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5yo angered by sounds of others eating

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I wasn't sure exactly where to post this, so I'll start here.  I have a 5.5 year-old son who gets angry at the eating sounds of his 2.5 year-old sister.  He has a hard time eating near her, and he makes these grunting noises that I assume are to help him manage the anxiety he feels.  Within the last week, he has started bumping her with his head when she makes any sort of noise with her mouth.   He is a very happy child, and appears typical to me in everything except this.  I'm just wondering if this is starting to rise to the level of needing outside help because it's disrupting our family.  I'm also concerned that it's going to make my daughter feel badly about herself for no other reason than she's a human being who needs to eat!   

 

Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing?  If so, did you seek help?  

 

Thanks for reading.  Any ideas are welcome!

 

 

post #2 of 34

I hate the sound of chewing too...drives me nuts. :lol:

 

That being said, if he has problems with any other sort of quietish noises, I'd wonder if perhaps he might have some mild sensory issues.  If not, I'd just think that this is a little quirk.  Is there any way you could put them on opposite sides of the dining room table?  Maybe even allow him to wear some headphones to block the sounds?

post #3 of 34

Does he seem to have any sensory integration issues going on? 

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Does he seem to have any sensory integration issues going on? 


Thanks for your replies!  I was pretty uneducated about sensory integration issues before this came up, so I did a little reading, and I don't recognize any other symptoms in him.  It just seems to be related to eating noises.  Oh, and he also can't stand it if his sister has any food on her face.  He always wants it wiped off immediately.  

 

Allyrae, I thought about earplugs for him, but then I wondered if it would ultimately make things worse for him. (?)  He's not always going to be able to have them when he eats around others, yk?  But I am tempted to do that.  Right now, they're in the kitchen eating yogurt, and I can hear him trying to get her to move away from him.  I'm really concerned this is going to damage her in some way.  

 

post #5 of 34

Listening to people eat makes me stabby.

 

This might be helpful.   I'd be more concerned with helping him learn to deal with this appropriately than with him damaging your daughter.

post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

Alyantavid, thanks so much for that article.  It's good to be able to put a name to this.  After reading it, I think we do need to seek some help.  

post #7 of 34

I am very sensitive to chewing sounds, myself. Truthfully, I cannot handle the sound of someone gnawing on gum or eating loudly. In fact, I often get in arguments with my husband over this very issue! He is a loud eater, and it literally drives me insane. I cannot be in a room with him when he is chewing gum. Cannot. Do. It.

 

So, I sympathize with your son. I don't know that it is an issue of generalized sensory integration or anxiety. I think, rather, we all have some measure of sensitivity to sounds, and this is one that is bothersome to him. I would teach him to manage the sensitivity in a polite way. If the other person is using good table manners, and he is the one with the over-reaction, he can politely excuse himself or position himself in a different chair. If, on the other hand, your daughter's chewing really does represent inappropriate table conduct (as in chewing with an open mouth or taking GIANT bites), I would reprimand her accordingly.

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thanks, NMT2.  I appreciate your reply.

post #9 of 34

I also can't stand the sound of chewing.  It is the most disgusting noise imaginable.  Can you sit him at a different spot so he can't reach her and put a radio on near his spot so it drowns out the chomping noise?

post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

  Can you sit him at a different spot so he can't reach her and put a radio on near his spot so it drowns out the chomping noise?



 I like to have meals with music on because hearing people eat (or mouth noise of any kind, really!) drives me nuts!! irked.gif

 

I do have some sensory issues though, and a lot of things bother me to some degree, but I know of a LOT people who don't like to hear someone chomping!

post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 

So, for those of you who struggle with this as an adult, can you remember feeling that way as a child?  Was there anything your parents could have done to make it easier for you?  

 

I have to admit, I'm a bit sad about this.  One of my visions for my family was sitting down to meals together.  My family never did this....we always scattered and ate wherever we wanted.  

post #12 of 34

See, now reading the part about him hating food on her face kind of makes me think it's sibling rivalry now.  How old are your kids?  Is he bothered by anyone else's chewing noises?  Has your toddler just started doing things like walking and perhaps getting into his stuff?  Just seeing someone with food on their face shouldn't result in angst with SPD.  But if there's something bothering him, like his sister getting a lot of attention, him feeling left out, or her starting to get in his stuff, this could be his way of acting out.

 

And no, I don't remember being that annoyed when I was a kid, but it was possible.  I also can't deal with scraping sounds (pencils on paper, chalk on a chalkboard), low level noises (the tv on barely loud enough to hear anything, mechanical humming, etc.) or touching chalk or chalky surfaces...guess I know where my kids got their sensory issues. :lol: 

 

And you can still have family meals--you just might need some accomodations.  Put some classical music on closer to your son so that it drowns out the eating noises.  Allow him to wear ear plugs.  Make sure they are sitting at opposite ends of the table.  Have a mealtime conversation to distract him.  

post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksmamma View Post

So, for those of you who struggle with this as an adult, can you remember feeling that way as a child?  Was there anything your parents could have done to make it easier for you?  

 

I have to admit, I'm a bit sad about this.  One of my visions for my family was sitting down to meals together.  My family never did this....we always scattered and ate wherever we wanted.  



I don't remember being bothered by it as a kid much.  But we very rarely had family meals together either. 

 

post #14 of 34

Even if he really dislikes the sound, it is inappropriate for him to mistreat his sister.  It sounds to ME like your DS has found a way to pester her and is using it.  While the sound may very well annoy him (who LIKES to hear other people eat?), he is 99% likely capable of controling his body and actions so he does not harm his sister.  Some music for distraction is a great idea - but I would caution that the idea of it would be to get his mind off it for now so it isn't an issue all the time - not something you'd have to do forever.

 

Don't you ever have stuff that annoys you and then you keep noticing it?  It's maddening.  It takes something distracting for a while to not notice it anymore, and then it doesn't matter as much again.

 

Tjej

post #15 of 34
I agree: it might be sensory issues, but it also might be sibling rivalry, plain and simple. I remember when I was a kid that several things that my sister did REALLY bothered me. I don't know if chewing was one of them, but I do remember getting super pissy and nit-picky about certain things when she did them, but not when ANYONE else did. I felt very put-upon and justified at the time, but looking back I was just mad about my little sister and was being a jerk.redface.gif
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksmamma View Post

Alyantavid, thanks so much for that article.  It's good to be able to put a name to this.  After reading it, I think we do need to seek some help.  



I think so too.  That was an interesting article and aside from wondering about sensory issues initially, the part about you thinking he was making grunting noises to control his anxiety about it made me wonder if there was something more going on.  It definitely sounds like there is an anxiety component to it and I would want to see about working with a therapist who has some training in this.  I don't think just expecting him to be respectful of his sister is going to solve the problem and I doubt this is just an issue of sibling rivalry.  Even if he outwardly complies with being polite to his sister about this, he is bothered by the sound and I think it would be helpful for him to learn how to cope and manage this better.  Good luck mama.  I bet you'll be able to figure out some solutions to make meal time a lot happier and less stressful. 

 

post #17 of 34

I absolutely cannot stand the sound of chewing.   One of the first things I teach my daycare kids is to chew with your lips closed.  By 2 they all do it.  

 

I also HATE the sound of women who snap gum.  WTH are they thinking?  Where were their mothers when they learned this?  That is the rudest, most obnoxious thing I've ever heard.  If any of you is a gum snapper... knock it off!  It's tacky and irritating.

 

My sound issues are a problem for me.  I refuse to be in the same room when my own 50 yr old husband eats cereal... and when I HAVE to be in there, it's all I can do not to call his Mom on the phone and rip her apart for clearly dropping the ball with him.   I mean..he eats with the big spoon, and sucks the milk from the spoon first, then puts the cereal in his mouth... but, it's too much food to eat with his lips closed.  

 

Anyway... give the poor boy some space from his sister, and work with her on closing his lips when she eats.  Turn on the radio to drown out some of that sound.  

 

I totally understand how he feels!!!  Give him a pat on the head for me.  

post #18 of 34

My DD, who is almost 6, dealt with this problem starting after turning 5.  She is very sensitive to watching or hearing people eat, and she really gets grossed out if she sees food on someone's face.  It started pretty soon after she got sick (had a throw-up bug) - even though she got over the illness, it seemed to heighten her sensitivity to these issues.  She really had trouble in school at snack time, and ended up not eating snack for several weeks, which affected her mood (verrrry crabby), which then affected her behavior and her relationships with her classmates.  She was also showing anxiety over a couple of other issues (fear of dogs was one), so we did seek some professional help.  The therapist basically told us she was fine and that she just needed time to outgrow her fears.  I have noticed she now has coping mechanisms in place (that she came up with on her own) - she'll put the back of her hand in front of her nose and mouth if something is bothering her, and I know that's her cue that she needs a drink of water or she needs to leave the table.  It made family dinners difficult for a few weeks, but we had her sit with the family each night for as long as she could handle it.  I did let her eat breakfast separately from her brother, and her wonderful teacher let her eat lunch after the other students had finished.  We just worked through it the best way we could, knowing that it wasn't her fault.  She is still sensitive, but can handle things better - part of the outgrowing of it that the doctor promised.  We ate in a restaurant today for the first time in months.  I feel like that was a major big deal for her to handle.  So hopefully your son will outgrow his sensitivities to some extent, but it certainly can't hurt to seek a professional opinion and help him come up with some coping skills. 

post #19 of 34

Your son sounds like me when I was a kid.  Certain noises, especially those that my brother made, drove me crazy and I would get really mad and anxious and could not stand to be around him.  My parents just made me tolerate it.  I think I did make him feel bad about himself because I was always yelling at him to knock it off and my parents would make me leave or whatever.  I think that you should try to keep them as far apart at the table as possible when eating.  I eventually grew out of my behavior

post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksmamma View Post

So, for those of you who struggle with this as an adult, can you remember feeling that way as a child?  Was there anything your parents could have done to make it easier for you?  

 

I have to admit, I'm a bit sad about this.  One of my visions for my family was sitting down to meals together.  My family never did this....we always scattered and ate wherever we wanted.  


I don't remember being bothered much by it as a child.  I was definitely bothered by a lot of the noises and fidgeting my brother did though and he was very bothered by me as well.  It could just be a sibling thing, especially if he doesn't have any actual signs of sensory issues.  I don't think this rules out family meals, it may mean that you need to focus on teaching her to close her mouth to chew early and find ways to keep them separated and him distracted until she learns not to make that noise.  It may also be that you just need to find out why she is really annoying to him right now and deal with it from that angle.  Maybe he needs some time away from her.

 

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