Food related issues are very typical for
children adopted from foreign orphanages. Sensory problems, unfamiliar
and strange for the child tastes, smells and textures, cultural preferences,
food battles as a means of obtaining control - all these problems take
time, patience and understanding to resolve.
Below we publish several articles related to different aspects of the
Once your child has learned how to identify her feelings
and talk about them you will both discover that although some feelings
can be "fixed", others cannot. For example, when Svetlana
told Jane she was hungry and wanted a roll to eat, Jane could provide
her daughter with immediate nurturing in the form of a roll. But the
next day Svetlana demanded another roll, and there were no more rolls
to be had in the house.
When babies cry, one of the first
ways they are comforted is by sucking either at the breast or from a
bottle. Sucking remains one of the most effective ways to soothe a child.
If your child is still young, you can offer a bottle; if your child
has been weaned, then a juice box with a straw, or a glass with a straw---anything
that requires sucking, such as a Popsicle or lollypop---will be helpful
to regulate your child's intense feelings.
Jane called my office desperate for help with Svetlana
shrieking in the background. I asked Jane if she had a Popsicle on hand,
and fortunately she did. Tell Svetlana that you will give her the Popsicle
if she sits down on the couch, I suggested. I wanted Jane to help Svetlana
move her body in accordance with Jane's direction to "earn"
the Popsicle. This is a way to indicate that the parent is not rewarding
the tantrum, but is rewarding the child for doing what the parent asks.
A second Popsicle could be forthcoming, I said, if Svetlana would stop
shrieking loudly (soft crying, which is the end of an episode, would
Other techniques involve:
- Changing the room lighting from bright to dim.
- Changing the temperature from warm to cold, or cold
- Warm with a blanket, or bath, or drink.
Other children may find eating something with an intense
flavor can help shift their feelings. Fredrico liked to suck on limes;
Svetlana found popsicles worked well, especially grape ones; and Petra
who was ten discovered that the salty green olive helped him change
his loud fury to a manageable level.
Overwhelming, unstoppable tantrums for children are similar
to having a panic attack. The child often feels out of control, under
the influence of an emotional storm that won't stop. A racing heart
is one of the features of tantrums and panic attacks. Finding ways to
slow a child's heart rate can be helpful. Methods for re-regulating
heart rate include coughing hard five times, having a child put pressure
on her belly---such as holding tight to a large ball or stuffed animal---and
changing the body's temperature by having the child dip his face in