My 2yr 7month old toddler scared of Slides! ......How do I guide him? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 09-02-2012, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

 

I have a 2yr and a 7 months old son. He has suddenly taken a fear for slides. He does get on most of the rides but the other day when he went to a theme park he refused to play in the play structure and refused to get on the slides. I usually encourage him a lot, give him support and tell him not to get scared. My husband on the other hand gives up easily on him and becomes irritated with him due to my sons fears and calls him a wimpy kid. It hurts me as a mother but i keep quite. The other children half his age are able to climb so easily and are not scared at all. i am not sure what i am doing wrong. I am expecting my second kid and because of a recent layoff  this pregnancy has been quite stressful. I try to take him to parks and try to get him on the play structure but once he gets on the top he chickens out. My husband is of not much help in this matter. So its up to me keep motivating him. But after so many trys still he seems to frightened and it is getting overwhelming for me. Please tell me what is the right way to approach this. The other day when we went to a theme park my son got on almost all the rides except on one which he didn't like and he said so. But my husband pushed him to do it saying that he is such a wimpy kid (before that they went to the play structure and my son was not interested and he got irritated with him). Finally my son cried so much that i pulled him out of that ride. I don't like pushing him into things he does like or feel safe. But did i do the right thing?. Should i have put him in the ride in spite of his crying. Please tell me what to do. I am finding parenting to be overwhelming and going into a depression. I am not sure if i am overreacting and trying hard to push my son.

 

My son is otherwise a very normal kid. Verbally he is excellent. He listens to commands though he does act stubborn sometimes. He runs around a lot. Very mobile kid but his fine motor skills haven't developed up to the mark. 

 

My other concerns are he still won't learn to write. Though scribbles a lot. I read a lot to him, but he is not interested in learning words. He does knows his alphabet. He does count from 1 to 20. Though i am teaching him to count the no. of items, sometimes he get counts them correctly other times he is not even interested in counting.....If there are 3 items he tells there are 6 .....and runs off to play. Am i expecting too much from my son. I have a autistic nephew and he is a genius and physically very active. And everyone in the family compares him to my son and they sort of praise him to the sky's and say my son is an unmotivated and a lazy kid. All this easily depresses me and cry when i am alone. And since its a big family and in-laws stay with us I have put up with this crap everyday. 

 

Please help me out. Is it my overactive hormones during pregnancy which are acting up or how concerned should i be. Please give the right approach to deal with this, as i am lost. Will my son not be academically good. I know he will not be a topper or a great athlete but at least i don't want him to be scared of silly thing like slides and other stuff.

 

Any advice appreciated.

 

Thank you!

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#2 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 06:54 AM
 
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You said that your son 'suddenly' became afraid of slides. That means something changed. Perhaps someone pushed him when he was at the top, or he fell off the slide when he reached the bottom. He may not be able to verbalize the problem. Be patient. Focus on what he does enjoy, and wait for signs that he's interested in trying slides again.

Your husband's attitude is more of a problem. Name calling is harmful. He needs to have patience, understanding, and support. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions for helping you bring that out in your husband. Perhaps someone else does.
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#3 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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Sudden irrational fears at that age are normal. It means your son is developmentally on-track because it shows that his imagination is working. It might seem strange that younger children are not afraid but that just means they're less developed and/or they have other, different fears.

You husband's response is not helpful and could harm your son. Ask him to stop. Instead, just redirect your son to things he enjoys. Let him see other children enjoy the slide. Perhaps go back to basics and try smaller slides. Just go slow and be supportive and encouraging.

This article might help: http://www.babycenter.com/0_easing-your-toddlers-fears_1503644.bc
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#4 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

Sudden irrational fears at that age are normal. It means your son is developmentally on-track because it shows that his imagination is working. It might seem strange that younger children are not afraid but that just means they're less developed and/or they have other, different fears.
You husband's response is not helpful and could harm your son. Ask him to stop. Instead, just redirect your son to things he enjoys. Let him see other children enjoy the slide. Perhaps go back to basics and try smaller slides. Just go slow and be supportive and encouraging.
This article might help: http://www.babycenter.com/0_easing-your-toddlers-fears_1503644.bc

 

Totally!  My DD became afraid of climbing high at that age, after almost a year of climbing up on the biggest big toy on the playground.  After about six months she stopped being afraid to get up on the tall structure, but she still mostly doesn't like to go down the slide.  We haven't done anything particular to persuade her.  I figure I am at the playground for her to play with what she wants to, not for her to play with what I want her to..... :)

 

OP, you sound like a good mom and you sound very concerned for your son's well being.  It also sounds like you are very concerned that if you don't push your son he won't develop at the right rate.  It's generally accepted that if a child doesn't have some issue interfering with his development, he can go at his own rate and develop correctly.  If there is an issue, there are interventions, but the ones that work the best usually involve meeting the child where he is at and respecting his differences - not criticizing him or forcing him to do things that scare him. 

 

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My other concerns are he still won't learn to write. Though scribbles a lot. I read a lot to him, but he is not interested in learning words. He does knows his alphabet. He does count from 1 to 20. Though i am teaching him to count the no. of items, sometimes he get counts them correctly other times he is not even interested in counting.....If there are 3 items he tells there are 6 .....and runs off to play. Am i expecting too much from my son. I have a autistic nephew and he is a genius and physically very active. And everyone in the family compares him to my son and they sort of praise him to the sky's and say my son is an unmotivated and a lazy kid. All this easily depresses me and cry when i am alone. And since its a big family and in-laws stay with us I have put up with this crap everyday.

 

He is not even three yet.  It's completely developmentally appropriate that he is not writing.  Kids dont' really have the fine motor skills to do that for some time.  You can get him big chalk and crayons and lots of time to scribble and that will strengthen his hand muscles and be fun for him.  Perhaps check in with your pediatrician so you can hear more from an expert what is considered to developmentally normal.  I'm sorry to hear your in-laws are criticizing you and about this.  Perhaps some information from your pediatrician might calm them down and get them to leave you alone?   Them criticizing him and calling him lazy is pretty irrational.  He is two!

 

Also, there is a good series of books called "your two year old" and "your three year old" which talk about what is typical in child development and these may help allay your fears: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Two-Year-Old-Louise-Bates-Ames/dp/0440506387

 

This website has some good info to: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/index.html

Under the literacy section, it says that scribbling is right on target for your son's age.

 

Finally, it might be good for you to find some support for yourself - other mom friends, a therapist, a doctor, a teacher.  It doesn't sound like you have a very supportive environment.


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#5 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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I read these posts to my son, who disagrees with the irrational fear. When smaller and lighter, the fall isn't as dangerous, because they don't fall as fast. His theory is the child has grown and is more aware that the fall is more dangerous because of additional weight.

There might be some truth to that. As the child gets bigger and heavier, a trip and fall results in more pain, so it would be rational to think that a fall from a height would be more painful and therefore scary.
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#6 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 05:00 PM
 
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Is there a reason he needs to slide?  It's o.k. for him to be scared to slide and he needs to hear you tell him that.  "I understand that you're scared to go down the slide.  It's o.k. to be scared.  Someday you'll feel ready to go down the slide again and I'm bet you'll have a lot of fun with it."  or something along those lines.  Children need to hear that whatever they are feeling - even "negative" emotions - is o.k.  They need to be able to trust themselves.  And by all means absolutely DO NOT push him to learn writing and math skills if he's not interested in it.  That is one of the best ways to turn him off of learning for good.  He's way to young to be expected to write.  He is busy learning tons of other things about the world right now, and if you push learning skills that he has no internal motivation to learn yet it may be counterproductive.  

 

It sounds like you are a very caring mother under a lot of stress from your family's expectations.  I second what one of the previous posters said about finding some support for yourself.


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#7 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Brambleberry View Post

Is there a reason he needs to slide?  It's o.k. for him to be scared to slide and he needs to hear you tell him that.  "I understand that you're scared to go down the slide.  It's o.k. to be scared.  Someday you'll feel ready to go down the slide again and I'm bet you'll have a lot of fun with it."  or something along those lines.  Children need to hear that whatever they are feeling - even "negative" emotions - is o.k.  They need to be able to trust themselves.  And by all means absolutely DO NOT push him to learn writing and math skills if he's not interested in it.  That is one of the best ways to turn him off of learning for good.  He's way to young to be expected to write.  He is busy learning tons of other things about the world right now, and if you push learning skills that he has no internal motivation to learn yet it may be counterproductive.  

It sounds like you are a very caring mother under a lot of stress from your family's expectations.  I second what one of the previous posters said about finding some support for yourself.


NO, NO, NO! Never say it's ok to be scared to a young child. That can be heard as 'make sure you *remain* scared'.

YES, YES, YES! Always say it's ok to not want to do something. That can be heard as 'be true to your feelings'.

So, other than the wording, I agree with the intention of the poster. Let him know it's ok to not want to do something, including sliding.
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#8 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 06:35 PM
 
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My son is going through a similar thing with pools and lakes, and other deep water. Last summer, he loved to hang on to me and go in the pool, but this summer, he cries if I try to get him to--he even is very concerned if I'm in the pool. When we've gone, it's typically been with my mom, who is really concerned about him being "scared of water"--not really an accurate way to put it, as he loves to play in shallow water. She constantly badgers him to get in the pool and tries to show him how fun it is. The other night, we went to my friend's house, where they have a pool. I swam a bit, and my husband didn't feel like it, so he sat out with our son. I think we asked him if he wanted to put his feet in *once* and then left him alone about it. He had fun playing catch with my friend's husband, who was in the pool. He had a great time. By the end, he *was* putting his feet in and splashing with his hands, although he still didn't want to get in. It was the most positive pool experience we have had all summer--and just because no one tried to push him. He'll get back in the pool when he's ready, and we can facilitate that by not forcing it. I think the slide thing might be similar. You can give your son opportunities to explore play structures, but try to find ways of letting him play how he wants or needs to. 

 

It would probably help if your husband would lay off about it, too, but I know (because my mom is like this) some people just think this is the way to help a kid grow.

 

And yeah, it's totally normal for your 2.5-year-old to be uninterested in letters and writing and stuff. Seriously. Did you know that kids in Norway, which consistently has super high test scores on all those international exams, don't start learning to read at school until they are SEVEN? And yet, they're outclassing the rest of us. Toddlers have a million other and more important things to learn.


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#9 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 06:36 PM
 
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It sounds like there's a lot of stress and change in your family right now - which you and your preschooler are both reacting to.

Play structures and theme parks are supposed to be fun. It doesn't matter so much what each individual child chooses to do on them, the point is to explore and have a good time. It shouldn't matter if he gets to the top and needs help, or declines to go down the slide, or spends the whole time hiding under a platform. There's not some kind of rule that he must do x, y and z. And I would absolutely not put a crying child on a ride, unless I harbored a burning desire to feature as a bad parent on YouTube.

In terms of writing and counting, he sounds developmentally fine. His cousin may hit certain milestones earlier, but there's nothing wrong with where your boy is at.

Your child is not unmotivated or lazy. He's two and a half. Repeat this to anyone you think needs to hear it. He's not wimpy either. He's two and a half. If he needs a hand off the top of the monkey bars or a reminder that you do need sixteen, well, two and a half. Say it as often as seems reasonable to you.

Can you get to the playground without adult company? Because it sounds like you and your ds could use a breather.
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#10 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 07:02 PM
 
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NO, NO, NO! Never say it's ok to be scared to a young child. That can be heard as 'make sure you *remain* scared'.
YES, YES, YES! Always say it's ok to not want to do something. That can be heard as 'be true to your feelings'.
So, other than the wording, I agree with the intention of the poster. Let him know it's ok to not want to do something, including sliding.

I completely disagree. I think it's extremely important to let small children know that you hear and understand them and that any/all of the feelings that they have are appropriate.


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#11 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 07:07 PM
 
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eeek- it sounds like the main problem is your husband constantly telling your baby he is whimply! how sad! Please tr to get him to stop doing this at once. BEtter to tell the kid he is smart and kind and whatever he is good at. If he is afraid to go on the slide it may be because he feels pressure to not trust his own feelings and to try to be good for his dad who sounds like he ends up disapproving anyway- so the kid is in a tough spot.

Better to say- okay honey, you don't want to go on the slides lets go do something you want to do. sliding and playing at the park should be fun and relaxing not pressure to perform and overcome fears before they are ready. The most important thing is for the parents to instill a sense of security within the child by making them feel both good about themselves and supported in their choices if they feel scared. Take all th pressure off of sliding. Have your husband stop criticizing him. And then when he is older and feels more comfortble, then see if he chooses to go on the slides. Good luck!

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#12 of 18 Old 09-04-2012, 05:43 AM
 
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I completely disagree. I think it's extremely important to let small children know that you hear and understand them and that any/all of the feelings that they have are appropriate.

I agree that it is important to listen to the feelings of others!

I *dis*agree with *telling* a person what he or she is feeling!!

Specifically, to someone (anyone) who says "I'm scared", saying "everyone feels scared sometimes, that's normal" is fine.

To someone who is just saying "no, I don't want to", without giving a reason, it is *very* important to avoid jumping to conclusions! Especially with young children!!! You can actually put the idea in the child's head!

My son was never afraid of heights. He was climbing our dogwood one spring day while I worked on our taxes. Because he had no one to spot him, he had to stay fairly low in the tree. (My rule.) When his father got home, he asked his father to spot him. His father agreed, so my son climbed higher. Then he stopped. ASSUMING he was afraid, his father started telling him it was ok to be scared. At that moment he *became* afraid!! My husband never understood what he had done. After, I talked with my son, and it turned out he had stopped because he had bumped his head on a branch and wanted to rub it before going on. However, his father's words caused him to be paralyzed with fear!

Be careful. That's what I'm saying.
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#13 of 18 Old 09-04-2012, 05:45 AM
 
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eeek- it sounds like the main problem is your husband constantly telling your baby he is whimply! how sad! Please tr to get him to stop doing this at once. BEtter to tell the kid he is smart and kind and whatever he is good at. If he is afraid to go on the slide it may be because he feels pressure to not trust his own feelings and to try to be good for his dad who sounds like he ends up disapproving anyway- so the kid is in a tough spot.
Better to say- okay honey, you don't want to go on the slides lets go do something you want to do. sliding and playing at the park should be fun and relaxing not pressure to perform and overcome fears before they are ready. The most important thing is for the parents to instill a sense of security within the child by making them feel both good about themselves and supported in their choices if they feel scared. Take all th pressure off of sliding. Have your husband stop criticizing him. And then when he is older and feels more comfortble, then see if he chooses to go on the slides. Good luck!

This is what I was trying to convey!
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#14 of 18 Old 09-04-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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I agree that it is important to listen to the feelings of others!
I *dis*agree with *telling* a person what he or she is feeling!!
Specifically, to someone (anyone) who says "I'm scared", saying "everyone feels scared sometimes, that's normal" is fine.
To someone who is just saying "no, I don't want to", without giving a reason, it is *very* important to avoid jumping to conclusions! Especially with young children!!! You can actually put the idea in the child's head!
My son was never afraid of heights. He was climbing our dogwood one spring day while I worked on our taxes. Because he had no one to spot him, he had to stay fairly low in the tree. (My rule.) When his father got home, he asked his father to spot him. His father agreed, so my son climbed higher. Then he stopped. ASSUMING he was afraid, his father started telling him it was ok to be scared. At that moment he *became* afraid!! My husband never understood what he had done. After, I talked with my son, and it turned out he had stopped because he had bumped his head on a branch and wanted to rub it before going on. However, his father's words caused him to be paralyzed with fear!
Be careful. That's what I'm saying.


Gotcha. I thought you were saying that if he said he was scared that it wasnt okay to say "everyone feels scared sometimes..." I agree.


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#15 of 18 Old 09-04-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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I think it is completely normal for him to be afraid of the slide all of a sudden. It just means he is maturing and being able to imagine things and see cause and effect. Basically, he realizes he is able to get hurt from things. And climbing a slide and falling can hurt.

My DD, who always loved the slide, became afraid and hesitant at that age too.

The only thing that helped was me asking her if she would like me to go with her. She did, and after a few times of me going with her, she was fine again. Now her big thing is trying to climb up the slide.

 

Also, I think your son is absolutely normal in terms of development. Scribbles at that age are normal and appropriate. I think that if he was writing anything at that age, he would be ahead of the curve. I think the best bet is to read to him, give him time to do crafts/painting/scibbling, count things with him (like count the blocks as you put them away), etc. He will start doing all of that soon enough.

 

You absolutely have to tell your husband and your family that calling your kid names is hurtful and abusive. He is going to cause that poor little boy so much hurt and ache.

What kind of man bullies a kid?


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#16 of 18 Old 09-05-2012, 09:16 AM
 
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#17 of 18 Old 09-05-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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On top of agreeing with what everyone else says about the slide, about your husband damaging him by calling him a wimp, and not pushing him on riding down the slide or whatever right now...the stuff about writing is ridiculous.  My kids, both very bright according to their school, were not even remotely interested in writing their names until they were in Kindergarten - 5 years old.  They also so not like drawing or coloring particularly, so their art skills are not as advanced as their peers because they don't do it much.  I am not sweating it one single bit...when they do become interested in things, they master them quickly so we just keep occasionally offering stuff and they eventually take it on without any trauma or drama.  

 

I feel so bad for your son being exposed to all those family members making things hard on him...PLEASE be a soft, supportive spot for him, and stand up for him to your family.  He's NOT EVEN THREE.  He's so beyond fine and normal.  


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#18 of 18 Old 09-10-2012, 09:42 PM
 
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My 23 month old recently became terrified of cracks, in the pavement, in a bridge, on the play equipment. This has often left him paralized on the play equipment when he looks down and realized that the play equipment isn't totally solid. I always just ask "Do you want to keep going?" or "Would you like my help?" some times he says "Yes" and I hold his hand as he very very slowly climbs up. Or sometimes he says "No, I want ma-ma" and if he says that I pick him up and take him to something else that he enjoys more. I never push him to do it. Some day he will all on his own, but I do offer help and sometimes he accepts it. 

 

You husband is the one who needs to change, your son is simply being a child. Its normal and ok to be scared sometimes. Offer help, but don't push. One day he will want to do it and he will. Also it is NOT normal to be writing at all at that age. Scribbles are what is normal for some time now. between 3-4 he will start trying to write. Don't push the letters at all yet. Just provide lots of fun ways to draw. 

 

Good luck. Honestly I would just AVOID those situations for a little while. No point in going to the playground if it isn't fun for your son! Try again in a few weeks! 


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