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Behavior Issues - 2 1/2 yr old son

I have a 2 1/2 yr old son with spd (sensory processing issue). He has meltdowns when exiting businesses (his fav - dropping to floor and rolling around in doorways at businesses).

I know he will act up due to his spd and his age. But, how can I better react. I have so much tension from situations like this that I grit my teeth and now have even more severe tmj and now a pinched nerve in my neck. How can I not get so stressed out and upset? He threw a fit at McDonalds Play area today and I had 20 sets of eyes on us leaving the restroom. I told so we are not leaving house now until he is 18 - how do I deal with what I am feeling?

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Asked by mommasunflower at 4:10 PM on Feb. 5, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (5)
  • just take a deep breath... let him have his fit- who cares if people are watching... like their kids don't throw fits.. while he is throwing a fit ... just tell him... " when you are done, I will be right over there..." and walk a few feet away and turn your back... when he is done.. calmly explain to him that that behavior is unacceptable... and move on... don't make a big deal about it.. and don't make SPD his "excuse ".... to him.. any attention is good attention and it's important for you to teach him the difference. when people stare just look at them like" I know right..." and roll your eyes

    Answer by VictinaG at 4:17 PM on Feb. 5, 2009

  • I have two with SPD. The key is you have to figure out what sets him off and how to counteract it.

    Why does it always happen as you're leaving a business? What is it about leaving that does it for him? There has to be something about each and every exit that is the same and sets him off....or it's simply NOT SPD.

    I agree you can't let SPD be the excuse. There are times when it's a genuine meltdown and times when it is for's up to you to know the difference and NOT give in when it's for attention.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 4:42 PM on Feb. 5, 2009

  • A LOT of kids this age do that. They just are trying to empower themselves in the only way they know how. Not saying it isn't SPD, but I'd first assume it's not and go from there. Would he act the same if you were leaving, say, the doctor's office as he would if he were leaving McDonald's? Does he do it EVERYWHERE, or only leaving places he thinks are fun? Does he hate getting in the car, or is there another reason you can pinpoint?
    One thing that we should do for all kids, whenever possible, is give the "5 minute warning". I let my kids know they have 5 minutes, then three, then tell them "ok, it's time to go". That way you're not suddenly grabbing them and pulling them away from a place or something they are doing. It doesn't matter if you're exactly on that time, so don't try to use a stopwatch. But just make sure that once you give the warning you're consistent with about how much time you allow after that.

    Answer by Junecleo at 4:56 PM on Feb. 5, 2009

  • Try and not worry about the other people so much. Those of us with kids will understand tantrums (no matter what causes them) and those without kids aren't ever going to get it until they go through it. Do whatever you need to do that helps (I'm not familiar with SPD specifics so sorry I'm no help there) And you never need to explain to strangers why hes acting that way. Its none of their business. So who cares....hes throwing a the best you can and just ignore everyone else.


    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 8:59 PM on Feb. 5, 2009

  • My little one has difficulty with transitions too. It is leaving any activity to move to another one. I find tons of reinforcement about when we are leaving.... like "Ok, buddy, 4 more times down the slide and we are going to go.." or 2 more minutes and we are going to leave... I also have found letting him know what the next activity is going to be helps smooth his fits. "After the park we are going to ride in the car and ___ some activity that he can identify...and hopefully likes.
    I also agree that you cant worry about the other mom's/people looking. Everyone's kid has a tantrum every now and again.
    I also agree that you cant give attention or reinforcement. Maybe even whispering to him (which mine has to stop crying to hear me) and saying- this behavior isnt acceptable. Picking him up (which I know can be hard) and carrying him to the car. Best of luck to you- this job isnt easy.

    Answer by SamMom912 at 7:02 AM on May. 27, 2009

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