We have a lot of dynamics to consider in our home, and as you might expect, you can't just throw together a family and magically everything works out. I am sure that biologically made families face many of the same issues we do as well, but in our situation (3 adopted children) it's harder some days to drill down to what's really making that particular child act that way.
Is s/he sick or getting sick?
Is s/he hungry?
Is it due to hormones? (Please, God, no)
Could it be a reaction to a recent visit with bio parent(s) (or lack thereof)?
Is this normal sibling rivalry?
Is this "spiritedness"?
Does s/he just need attention, discipline or is s/he already a psychopath/sociopath?
Kidding about that last one (most days).
I'm still reading Raising Your Spirited Child (Kurcinka) to glean nuggets of wisdom in handling my spirited child(ren). Some advice makes total sense like make sure you and your children are getting enough sleep, nutrition, exercise. But this bit about yelling really struck me as funny. There's so much propaganda about not yelling at your kids, and I understand you don't want to hurl insults or bone crushing accusations at your child, but I think it is healthy for them to know that mommy has a boiling point too. Mommy gets frustrated too...and sometimes it's because of something you (kiddo) did. Kurcinka says if you need to yell, "make it healthy". Not verbal abuse. She suggested something on the order of Tarzan yelling. I totally agree. I hope my neighbors can understand.