My youngest son is 6 years old. He's never had a "lovey" and really isn't attached to any toys or stuffed animals. He did have a plastic wand that he carried everywhere for about a year before losing, but he didn't seem very upset when it was gone. His problem is with bigger items. For instance, our deck was a mess. We'd only lived in this home for a year when we decided to tear off the old deck and rebuild. He cried. It was kinda cute at the time. This weekend we replaced our 6 year old van and he's having a really hard time of it. I don't know why. We never named the van, or anything like that. He never appeared to be attached to it prior to selling it. He just cries and cries. I just can't figure out why he's having such a hard time with getting a new vehicle and how we can help him through this transition. Any ideas on why he's feeling this way and how we can help?
Overly Attached to Inanimate Objects: Help Needed
I remember ds1 when he was about 3 or 4 being extremely upset when a tow truck took our non-functioning car to Sears for repairs. He wanted us to chase the tow truck and stop it. He's also never been very attached to any blankeys or loveys or anything like that. I think a car or a deck are such being stable items in a kid's life, that it's scary when they're removed or changed. I think the best you can do is ask questions and be understanding. Maybe even let him personalize the new deck or car somehow to make it more "his".
Today he became upset because my husband is starting to work out again and our son asked why and we told him that daddy wanted to lose weight and our son cried that he didn't want daddy to lose weight, he wanted daddy to keep the fat on his belly. I am starting to get worried.
This sounds just like my son. He has never shown much attachment to objects such as toys, blankets etc. Even when some of his favourite things got lost or broken it didn't upset him. What he can't handle is change. He gets upset about needing new shoes or a coat. We've had decorations from his party up for 5 months now because he gets upset if I mention taking them down! I've taken a few down bit by bit. He struggles when plans or routine change. I'm currently waiting for a referral to investigate whether he may have high functioning autism as it's looking increasingly likely. He's 8, but I've only just recently added up all his unusual traits and realised what they might mean.
I'm not saying that your son has autism because he can't handle change, but it is one of the traits. If you have no other reason to suspect ASD then I'd say you just have a child who struggles with change. From what you say it doesn't sound as if he is necessarily 'attached' to the objects in question, more that he doesn't want the familiar to change. My son doesn't even want me to learn to drive because 'I don't drive and we don't have a car' and thinking about that changing upsets him despite the many benefits it would bring.
As for ways to deal with it, some people find that plenty of advance warning is helpful. However, other children seem to find this gives them more time to feel anxious and work better with less time but plenty of reminders. If you know when the change will happen you can mark it on the calendar and point it out regularly. If you know what the new things would be like that might help. So for example you could have it on the calendar 'the old van will go away'. You can then explain, 'we'll get a new van. It will look like this' and you can show a picture if you have one. I've known my son struggles with change way before I thought he might be autistic, but have found strategies used to help autistic kids are very helpful for helping kids deal with change so it might be worth finding out a bit in case it helps. Good luck!