Are These Normal Behaviors? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-26-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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These might be normal, but none of my other mom friends seem to struggle with these issues, so I thought I would ask on here. I have two things...


My 2 year old daughter is "shy" I guess you could call it. Literally ever since she was a baby she has cried when most men even look at her and really most strangers. I feel like for a long time this has been understandable and I can tell people, sorry, she's just shy. But I feel like she's at an age where it's not as ok for her to scream at someone in the grocery store for just looking at her and saying hi. Sometimes she cries, but most of the time, she just yells NO at them and starts to have a fit... just because they look at her and smile. I really don't know what to do about this. I want to be sensitive to the fact that she's shy, but I'm trying to figure out a way to handle the situation where she's not rude. Any advice would be appreciated.


And I'm trying to figure out a way to deal with her "pickiness." She has started throwing fits over THE strangest things and it's really frustrating to me because I don't understand them. Yesterday she threw a fit because she didn't want me to look in the mirror. Like, she wasn't even in the same room as me, and she saw me looking in the mirror and started throwing a fit telling me not to look in the mirror and trying to close the door on me. Then today she got mad because someone else closed the car door instead of me. Then she didn't want to go into a particular store at the mall and threw a fit about it. It's seriously the strangest things that make no sense at all, and then she throws a huge fit over them. When we are in the middle of this, I feel like she is acting like she's a spoiled child. Has anyone else dealt with anything similar to this? I think it would just help me to know that it's relatively normal. Also if you have an explanation of why she acts this way, I feel like that would help me be more sensitive and patient.


Thanks so much!

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#2 of 6 Old 01-26-2012, 08:53 PM
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Sorry in advance if htis is disjointed... I'm so sleepy!


Your daughter sounds totally normal and usual.  I laughed when I read the thing about the mirror, because we have had that in our house recently.  "You looked at me!"  "You ate my cheese puff!" (when I didn't.... she kept pointing to the empty spot in the bowl, so finally I just shook it and she smiled and sat down to eat...)  "This is my pillow!"  DP's response is usually to chuckle, withdraw, and ignore.  It works as well as anything else.  On any given day, my daughter (2.5) is yelling at me from the bathroom, "Kitty is looking at me!  Make him stop looking at me! AHHHHH MAKE HIM STOPPPPP"  And I'm like, "Jeez, just don't look back!" 


DD is also pretty shy.  In public, I let her hide her face in my shirt.  We did this for a solid two aggravating months, but now she's not so shy.  I figure, she is two, if people are going to get mad about it, sorry.  And politeness and manners matter a great deal to me, but she is a baby.  We are working on those manners, but it's not going to happen all at once.  It can be really hard though, when you feel like it then reflects on you as a parent.  At least, for me it is.  :)


For tantrums about odd things, at home it's "easy" to deal with, lol.  If it's something fixable, we fix it.  If it's not practical, kind, or possible, I empathize very briefly, let her know I am there, and then I let her work out her angry in any way she sees fit so long as it's not destructive or harming others.  Sometimes I just walk to another corner of the room and get quietly interested in somethign else.  As soon as the sounds of rage have passed, I offer comfort.  Now that she is a bit older, I can sometimes head things off with an offer to throw scarves at each other.  :)  Occasionally, "hey, do you like that feeling?"  "nooooo......" "want to get rid of it?"  "Yeah......."  [insert fun, distracting physical activity here]


When we are out, I just pick her up, empathize quickly, and walk off to someplace private so she can cry it out in peace, and I don't feel like everyone is watching and judging me/us.  :)


IME, it is fruitless to try and reason with her while she is in the throes of anger.  She just has to hit the wall of futility on her own.  I guess I had to learn futility as well.... lol


Regarding spoiled - perhaps you are having some of your own buttons pushed?  I have a button like this: I get irritated when little kids ask for things too freely, because at the root, I think asking for things is spoiled.  I don't think I am allowed to ask for things - in a way that is pretty unhealthy, because I don't ask for help nearly as much as I should.  So I have bad boundaries there, and so on some level, I think I respond with some resentment, "I can't ask for this so neither should you."  "If I ask for help, I am selfish."  "If I want something, I am selfish."

Before I was aware of this belief I had, I would resent my friend's daughter asking me to make things for her (because she knows I have made things for her and she likes the things I make!).  It felt greedy or spoiled.  But then I realized that I can say "no, I've got other tasks to do," and I can even tell her, "Hey, this is how I like to be asked for things, and this is how I like to be thanked when I've made them."  She's a little kid, so it's my job as the elder to inform her so that she can learn - because they all do want to learn and fit in.  Once I saw it that way, I didn't feel that judgement so acutely toward her or myself.  But I am still working on it.  :)


Finally, I bet more people than you would guess struggle with this.  If not, their kids probably arent' the right age.  ;)

DD1 6/2009 DD2 5/1/2013-5/5/2013 (HIE) DS 3/2014
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#3 of 6 Old 01-27-2012, 07:44 AM
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My DD waited until three to have tantrums for the most part but they are also expected for two year Oldsmobile. She also didn't like other people looking at me because I was, in her words, her mama. When she was little she was "shy "but I never said it or made a big deal of it, I just modeled polite conversation while holding her and by the time she was three and a half she felt comfortable trying conversations out (and it feels like she hasn't stopped greeting people since). I know you want to honor her shyness but at her age it is probably just age related not true shyness. I suggest taking all focus off of her and having the conversation for her. If she screams you can say with a sigh that it is one of those days, most people understand this statement because they have been there.

Do you usually go out shortly after looking in a mirror? She may associate mirrors with you leaving or it being almost time fir both of you to go somewhere. My DD used to get very upset when I out my hair up, from a very young age, because that is what I did before going to work. It may be that some if the silly things have an association that makes sense to her. Getting upset for trivial reasons can also be caused by hunger, sleepiness, not feeling well, etc... but it is still normal and hard to help children through.
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#4 of 6 Old 01-27-2012, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your advice and wisdom. This makes me feel much better and give me some things to think about. I feel better also knowing that this is normal behavior! :)

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#5 of 6 Old 01-28-2012, 05:00 PM
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I don't have time for a long post, but I did want to chime in quickly and say yes, totally normal behaviour!  BTDT (and still working on the shyness with 4yo ds... I tell him it's ok if he feels too shy to say "hi", he can just wave instead.. and that usually works... but then again he's 4, not 2.)

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#6 of 6 Old 01-29-2012, 09:21 AM
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I have twin boys and one of my boys had the picky issue you describe.  For example, he would get really upset if I wore certain clothes, and when we updated his bed spread when he was 2 1/2, he was hysterical about it.  (Sadly, my mother had made the new quilts and was there to witness his meltdown!)  I just comforted him and in the case of the quilt, we waited until he was ready.  For my clothes, I just said, "I'm sorry it upsets you, but they're my clothes and this is what I'm wearing."    At the time I thought it was strange, but normal.  He's 9 now and is the most level-headed guy you can imagine.  My advice-- don't agree to toddler rules but give your dd freedom to make choices, comfort as necessary, and don't worry about any long-term issues because she's just being a toddler. 


About the shyness-- he was also my shy twin. (Actually he was reserved more than shy and remains so to this day.)  I think it's fine for your dd to not respond to strangers at this age, but yelling at them is rude.  I wouldn't be OK with that.  I would probably coach her before going into a store or anywhere you think it might happen, and talk about better ways to respond.  You might tell her to look away, look at you, smile back, etc.  But I would say it's not OK to yell at someone who is just trying to be nice.  



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