Hello - New here and would appeciate any advice



I have been "lurking" on the site for a few weeks and thought I would reach out. My husband and I are at wits end on what to do with our little girl. So I would appreciate any insights or suggestions on what may have worked for any of you.

We adopted our difficult child from Russia when she was 14mos...she is now 7. She is smart and sweet but delayed socially and verbally. While we have no official records, I am sure there are some Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) from her birth mother. She is very ADHD and has tried numerous stimulants all with horrible rebound. Only thing that works for her is Strattera. She sees a Child psychiatric that has diagnosed with ADHD, PTSD and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)(Interm explosive disorder). Has tried Lamictal and is currently on Abilify 5mg.

Our biggest issue and where we need the help is around her rages and how to handle them. I must admit when she was younger we did spank (what worked for both of us when we were little) but realize that now that does not work for her and has probably just made her physical agression worse. We have read the Explosive child book and are trying the CPS. However, she is getting violent and agressive with us. Lots of hitting, biting, pulling hair out, spitting, etc. We are not spanking and being physical with her (except to try to pry her mounth off of our arm, push her away, etc...gently as possible). We can't walk away from her...she just follows. She would really hurt us if we didn't do something... Any ideas on what do do and how to handle this. She has always been able to blow up when frustrated but the physical and destructive side of this is really excalating. Part of me thinks that if we can just ignore, show no emotion, make her clean up/repair the next day that this will pass and we can deal with just the frustration thru CPS. However, that being said... nothing we have tried (rewarding the great days, taking toys away for the rages, physically hauling up to her room) has worked for the agression. She definately likes to push buttons and does different things to me than to my husband based off of the reaction that we give her. But not reacting to that type of behavior is just about more than I can manage.

We did move to a different state with my job last year and things really excalated from there (but had certainly been issues before). In so many ways we are lucky because in between rages (which may last 2 hrs once a wk or so) she is a wonderful, sweet, funny and well mannered child.

I would really appreciate any ideas on what may have worked for any of you to manage the physical agression during rages. Thanks!


Well-Known Member
I've adopted four kids. who are affected by alcohol. He is in Chicago. If you want to know his name, PM me and I['ll give it to you. If not, you may have somebody near you who understands this.Understand that this child is not like most kids here...being adopted means you don't have a total history on his genetics. ThaFAE is a serious diagnosis...it is organic brain damage and not reversible. Have you seen a doctor who is familiar with fetal alcohol spectrum? That would be the best sort of specialist to help you in my opinion. We adopted a little boy (now 17) who was exposed to drugs and alcohol and although he is not on the fetal alcohol spectrum, he is going to need help as an adult. When we first got him, rather than taking him just to a psychiatrist, we took him to a specialist who is well known for both diagnosing and helping kidst makes it tougher for anyone to pinpoint what is wrong. But Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)/Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) is actually a physical disorder. It's just that most doctors don't know what to look for...unfortunately kids from Eastern Europe tend to have a high rate of fetal alcohol problems. It might NOT be fetal alcohol as well. I'd also visit a neuropsychologist, they are great diagnosticians.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.And welcome to the board.


member since 1999
Hi and welcome!

My difficult child was extremely violent for many years. We were taught by his therapist when he was around age 5 how to do a therapeutic basket hold during violent rages. As difficult child got taller, the basket hold did not work out so well (nose, meet difficult child's head - OUCH!!). We were then taught how to do a different hold.

For us, we simply would not have survived his early years without this tool. My son hit, kicked, bit, spit, threw objects - you name it, he did it. And when he was raging, even at ages 7, 8, 9, it was incredibly difficult to restrain him because his strength was really super human.

I don't see many parents talk about restraining/holding their kids anymore - don't know if it's become frowned upon or what. I absolutely would not ever recommend a parent doing a therapeutic restraint without getting training from a therapist or psychiatrist first. The potential for someone getting hurt (difficult child or a parent) is a real concern.

I would also highly recommend setting up very firm guidelines for when a restraint would be used, and in my humble opinion when a restraint is being used, there should be absolutely zero attempts at verbal interactions with- the child. My son was restrained at home, school, and later in RTCs. Restraints eventually became very rewarding for him, and actually I think caused him to *not* work to maintain self-control. He was guaranteed the undivided attn of the restrainer and... well, he just thrived on it. I remember being called up to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because he was flipping out, and when I got there 2 staff were restraining him (he was a very big 14 years old at the time) and 3 more were trying to interact with him during the restraint. It was an absolute zoo and my kid was just loving it.

I think used properly, restraints are useful with some kids. I think you're right about holding off processing/cleaning up the mess until after the crisis has passed. And boy do I really hear you about having some buttons that are almost impossible not to react to, but it's really extremely important that you retain emotional control of the situation. It took me longer than it should have to figure that out, but once I finally got it, it really did help.

Again, welcome and I'm glad you found us!

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
So sorry things are so rough right now. My difficult child has been very violent. I totally understand what you mean when you say she would follow you. At that age, on the advice of our psychiatrist, we put a lock on his bedroom door when he was raging. he could rage in there. It gave him a place where he could rage and not hurt others.


Active Member
Hi BigBear (I love the name!)! Welcome to the crowd.

My question is: are you comfortable with the diagnosis? Was it done via a neuropsychologist? It sounds like it's pretty thorough, and the others really have great suggestions on how to handle the rages.

Do you know what her triggers are? Does she have sensory issues in any way meaning sensitivity to sounds, textures, "itchy tags" in shirts etc.? Is her eye contact with other people (other than your significant other, etc.) good?

I'm sorry you had to find us, but if you've been lurking, you're pretty familiar with the "gang"! It's a great crowd and I've learned invaluable lessons here!

Keep coming back - we'll do everything we can to help!



My son was also adopted from Russia - he is 8 now and he was adopted at 15 months. See my signature for his various diagnoses - I have no doubt that many of his issues were caused by fetal alcohol exposure but it's a tough diagnosis. to get with no real birth history and no physical features. So we're thinking about seeing a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) specialist, but not sure of the point since a diagnosis. would be doubtful.
Anyway, my son used to have terrible rages and a couple things helped us. This is not to say it will help your daughter - it's so hard to extrapolate kid to kid, but perhaps a nugget of this will be useful to you.
First, the right medications. Strattera made my kiddo more moody and did nothing for his ADHD symptoms. Vyvanse has been what's helped us. It is the only thing with-o terrible rebound for us. And Depakote has been the wonder drug in our case - this really, really smoothed out his moods so that we have a semblance of family life. Before Depakote we were in reaction/management mode all the time. It was awful. Abilify did nothing, as did Risperdal.
Next, my attitude. You didn't describe how you and your husband are with her, but it can be very stressful and trying to be around a child who is so foul all the time. I've had to completely change my day to fit his needs - when we're at home I'm "on" 100%. It's all about remaining calm and being prepared for what might happen. I am lucky in that I was able to quit my out-of-the-house job and do some work at home which I mostly do when he and his brother are at school - this has cut down on family stress hugely, which has cut down on child stress and child reactions as well.
Finally, school. Last year was a terrible school year for difficult child. His teacher had no classroom control and that, plus medications change, led to nightly rages for the first 2 months of school. This year has been entirely different because his teacher is very different. Being in a calm, well-managed, highly structured environment all day long naturally leads to good regulation at home.
I have found that when he is most out of control he feels most out of control. More structure, clear boundaries, and fewer choices make him mad but also help him out a lot.
I know I didn't answer your question about physicality during agression - my difficult child doesn't really do that so I don't have specific suggestions for that. But good luck to you!


New Member

how great that you adopted! what a lucky child. i know you aren't feeling soo lucky right now lol, it sooo isnt' easy. sounds like your ontop of it and doing best you possibly can though. i'm sorry you are giong through that when it gets physical it's tough.

i agree i would ask the doctor to show you the hold dependant upon how old she is. also i'd make sure to clear her room of any possible weapons which when they rage can be anything. you should have an emergency plan in place when she begins going there and you see the signs. and i've learned from experience that a move can trigger them bad also.Yet as parents we have to do what we have to do to support our kids and sometimes that means moving.

when my difficult child did that not so long ago and she is now eleven to be honest i used my verbal tactics first to calm and when that didn't work and she became more verbally aggressive than began reaching at objects throwing etc. pushing me i literally threatened her and said if you cannot calm down i will place you in my truck and bring you to the hospital where a dr. will help you calm down because rules of our home are you cannot hit, throw, break.

i dont know if you can go there with-her being younger like that. I think in my sleepless mom thoughts right now i'd contain her in a rm so at least the damage done is only to one room and try to manipulate her somewhat without increaing the aggression away from you. the hold thing should work for her, look into that. post rules of house also. with alot of our kids becaues it's a chemical inbalance that won't work yet for some it does. they know that's the law of the house kinda thing.

good luck to you........ i know it isnt' easy


New Member
oh yea and i'd also have her clean it up the next day when she's calm, great idea. than it'll slowly sink in the destruction that she is capable of. i've seen kids be shocked the next day when they are made to clean up and their like i did this??