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Ask Bonnie Your Own Question

Bonnie
Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My wife and I are Guardian ad Litem. Unfortunately a month

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My wife and I are Guardian ad Litem. Unfortunately a month ago this 2 year old child along with her 4 month old sister were put into two foster homes. When we visited the two year old girl, who we had never seen before, she was very happy and glad to be held by my wife and sort of was flirting with me. The foster mother, however, related behaviors that concern us. First the child sometimes withdraws from everything around her and when approached appears to have a stress reaction, perhaps not a tantrum. It is like she didn't want to be bothered while she was thinking about something. She has also taken to standing in the corner of the room. We don't know yet if this was previous punishment. She also hides in closets. At night she often climbs out of her bed and joins the foster parent. We don't know if she previously slept with someone. Is this normal or abnormal behavior? We are pro bably weeks away at a minimum before the child can return home to her mother.
The climbing into bed with parent is not unusual for a 2 year old. if that is what you are asking. The withdrawal does sound like an anxiety reaction. It would be important to observe the biological parent-child interaction before return to mother. A person who is trained in this observation should assess the attachment or stress between the parent and child. If there is a problem in the relationship, parent-child dyadic therapy should be offered.
I hope this answered your question.

Edited by Bonnie on 11/25/2010 at 4:13 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

What do you think about the two year old girl hiding in a closet?

 

The child had been temporarily living with her father who she saw often before moving in with him. As a result of this DSS action, the child will be everntually returned to the mother who is in temporary quarters with her two older children after a fire in her trailer while unoccupied. The child knew the father who was not working because he cares for his incompetent grandmother. The mother's home was in a compound with other relatives and a lot of kids who appear quite happy. Same with the father's household. Same with the foster parent's household. She has interacted with all these kids.

 

What do you think about the standing in corners and hiding in closets? Could any of these behaviors suggest sexual abuse?

The withdrawing and hiding suggest anxiety but it is not possible to tell what the anxiety response is from. It could be people yelling and arguing in her presence. There is nothing her that indicates sexual abuse but she is scared of something. It could be that her extra sensitivity is an inborn trait and that she is over sensitive to something in her environment.
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