My toddler is scared I want his socks

Dionne - posted on 04/01/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I am helping my 20 year old daughter raise her friends 19 month old boy. He is a very sweet happy funny good boy with some minor delays. My concern is he thinks everyone is trying to take everything away from him. By everything i mean food toys anything he may have even if he has a sock in his hand. He gets very upset screams and tries to get what ever it is away from you. All you have to do to set him off is look at him. I run a childcare centre and have spent many years working with toddlers so I know this goes way beyond typical toddler behaviour. It is becoming very draining because it is constant. Anyone ever experience this ?

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Tabitha - posted on 04/01/2012

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Awe, poor little guy. I agree with Jodi, it is most likely linked to the fact that he's not with his mom. My daughter that just turned 8, I got her when she was a year old. This was suppose to temporary but her birth mom's actions made it more permanent. Plus after having her for a year...we were a bit attached ♥. Her birth mom is a family member so she is still in contact but now in the capacity of an aunt. The first couple of years that she was with me, she showed a lot of anxiety in a lot of different ways. Early on, she would hoard her sippy cups, I found a pile of them a couple of times hidden in the couch cushion or behind her toy box, hide toys under my bed. The important thing is to keep a routine. This is the only way they can know what to expect each day, so he knows he'll still be "ok" and will still be taken care of tomorrow. If this situation turns into a long term or permanent situation, you should know that the anxiety, may not go away. Even though our adoption was more than 2 years ago, we still deal with some anxiety. I have to keep an alarm on her bedroom door because at night, she'll get up and get into the fridge, take food and drinks back to her room and hide them. She's never been without food so she would have no reason to hoard it. When they feel anxiety over abandonment, they want to control things so she tries to control when and what she's eating. And even if your daughter's friend didn't technically abandon her son, that's how it will feel to a child. Also, my daughter flinches if you make sudden movements near her, like a child who has been beaten. We certainly don't beat her and she'll tell ya that, my sister(her birth mom) never beat her. It's just another thing we deal with that comes with the territory. We've kinda always had a routine but we keep a strict routine with her because, it seems to reduce her stress and she knows what to expect. Just make sure your little guy feels loved and knows that you won't leave him. On the sock issue, give him a special laundry basket for his socks only. When it's time to do a load of whites, he can put his own socks in the washer and when their dry, he can come pick out his own socks from the pile and put them away...make it fun. I'm not sure if that will help but you never know.



Also, if he's going to see his mom, it needs to be on a regular basis. If he goes several weeks without seeing her and then suddenly sees her, you'll start to see other behaviors and it really messes with the routine.

Jodi - posted on 04/01/2012

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Where is his mother? Why is your daughter raising him? How long has his mother not been around? I ask because this anxiety may be related to the loss of his mother and may very well be normal for him at this time. Children can't express how they feel like we can so they use what tools they have, whether it be through play, acting up, tantrums, screaming, crying, or even clinging and becoming attached to objects. I am not suggesting it is normal behaviour, but there is a possibility this child does not feel secure, and in order to address the issue itself, you need to address the underlying issue.

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Dionne - posted on 04/01/2012

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Thank you both for your help. I feel so bad for him. I guess only time will tell. I do feel very lucky he is not throwing tantrums and such. This too was supposed to be temporary but there has been no change in his birth mother so Im getting the feeling it may be longer than we thought. Sadly we really have no rights when it comes to "Z" so adoption or controlling her visits are not really an option. We just consider ourselves and him lucky for each day we are together.

Jodi - posted on 04/01/2012

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Tabitha, thank you for your input. I have never personally seen a situation like this, only my psychology training suggested this might be what it was. But it's always just theory. I am glad you could share your experience with Dionne, thank you!!

Dionne - posted on 04/01/2012

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His mother is unable to care for him at the moment. Although he does see her from time to time he has been with us since Oct. This behaviour has been happening for the last two months or so. As my daughter hs been in his life since he was born he has always had an attachement to her and he is doing very well. He is always very happy, he eats and sleeps great. I guess I should count as lucky. I guess I was just hoping this has happened with other toddlers. Because it might make it easier to get him through it. Sadly there is nothing I can do about his living situation. I will just have to keep shwing him he is loved and keep routine and consistancy in his life.

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