Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | June 11, 2013

Behind the Behavior

Focus on the Family puts out a wonderful publication entitled, “Thriving Family” that seeks to help families learn how to thrive together in Christ.  In one edition of “Thriving Family,” Debi Grebenik wrote an article entitled “Behind the Behavior” that I’d like to highlight.  The author discusses negative behaviors that some adopted children display and the hidden meanings behind these behaviors.  When a child is screaming and raging, it is easy for parents to get stressed and frustrated with the child, rather than trying to investigate the true reasons behind the behavior.  It is very important, as Debi Grebenik states, “to see their actions as their language – the code that can lead us to their fears, needs and pain.”  The article lists some common behaviors that parents may see in children who have difficult history and pasts, such as:

-throwing tantrums when asked to do something


-hiding food

-having a hard time sleeping because of fear of being alone

-daydreaming while rocking and sucking their thumb

One of the key points that Grebenik makes is the importance of first addressing the reason for the behavior (fear, past trauma, neglect, sensory deprivation, etc.) and later on, addressing the behavior itself.  These children need to first have their immediate needs met before they will be able to hear and understand that their behavior was inappropriate.

To read more about these situations and what the author suggests are the reasons behind these behaviors, you can access the article here:


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