use simple language When you are talking to your child about their reward or consequence for behaviour X, keep it simple and to the point. Less is more, keep it short and straight forward.

Don’t power struggle Also a game changer. When you have given your instruction to do something (or stop) and arguing/whining/tantrums begins, DON’T ENGAGE. I’m telling you, your child will win every time. The only way to not engage in a power struggle is to ignore anything but the desired behaviour. Ignore the arguing/whining/tantrum or walk away or lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to but do not open your mouth except to repeat your direction.

Ignoring If you are using ignoring as a strategy, ignore the behaviour not your child. Your child is separate from their negative behaviour. They are just a little person trying to figure out this world and deserve to be respected and loved no matter their behaviour.  Although sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do.

Behaviour is communication Kids don’t behave badly for the sake of it. They don’t wake up in the morning and scheme how to make your life more difficult that day. Behaviour is no different than talking; it’s just harder to understand sometimes if we don’t speak that language. Learn your child’s language, and if you are struggling to learn it then ask for help.

This post is part of our Handy Tips and Hints section, which is full of posts from our great contributors. If you have something useful and interesting that you’d like to contribute, please do contact us.

Aggressive and Abusive Behaviour

This problem is posed by Sarah from The Puffin Diaries can you help?


Aggressive language, and abusive behaviour is increasingly becoming part of how my youngest son, aged nine, is expressing himself.

He gets angry very easily at all sorts of things that he perceives as an injustice to him, yet is constantly rude and aggressive to all members of our family for seemingly no reason.

His older brother and daddy get the majority of the abuse even when it is maybe me, mummy, that has made him cross.

The other day he got down at the dinner table, walked around to his brother and punched him really hard in the arm and there seemed to be nothing that had provoked it. He then will not take any discussion over why it happened or understand that this behaviour requires a consequence. He became increasingly aggressive and abusive, lots of swearing and nasty name calling, as we tried to speak to him about it. Admittedly we were not necessarily as calm in our approach as we could have been but it doesn’t seem to make that much difference how you approach it, their is no reasoning with him. He will not accept that his actions were wrong.

I very much understand that the behaviour is a way of controlling family life and the bad language is expected to gain a reaction that then gives him control of the situation.

We are therefore trying our best to ignore the behaviour as much as possible but it’s hard when he then becomes physical as well.

Has anyone experienced similar behaviour in their family and if so how did you deal with it? I’d be especially interested to know if people hand out consequences for such behaviour or any other approach that has worked to minimise the bad language and aggressive behaviour?

It increasingly feels like this little boy is taking charge and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it.

Tips for Settling a New Placed Toddler into Family Life – Part 2

 This is the second part of @Lauralikes2read’s tips to read part one click here


Six months on, Squiblet still has a bottle morning and night. We kept that routine from the foster carer, and we will keep it until the day she loses interest. At first she had one three times a day, and for the past 2 months has not been interested in her 4pm milk – which leads me to believe that she will one day have had enough of having milk from a bottle. We are lucky in that she expresses her needs well; she often asks to be cradled like a baby and sung to. I would really recommend trying it, it brings a calm, trusting closeness that many adopted or fostered children may have missed out on.

 We are lucky in that she expresses her needs well; she often asks to be cradled like a baby and sung to.

I would really recommend trying it, it brings a calm, trusting closeness that many adopted or fostered children may have missed out on.

We are currently wondering if we should be encouraging her to use the toilet or potty. She was keen at first, but I think the move to “big girl” things has shaken her a bit. She is desperate to put her nappy back on, and has been asking for more baby-cuddles, so we are taking it to be a sign that she’s not emotionally ready. I have faith that if we wait she will lead the transition on her own terms.

Right of refusal
As with the use of the toilet, our approach with her has been that we will give her limited choices and respect her decisions. After about a week she went through a phase of being very upset by the prospect of the nightly bath (this being one of the bits of the routine we changed) and refused to get in for about 8 days. We ran it anyway, gave her lots of encouragement and the choice of either bath or quick flannel wash of the key areas. The turning point came when we provided a little step so she could climb in of her own accord, but assisted. I guess it must be horrible to feel like you’re being dunked into a bath whether you like it or not.

Our approach to food is similar. We provide her a plate of food and praise her for eating sensibly or trying new things but we never mention how much she has eaten or what.



No issue made of what she has chosen to eat and absolutely no cajoling to finish one or all of the food groups. If she refuses the meal entirely we say “OK” and offer a banana as an alternative. Luckily she doesn’t have any underlying trauma associated with food, so we have the luxury of being able to use that approach. It’s easy to worry about her eating well, but at times when she refuses we think “well, she had a big lunch, and tomorrow’s a new day”.



Division of duties
In the beginning the Mummy and I would do bath-time together, but gradually I took over. I now do the entire bedtime routine: bath, teeth, cream, PJs, hair – so that Mummy gets a bit of time her herself (whilst clearing up!!).

At first I got in the bath with Squiblet every night, now it tends to be every other night. It has really strengthened our relationship and allows lots of eye contact, skin-to-skin contact and fun! We’ve had some very special moments where I’ve felt her regressing and letting me hold her tight. I also feel that it has helped to calm her fear of water to have me there.  I feel very happy to be able to spend that hour with her one-on-one every night, it makes up for not being there during the day!

Overall, my main message is “it gets better”! Don’t beat yourself up for letting other things go (hoovering, cooking etc), you’ll all learn how to live with each other and you’ll look back and wonder why you were trying so hard.