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Is this normal toddler behaviour?

(6 Posts)
MidsomerM Tue 25-Oct-11 12:34:31

DS2 is quite a feisty little thing, strong willed and prone to the odd tantrum.

At home he plays well with DS1 (age 6), but when we're out he gets stroppy if people try to interact with him.

Today we were on our way to toddler group, and another mum caught up with us. She said hello to him, and he threw his scooter down on the ground and started screaming. She tried to smile and chat to him, and that made it worse. I told him off, told him not to be silly etc, but he just kept on making a fuss. Eventually she walked on ahead and then he was fine.

Once we're in the toddler group he's fine unless someone tries to play with him. Other kids approach him (admittedly sometimes to take his toys, as toddlers do, but other times just to look at him or play), and each time he makes a huge fuss, crying and screaming until they go away. Today I was mortified because he actually pushed a little girl away when she went over to him. She wasn't hurt but I was really cross and embarrassed.

DS1 was a bit like this too - hated anyone invading his space unless invited to - and I was constantly apologising to people and staying things like "he's tired" etc.

Today I told him off several times at toddler group, and made him sit in the buggy on his own in the foyer after he'd pushed the little girl. But I wonder, is this common toddler behaviour, and is it normal? Should I be trying to force him to respond better to approaches, or should I accept that it's a toddler phase?

There is autism in my family so I'm always paranoid about any social issues, but as I say he plays fine at home with me and DS1.

kateyfer Tue 25-Oct-11 13:23:23

it does sound as though your DS has difficulty interacting with strangers and in groups of people. Do you know if he is behaving the same when he is with other people and not you (in the same situations)? does he go to a childminder or nursery, so you can ask them who he is?

have a look here for details on spotting early stages of autism in toddlers to see if anything rings a bell:

nearlytherenow Tue 25-Oct-11 15:03:59

My DS1 was very like this until recently with adults (other than very familiar adults). He was fine at home / with close family he saw a lot of, but has been through a fairly long phase of consistently making a huge fuss if any other adult tried to talk to him / me. (screaming, crying, and, as his language skills increased, being very rude). He's pretty much OK now, although still has his moments (but I think in a standard toddler way - I no longer dread bumping into people in the street, he just now says things like "Mummy, don't talk to that lady" if we meet someone when we're on the way to somewhere he wants to go like the park and it holds us up). He's 3.2, and this all started when he was about 2.4. He's never really had an issue with children (although not always happy about friends coming to play at his house, much better on neutral ground), he seemed to have a cut-off of about 5ft in terms of who he would tolerate! I did start to worry that this behaviour was a symptom of a bigger problem, but it does seem to have been just a phase for him.

nearlytherenow Tue 25-Oct-11 15:09:19

Per kateyfer's question - DS's behaviour was always significantly worse with me than when with other people. E.g. a trip to the supermarket with me would inevitably result in a huge fuss when I tried to talk to the lady at the checkout, but when he went with his dad this wasn't always an issue. Nursery really didn't see the behaviour at all, other than when I tried to chat to the nursery staff at drop off / collection time.

ChipsnCheese Tue 25-Oct-11 22:28:25

"have a look here for details on spotting early stages of autism............" Well-meaning pointers to autism sites/books were the cause of much distress for me when DC1 was a toddler. OP - Please don't be tempted to obsess. You'll find autistic traits in most toddlers!

Aliceinboots Wed 26-Oct-11 11:13:07

I agree that most toddlers exibit some autistic traits. I think it's so easy with access to the worldwide web to get obsessed. I have spent the last year analysing my 3 yr old and comparing her with information on various autism specialist sites.
TBH I'm still none the wiser and neither is our paed.
Our DD has limited speech, great understanding, is unsociable (or rather indifferent to other children) but has none of the rituals, rigid thoughts or routines associated with autism.
Your son is still very young. It's so hard but try to enjoy him and not worry too much.
He sounds quite a typical "normal" toddler boy to me.

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