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Advice needed - 4yr old cant contain excitment, does a strange freezing/squiggling with his face & arms, am worried.

(27 Posts)
mummyplonk Mon 01-Jun-09 19:45:59

DS1 4yrs is a lovely little boy but I am started to get concerned about one of his behaviours. Since he was a toddler if he sees something he is excited about or even talks about he raises his arms and wiggles them and scrunches his face up (as if he is really constipated), it is pure happiness and we used to love seeing it when he was younger. We were advised by the health visitor he would grow out of it by the time he was about 3. He's still squiggling! The reason for my post is that I sat with him at pre-school last week and he did it whilst watching the other children play with the sand and one of the other boys said "DS is stupid isnt he?" it nearly broke my heart. He is due to start school in Sep, I know children can be cruel. Has anyone had any experience of their children doing this? His Dad has once said why are you doing that? whilst he was looking at a fairground ride and he stopped and looked embarassed, but how horrible if we will really have to supress this over the summer to have him considered as normal, what would you do?

deaconblue Mon 01-Jun-09 20:26:56

I think it sounds endearing. He'll grow out of it of his own accord imo, I wouldn't try to suppress something so joyous if I were you.

maduser Mon 01-Jun-09 20:53:15

When my son was just over a year old he made a sound like a "rrrrrr" noise. Some kid in the shoe shop asked his Mum really loud "why's that boy making that weird noise" and I replied "because he's happy" (jumping to his defence)

It transpires that (he is now 6) that he is Autistic and he makes these sounds when he is visually stimulated. Many Autistic kids are very "visual".

He is in mainstream school and doing really well - has a diagnosis and a statement of special educational needs. (my god we had to fight for it though)

I AM NOT suggesting your child has Autism - but you might want to do some reading by googling Autism etc. Ask his nursery if they have any concerns also.

You could also video him doing it - and play it back to him - and see what his reaction is.

On the other hand - all kids have sweet little ways and as the other post said - it's endearing and don't worry.

ICANDOTHAT Mon 01-Jun-09 21:02:08

What ever you do ... don't google 'Autism' and stay away from the internet until you have spoken to a doctor/devt pead - that's if you feel the need to do so. The WWW will scare you witless. I think you would know in your heart if there was something 'different' about your ds ... not just making a silly noise when excited.

mummyplonk Mon 01-Jun-09 22:30:49

Thank you for your comments everyone, I must admit I was worried about potential fits, or the Tourettes equiv (is it ticks?). I cant remember what that is called, my best friend has a child with autism and so I know his behaviours are nothing similar aside from this, but i do know where you are coming from. He is a sociable boy, very loving and quite shy, have just had another chat with DH and think we will say something like "we know your excited, that's ok you dont have to do that" or something similar not to embaresse him or stop him showing his emotions.

frankbestfriend Mon 01-Jun-09 22:35:00

Children can be so cruelsad

No real advice or experience I'm afraid, just wanted to say that he sounds delightfulsmile

maduser Mon 01-Jun-09 22:35:54

Sounds like a plan - or try getting him to replace the reaction with something more "acceptable" like clapping or "punching the air" (am sure you can think of something more appropriate for a 4 year old!)

A friends child was touching feet - but change it to touching palms of hands - and he now behaves less "obviously" to others...

Parenting eh!! Good Luck, primary transition is v-hard.

Sycamoretreeisvile Mon 01-Jun-09 22:39:25

Oh, sad. It sounds just adorable. Really, I would see what a dev paed had to say before choosing the discouragement method you mention about. Sorry, I can utterly read you adore you boy, and just have best interests at heart - want him to assimilate socially etc. But I would genuinely get some advice first smile

It might be something he remembers is all. I remember in reception year my teacher used to pull me aside to ask me if there was anything wrong. It made me feel like a complete freak.

I mentioned it as a teenager and my parents said, oh yes, we were worried you were a bit withdrawn at that age, or unhappy or something so we asked your teacher to keep and eye on you.

It had the opposite effect, I used to hide if I was genuinely feeling sad or upset for fear of being pulled up.

Incidentally, I have NO IDEA what they are on about. I don't remember feeling anything but happy as a child. I did have some bad dreams about witches though, but that's for another thread grin

mummyplonk Mon 01-Jun-09 22:52:41

Thats a great idea Madusa thank you, even if he claps his hands that will make him more acceptable, it's so hard I dont want to stop a boy expressing he is happy without appearing weird.

beesonmummyshead Tue 02-Jun-09 07:46:25

oooh my 21 month old dd does this too, and I can remember doing it when I was little! perfectly normal in some children. We grew out of it, and (for the record) are not in the slightest bit autistic

However I really can't remember why or how we grew out of it. Sorry I'm not much help am I?!

hippipotamiHasLost33Pounds Tue 02-Jun-09 07:56:23

My dd (now 6) used to flap her arms like a baby bird trying to get lift-off when excited. She still did this when she started reception. As far as I know there were no negative comments. She stopped by herself as she approached the grand old age of 5 and a half. smile

He will grow out of it, and I think the more of an issue you make it the more he will struggle to stop.

Also, one comment from one boy does not a whole class pointing and laughing at your boy make.
Children at that age will say things without really meaning them or without actually knowing what they mean/why they are saying it.
I vividly remember one boy, at a birthday party when ds was in reception, pointing at ds and saying to another boy 'he is weird'. It hurt me, but I am not sure the boy even knew what weird meant. Incidentally this boy became one of ds's closest friends towards the end of reception year and still is now (5 years later)
So don't worry about the 'not accepting' issue.
All children have funny/quirky habits. It makes them unique and it makes them all the more loveable to us.
Don't change your boy, he does not need to be 'normalised'. If he is otherwise developing well (normally) then he will outgrew this cute little habit (and you will miss it wink)

pavlovthecat Tue 02-Jun-09 08:01:21

He sounds lovely! Its a shame that character has to be subdued as children grow older in order to reduce the risk of cruelnes by others as they grow older. Children are cruel about anything and sometimes children just do not understand something as they have never seen it before so comment. A young child might not necessarily know that calling someone stupid is hurtful, especially if their own parents use it to describe something they do not understand. There will always be something a child does, or says, that will be noticed, so i would, certainly get it checked if you think there is something underlying causing it, but don't stifle it until you know there is something wrong.

If it is his character and nothing else you must let him be.

pavlovthecat Tue 02-Jun-09 08:01:36

He sounds lovely! Its a shame that character has to be subdued as children grow older in order to reduce the risk of cruelnes by others. Children are cruel about anything and sometimes children just do not understand something as they have never seen it before so comment. A young child might not necessarily know that calling someone stupid is hurtful, especially if their own parents use it to describe something they do not understand. There will always be something a child does, or says, that will be noticed, so i would, certainly get it checked if you think there is something underlying causing it, but don't stifle it until you know there is something wrong.

If it is his character and nothing else you must let him be.

messymissy Tue 02-Jun-09 08:12:23

I think its fantastic that a child at any age is able to express excitment and joy - why should we have to suppress it - is it just the british stiff upper lip thing, or just that boys arent supposed to do that?

DD is hugely excitable, but i am too - so I only have myself to blame!! Life is so short and often sad and difficult. Its good for the soul to let the joy out sometimes!

Obviously if you are worried that there is some underlying behavioral issue, best have a chat with someone qualified to set your mind at rest.

In the meantime, time (age) and social conventions will probably calm his reactions. sad

bamboostalks Tue 02-Jun-09 08:28:32

I used to flap my hands and arms almost uncontrollably and tap my fingers together when I was excited or anxious, I can't really describe it except to say it was weird and is well remembered by my family. I actually still have an urge to do this sometimes blush except I can control it now. I think that it is normal and he will grow out of it as he comes to self realisation himself. I wouldn't squash him in any way. I was allowed to grow out of it myself.

pranma Tue 02-Jun-09 09:37:14

My 8yr old dgd flapped her hands in excitement from an early age,when her teacher tried to stop her she started to cross her eyes instead!She has grown out of it now and is a bright,lovely girl with lots of friends and a love of books[has finished all Harry Potters and the Inkspell trilogy.Dont worry,he souns lovely.There is a term for the behaviour-something like scumbling????

saintmaybe Tue 02-Jun-09 09:45:53

he'll be a lot more upset by you disapproving of his behaviour than by what other kids say, I would have thought. Giving him the confidence not to care what other people think is a surer route to happiness than trying, probably unsuccessfully, to change his spontaneous expressions of happiness, however caring your impulse is.. I'd leave him be. He sounds lovely.

twinmam Tue 02-Jun-09 09:52:12

Oh please don't try and stop him. It sounds adorable! I can understand your worries about other children saying mean things but that will happen to all kids at some point. Don't squash his natural exuberance as it sounds like such a lovely part of him. I know you're not trying to stop him being him and that you're just concerned about protecting him. I have a friend who is in her forties and when she's excited she squeals and jumps up and down. It sounds hideous and affected but in fact it is one of the many things I love about her.

piprabbit Tue 02-Jun-09 09:53:31

Why not try joining in with him? He might find it really funny, you might enjoy yourself and the attention of other people won't be focused on your little boy..... then you can perhaps introduce some other ways of celebrating excitement together over time. Since becoming a mum I've found one of the joys is behaving in ways I'd never get away with if I wasn't accompanied by a small child (skipping down the street; singing in public; standing in the park pointing at dogs and going oof oof etc.)grin blush grin

wannabe10 Tue 02-Jun-09 10:01:32

My ds who is five today jiggs up and down on the spot when excited.He sort of shuffles and we ignore it. My oldest ds had autism and it is not connected. Its just his reaction to excitment.
On a silly note my dh rubs his hands together frantically when he is getting something he likes eg take away, beer etc. Its one of the things I like about him........

Littlefish Tue 02-Jun-09 10:03:46

I taught a gorgeous little boy in Reception once who did this. He had always done it, and it was just his way of expressing his joy/excitement/happiness. I thought it was lovely.

With his mum and dad's permission, we did a few circle times on different ways of showing our feelings, just to show all the children that there are no right or wrong ways (except hitting etc!).

I then taught the same boy when he was in year 4. He was still doing it occasionally, but no-where near as often. I suspect he will have grown out of it by Yr 6.

mummyplonk Tue 02-Jun-09 13:15:57

Thank you for all of your lovely comments. Funnily enough I can vaguely remember my legs going completely stiff when I was a toddler and excited, so it may be my fault, what a great idea Littlefish about circle time, I may speak to the teachers about that.

I am definately not going to try to stop him now after all your posts, wouldnt it would be lovely to change all the rest of the world to do what he does instead. What a happy place it would be. smile, am just imaginine my Bank manager or Vicar doing it.

Littlefish Tue 02-Jun-09 16:25:38

I've just seen my solicitor - I really, really can't imagine him doing a jig-of-happiness, however much I try! grin

Littlepurpleprincess Thu 04-Jun-09 08:32:52

DS does this too, only he, ahem, grabs himself, when he does it. So, I'm trying to discourage that part of it.

twinmam Thu 04-Jun-09 08:46:25

Littlepurple grin

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