My almost 4 year old can't make a decision!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-02-2010, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if wrong forum. Not sure if he's a "toddler" or a "child"

My DS is almost 4... Incredibly verbal, no developmental challenges, My hunch is he's possibly gifted...

He never had troubles like this before but making decisions all of a sudden has become IMPOSSIBLE for him.

Example: there is an awesome bookstore that has great used books for $1. They had a deal that you got a bottle of water and a tattoo (cheesy temp ones, of course) with a purchase. DS looked at a lot of books for a LONG TIME and looked striken... so I picked 3 that I thought he would like and asked him to chose. He would not chose... so I told him that I would chose for him and he could pick the tattoo and have his water. He refused to let me chose.

So, I made it easier the next day and picked two pairs of shorts - one he LOVES and one he says are scratchy... "which one?" He again looked striken and stared at them after a few minutes? I said " are the blue ones more comfortable? I'll leave the room and let you decide in peace." 10 minutes later? I asked him... he had no choice.... "let's wear the blue ones, OK?" and he screamed "I can't chose"

TV shows? He'll go without a show because he can't chose.
We rarely do candy but we went to lunch and the gave us those star mints in three flavors and I let him pick... he left without eating candy because he couldn't chose (we solemnly added the mints to the candy jar so he could pick later - still hasn't chosen)

Making a shield and painting it? can't finish it... He won't chose a COLOR and won't let me chose!

Food? ack! I feel like I could offer him steak (his fav) or chili (his least fav) and he'd freak out.

It's only been 2 weeks but TWO LONG WEEKS.

I don't think it's a manipulative ploy to see if he can get both pieces of candy or he's waiting for a bribe... doesn't feel that way.. he's honestly freaked out

Developmentally normal??

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#2 of 5 Old 09-02-2010, 09:08 PM
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It sounds to me like he's realized that making a choice means losing the other option, and for some kids that can be paralyzing. "If I choose blue, that means I can't have red. I want both."

What if you stopped giving him choices? Just for a little bit so he's not forced to. It might ease his burden.

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#3 of 5 Old 06-08-2012, 03:28 PM
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Wow!  Just started having this problem with my almost 4 y/o daughter.  Every day starts off badly because of the dressing problem.  She wants me to pick her clothes and then, when I do, they are not the right ones.  When I tell HER to pick, she says she doesn't know what to wear and can't pick, so it's a catch-22.  Takes forever and ends in a total meltdown.  She also likes to tell us who should do what for her.  If she wants a book and I hand it to her, she'll say "no, i want daddy to give it to me".  She will not take book from me and will get upset until daddy gives it to her.    


She started to have defiant tantrums in March, usually over something small.  This non-decision behavior is new but getting worse every day.  I have 2 other kids (16 and 11 and also girls) who were NEVER like this (same dad, same household, same upbringing) so this is killing me.  


I see that your post was in 2010, but if you see this and have any advice for me I'll take it!!  Please tell me it was just a phase and it got better! :)

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#4 of 5 Old 06-11-2012, 09:33 AM
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When DD was about that age, I taught her how to flip a coin.  Still works.  (You have to narrow it down to 2 options for him first for it to work, obviously.) 

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#5 of 5 Old 06-11-2012, 09:42 AM
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The coin idea isn't bad, actually.

My 7yo used to be really indecisive, but never to the degree where she would become angry about it. Just sort of apathetic.
Hopefully you don't take offence to this next part, but your son's behavior kind of reminds a bit of an autistic boy we had at the kindergarten I work at. He would display similar behavior when he was given choices, especially when other people were watching.

I don't suppose he's been tested, has he?

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