Worried - is something wrong with my 3 year old?(15 Posts)
I feel I need some opinions / advice and don't know where to turn. My son is three and a half. He's always been quite sensitive and tends to overthink things and worry, no matter how much I try to talk things through or reassure him. He has also had epic tantrums from a very young age and is very very very stubborn and strong willed.
My worry is that he seems to be extremely difficult over things that his peers don't bat an eyelid over. i.e. we are on holiday at the moment and every day he has gone absolutely crazy when we put sun cream on him. We have tried all different approaches but nothing calms him. It has ended up with us having to pin him down to put it on while he screams and thrashes around. Then he just wants to stay in the room all day. i see other kids round the pool having their suncream put on and being excited to splash in the pool, he takes a lot of persuasion to get in then gets really upset if he gets splashed etc. He also fights against getting his hair cut and has to be pinned down and kicks and screams non stop. No amount of bribery etc works. I have also been worried for a while about how he behaves e.g. at children's parties he is always the only child who doesn't join in with the games. He gets overwhelmed by the noise and activity and just wants to sit quietly at the side. Sometimes he tells me he just wants to go home. Also he is scared of lots of noisy things - I cannot dry my hair at home because he's terrified of the hairdryer and he won't use public toilets because of the hand dryers. He cries when I Hoover too!
It all just seems to be adding up in my head to suggest there's something not right. Am I over reacting?? Will he grow out of these things, or is there some sort of problem??? 😞 X
It sounds like sensory issues. It might be worth having a discussion with your GP or HV.
Hmm just a few things (you have probably already thought of anyway)
Is there an issue with his hearing? As in- is his hearing too loud?? (if that's a thing) and that's why its scaring him
Is there a particular activity he likes doing that he doesn't act up for (this would show you he is able to ick and choose when he acts up or if he cant help it)
My DD (4) did some of these things but seems to have grown out of them now. It may be normal for a little boy who just could be sensitive and shy.
I can see why your worried as its not nice seeing them isolating themselves and not having fun when they should be. Why don't you ask your GP's health visitor for a chat? They know what is right for a child of that age.
Thanks for your replies. He started at nursery school last month and is getting on really well, they say his learning and development is really good but these issues still concern me. I know deep down I am scared to ask for professional help in case they diagnose a problem. I just want to be told he is fine and will grow out of these things! I guess I will speak to a HV though and go from there. Thank you X
As a parent to two kids with autism and one a similar age to yours both have sensory issues and your post screams sensory issues to me but that's purely on what you've written and I've obviously not met your child.
Mine displayed all of what you have mentioned and more though he was diagnosed with a language disorder which effected his social skills and confidence.
He's five and a half now and is a completely different child to two years ago. He's still sensitive to some sounds, tastes, textures, smells but there is a definite improvement. It's now manageable.
Is his speech ok?
His speech is great, and has been from a young age. I jut don't know what to think because when I google about sensory issues they sound a lot more severe than what we are dealing with, such as problems with clothing etc which he doesn't have. Perhaps there are different scales though.
Just thinking about other things and recently he had an eye infection and an ear infection and freaked out when the dr tried to look in his eyes and ears. Don't know if that would be a sensory thing, or if this is all a control / threenager thing!!
If he does have sensory issues, I assume there's no way of 'treating' it, just finding ways to manage it?
Yeah. I know a lot of kids with sensory issues on a more minor scale. They learn to manage them. A lot of kids are scared of hoovers and dries etc though. There's no specific treatment more management than anything.
From my experience it's definitely a case of managing it.
Learning how to deal with them whilst in full throttle meltdown.
Learning what they're comfortable with and very slowly pushing the boundaries. Not forcing anything on them but in a very relaxed way and at their pace.
As he matures you will be able to discuss what the issues are and deal with what it is that your ds doesn't like.
Finding a 'comfort' to help in situations that your ds finds stressful-our ds had a small blanket.
One of the things our ds hated was the shower. The noise. The feel of it on his skin. It splashes.
We started by making sure ds was aware when someone was in the shower-maybe walking past when his brother was in the shower. Asking him to get a bit off tissue for me etc.
Then we lowered the shower to be hand held. I washed some of his figures with soap and asked if he wanted to help. He did. So we played that game a few times.
Then we put the shower on at the opposite end of the bath whilst he was in the bath and asked if he wanted to splash his hands or feet in it.
Eventually with small steps like this (at his pace and with encouragement) he started to get in the shower. He showers fine now.
You have to follow their lead, encourage, don't force anything.
I don't know, a lot of what you describe sounds quite normal for a boy of his age OP and not a massive flag for sensory issues. My DD (3.5) was terrified of hand driers until very recently and I've seen lots of toddlers cry hysterically when they hear them. She also used to run away whenever we switched the hair dryer on and I'm sure I remember her crying at the sound of the hoover too when she was a bit younger.
Not wanting to join in at parties is also very normal at that age I think - not every child wants to dive in at social events and at every party you'll find a toddler or two who just wants to sit on their parents lap and observe what is going on or demand to go home.
DD made such a screaming fuss at the hairdressers when we first took her that they advised us to wait 'a year or so' before bringing her back.
I hope I don't sound dismissive as I know what's it's like to worry about your toddler's behaviour (if you look at my earlier posts you'll see I posted countless messages as I was stressed about DD because she was clingy/didn't join in etc) and obviously if your instincts are telling you something is wrong then you know your child better than any randoms on the internet but I just wanted to add that what you describe does not sound that unusual to me.
DD is a very different child now and we have no concerns at all although we still haven't got around to going back to that hairdresser...
I agree with Eastie actually. Of course you should keep an eye on things and not rule out possible issues, but it sounds pretty normal to me. I know several children who hated hair dryers, Sun cream etc when they were that age, and who didn't like to join in at parties.
My two dcs didn't like loud noises and took a while to join in with parties (my 5 year old is still wary).
The sun cream thing could have been he was hot and tired and in a strange place. Might not have been part of a bigger "issue".
So I'd go with it for now. Don't force him into anything. My ds who's 7, now doesn't look back when he's at a party and was vacuuming for me yesterday. He does still get a bit shy about some stuff but he's still young in my eyes.
My DS1 was a lot like that at 3 - the sun cream really brought back memories for me! He is a lot better a year later and improving all the time. I think it is too early to tell - keep an eye on it and try to gauge if you see improvements over time x
I appreciate your replies so much, thank you. They don't sound at all dismissive, Eastie, you have in fact told me exactly what I wanted to hear! I will keep a close eye but fingers crossed it is all something he will grow out of in time. Part of the problem is that none of my friends with children the same age seem to have these issues - that they admit, anyway! So I feel he is 'different', but I know kids are all individuals too. Thank you X
I think the difference is between 'normal' and 'average'. So your DS may be 'normal' (i.e. within the normal range of behaviour for a three year old) without being 'average' or 'typical'.
Like Eastie said at every party you'll find a toddler or two who just wants to sit on their parents lap and observe what is going on or demand to go home - I agree. But probably only one or two out of (say) a class of 30. So it's easy for their parents to be thinking my child is different from everyone else.
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