Stranger anxiety- 18 month old. Does it get better?

(5 Posts)
Katew82 Sun 18-Sep-16 09:14:59

I'm hoping to get some advice or just hear from other mums that have been through this. From about the age of 8 months my little boy has cried at people who talk to him or look at him. He has warmed to my mil who looks after him twice a week now which is good but he still crys at strangers and family and friends. He is now 18 months and he has got a bit better in that he just moves his head away now instead of crying but yesterday in the bus queue a lady spoke to him and he went crazy. I used to take him to a baby group but he got so upset that we stopped going. I take him out everyday and he is fine surrounded by people in shops or in the park but if someone speaks to him he hates it. I just feel so isolated and its so stressful when we go to visit anyone or if people come to our house. My hv said he will grow out of it? Has anyone else experienced the same? Did it get better?

Eastie77 Sun 18-Sep-16 18:17:20

Yes. My daughter was exactly the same. She cried and sometimes screamed hysterically at anyone who smiled, spoke or looked at her. Her anxiety began very early (around 7 months). She was absolutely fine in busy environments with lots of people but was not happy if anyone addressed her directly. She slowly improved and things were much better around roughly the time she turned 2. I feel your pain and remember how stressful I found it in social situations and when people visited the house. In the end I just limited taking her out to certain events and only invited a few people over (several friends and relatives were quite judgemental and declared that she was simply spoilt or a drama queen so I tended to avoid them). She is 3 yrs now and still very wary/shy around strangers but she grew out of the general anxiety in her own time as I'm sure your little boy will.

Her younger brother is 11 months old and the complete opposite. Grins at everyone and happily babbles away when strangers talk to him.

Katew82 Sun 18-Sep-16 19:15:07

Thank you for replying. Sometimes it feels like my little boy is the only child in the world like it. I have had the comments about spoiling and he is doing it for attention! My brother in law even said 'he needs to get out more'. He gets taken to lots of places and goes out everyday! Can I ask what your daughter is like now with strangers? Does she just shy away? X

Eastie77 Sun 18-Sep-16 20:13:31

It depends. If a stranger tries to interact directly with her she still shies away from them. However I had a revelation about a year ago. I took her with me to meet an old friend for brunch. She had never met this person before so I 'warned' my friend about her likely reactions. My friend briefly acknowledged her when we sat down in the cafe but otherwise just spoke to me the whole time we were there. I think she glanced over and spoke to my daughter twice the entire morning. At the end of the brunch I watched in amazement as she happily took my friend's hand and walked off with her. She allowed my friend to carry her across a busy road which is unheard off. I realised that if she is given sufficient time to watch me interacting comfortably with a stranger she will warm up to them but she needs to do this in her own time without anyone trying to force the situation. I've tried and tested this a few times now and it seems to work.

Ignore your BIL. I took my daughter to every baby group going and it didn't make an ounce of difference. Her easy going and sociable brother has not been to a single one (neglected second child!). Every child is different.

LugsTheDog Tue 20-Sep-16 00:23:30

He's 1! Absolutely everything changes between being 1 and a grown up!!

DD spent a lot of time clamped to my lap at groups etc., though she did go to nursery from 12m so had to get used to that. She really came out of herself quite suddenly at 3y4m, and started randomly addressing strangers in shops! She is 9 now, always has her hand up in class, has put herself forward for main parts and school council loads of times.

We tried not to label her as shy or anxious but just said she was warming up or "having a moment".

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