At my wits end. :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 08-20-2014, 06:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy At my wits end. :(

I have three children. My youngest is 3.5 years old and he is a runner. He runs and hides. He does not care if I come after him quickly, or let him wait in the hiding spot. He doesn't not care if it is someplace dangerous (like a parking lot). He doesn't not stop even if I am panicking and screaming.

I have nothing left...I have tried.....rewarding him for not running, trying things away for running, giving him Time Outs, making him ride in a car (push toy thing), carrying him screaming, hiding on him, saying good bye and walking the other way........AND NONE OF IT WORKS..

And he won't walk holding my hand.

SO....I have two last choices....either stay home all the time...which doesn't seem fair to my daughters.....or use a safety harness.

Either of those choices....really upset me.

He is 3.5 years old....and should have outgrown this.

Now I am wondering....is there something wrong? Should I be worried that he will always be like this?

I am just at my wits end and just really not enjoying this anymore.
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#2 of 16 Old 08-21-2014, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoS View Post
I have three children. My youngest is 3.5 years old and he is a runner. He runs and hides. He does not care if I come after him quickly, or let him wait in the hiding spot. He doesn't not care if it is someplace dangerous (like a parking lot). He doesn't not stop even if I am panicking and screaming.

I have nothing left...I have tried.....rewarding him for not running, trying things away for running, giving him Time Outs, making him ride in a car (push toy thing), carrying him screaming, hiding on him, saying good bye and walking the other way........AND NONE OF IT WORKS..

And he won't walk holding my hand.

SO....I have two last choices....either stay home all the time...which doesn't seem fair to my daughters.....or use a safety harness.

Either of those choices....really upset me.

He is 3.5 years old....and should have outgrown this.

Now I am wondering....is there something wrong? Should I be worried that he will always be like this?

I am just at my wits end and just really not enjoying this anymore.
i am interested why you have such a hard time with a harness? your son seems to be the perfect example of why one needs one.

but that is a personal choice.

if you do feel his running away is an issue - which it may or may not be, can you get the school involved and do some evaluations.

but mama come out of that ' will he always be like this'. from personal experience i will tell you that is a huge parenting succer. living in fear really saps your own parenting skills.

also please remember a diagnosis comes out of a range of issue - not just one. he has to be showing other signs too of not listening.

in the meantime it seems the best solution for your peace of mind is the restraint.

i hope you have a lot of support mama. you sound like you are at teh end of your line. i hope you get to take care of yourself too.

((((((HUGS))))))

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#3 of 16 Old 08-22-2014, 12:02 PM
 
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Use the harness. We used one and never had a second thought about it and the kid was normal.

If you are really concerned about that behavior at his age, ask your ped about it.

Getting upset does not help. Just take a deep breath.

Last edited by tadamsmar; 08-22-2014 at 02:10 PM.
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#4 of 16 Old 08-22-2014, 12:12 PM
 
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Absolutely - either use a harness (they have cute ones that look like animal - backpacks: you hold the tail) or put him in a stroller. I would choose harness, but whatever works for you.



As per whether to worry - a soft maybe.

The flight issues plus lack of responding to consequences for behaviour say ASD to me - but I could very well be wrong.

Good luck, mama.

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#5 of 16 Old 08-22-2014, 12:21 PM
 
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My mother used a harness on me as a child - and it was not a cute, non-obtrusive one, lol!

My mom rocks. Love her. No therapy over the harness. Take it easy on yourself.

Kathy

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#6 of 16 Old 08-22-2014, 01:42 PM
 
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I don't think that's outside the realm of normal at 3.5. My biggest bolter didn't start doing it until around that age...my sanity saver was a neighborhood park with a double barrier. Finally I could sit down instead of chasing!
Give the harness a try, what's the harm if it works? He might even like it; I never got around to getting one (she outgrew the phase fairly quickly) but my runner was always asking to "be a doggie" with a playsilk tied to her beltloop so I took advantage of that often!
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#7 of 16 Old 08-23-2014, 04:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
My mother used a harness on me as a child - and it was not a cute, non-obtrusive one, lol!

My mom rocks. Love her. No therapy over the harness. Take it easy on yourself.

Kathy
Kathy, I am another harness survivor', no therapy either! Mine was white leather and was called "reigns"!
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#8 of 16 Old 08-23-2014, 10:18 PM
 
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use the harness or use a stroller. it's not fair to anyone if you stay home all the time. Maybe he likes seeing the reaction he gets from running. Just a thought.

If this is the only issue, it's normal.

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#9 of 16 Old 08-24-2014, 12:11 AM
 
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Personally, I'd go with the harness. I would hate to give up the outside world, but you can't give up safety.

I know there are several times when I did things that we never thought we'd do to keep our kids from creating risks for themselves. I used the Bumbo as a trap for my daughter when she first became really mobile so that I could do things that required my brief but full attention (she was a little monkey and got out of play yards, etc), never thought I'd do that.
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#10 of 16 Old 08-24-2014, 09:14 AM
 
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There's nothing wrong with a harness. I used one for my youngest once in a while. My little brother wore one pretty much all the time for about a year or two. He's now a normal, functioning adult.

Not sure the ages of your other kiddos, but could you carry him across parking lots until you get to a safe area(playground, etc)? Or perhaps carry him until you can strap him into a shopping cart?

When my kids were that age, I would give them one chance to hold my hand across the parking lot. The second they let go, I would pick them up. They gradually learned that if they want the independence of walking, they would have to behave appropriately. It worked really well. Took a couple of years though... In the meantime, get a harness.


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#11 of 16 Old 08-24-2014, 10:07 PM
 
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I can remember 3.5 -4 with my boys. My one rowdier boy loved, and still does love, to push my buttons when it comes to things that make me panic... For instance, he used to lick things and stare up at me to see my reaction. At first I would go nuts, but then after a long while, I let it go and he stopped when I stopped giving him the attention he wanted for the behavior. Running out into the street is more dangerous, though. My advice- go with the harness as the other moms have suggested, and cut yourself some slack for doing so. Safety comes first. Especially when you have other little ones plus yourself to worry about crossing streets and parking areas safely. I have never used a harness, but I have seen parents use them several times and it doesnt seem that the child was uncomfortable or upset by it. On the plus side, from my experience with testy little boys, I think you're little guy will eventually grow out of wanting to drive you nuts in that way. Given nothing more serious is going on with him, I think he will. Can I ask if his behavior is still the same if the destination is somewhere that he wants to go to? For example, if you were taking him to the train museum and you let him know that you guys could only stay if he stayed by you and was safe, would he still run off on you? I understand you will have to take him to less interesting places, but thinking about that might help you narrow down whats going on for him. If its boredom, maybe give him the option of earning a visit somewhere he wants to go in exchange for good behavior while running errands? How old are his sisters? I was thinking that since he doesnt want to hold your hand, maybe he would rather cross the street holding hands with his big sister?

I wish I had more suggestions, but I hope this helps some.

Good luck!
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#12 of 16 Old 11-07-2014, 04:49 AM
 
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This is a difficult situation indeed... Personally I feel that a harness is that of last resort... In the security industry there are administrative controls (you will do something, or something bad happens) or technical controls (you can't do something because I won't let you).

The problem with technical controls is that if they aren't automatic, you run the risk of forgetting, or the child will get away from you before the device is hooked up...

I would highly suggest a combination of clear administrative controls. You will stay close, or I will put you in the cart basket and not let you walk in the store... That one seemed to work for me. After shopping for 7 people, there isn't much room left and the fun is gone...

Another tactic I have used with all 6 of my kids is to walk with them through the parking lots and remind them that "cars have teeth". I know that sounds absolutely nuts, and I know people in the parking lot thinks I've lost my ever loving mind - but my kids haven't been hit yet (thank GOD!)

I still have periodic issues with my 5 year old running off in Walmart and hiding in the clothes... I pick him up and put him in the cart no matter how loud he protests. If it's too loud I prioritize what I need and get in, then out as quickly as possible.

Not all methods work for every child... Try to think outside the box if these or other methods do not work. Just please don't rely only on the harness.... Use it to help out in the most extreme situations.
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#13 of 16 Old 11-07-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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I don't have any personal experience with a "runner" kid, but my son at about 3 started holding his own hand (that is, clasping his hands) and refusing to hold mine while walking farther away from me than I felt was safe, and he seemed to drift even farther away while crossing streets! What worked for me was explaining to him why cars are such a risk. First, I explained that the car itself can't see you and doesn't decide where to go; all that is done by the driver. If you can't see the driver's eyes, the driver can't see you. This is why a short person is at more risk than a tall person and will be safer staying close to a tall person who is more easily seen. We walked around our parked car looking at the headrest (because that's right behind where the driver's eyes would be) so he could see that the closer he got to the car, the less visible he was. Then I held him up with his head next to mine to show him how much more visible I am.

It also helped to talk a lot about how we know when it's safe to cross a street or a traffic lane in a parking lot. It's not just about lights, marked crosswalks, etc., but about making eye contact with drivers, looking at turn signals, looking which way the front wheels are angled, watching the speed of a car, etc. I started this while my son was still in the sling, and when he started walking he knew to pause on the curb and look around. But like I said, he was not a "runner". I'm thinking that if you engage your son in learning to watch for safety hazards--instead of talking about what you're going to buy in the store, or not talking--it might help him better understand why he shouldn't run away recklessly, as well as keeping him closer to you so he can hear what you're saying.

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#14 of 16 Old 11-10-2014, 11:58 AM
 
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Why do people have problems with harnesses? I've never heard a good argument against it. As a child, I was a runner as well and my mom got me a harness, and I thought it was fun. I pretended that I was a dog... Never needed one for my daughter, but she is a little anxious and doesn't like to be far away from me, for better and worse.
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#15 of 16 Old 11-11-2014, 11:55 AM
 
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If you are really against a harness I would hold their hand. No choice. If they refuse you pick him up. Tiring, yes. Safe, yes. He will learn to hold your hand if he wants to walk. Explain to him why you need to hold his hand and leave it at that. To be honest, my 3yo holds my hand around any cars anyway. You never know when a butterfly or ball will catch their eye and run. It only takes a second. So yeah, I would hold a hand and then pick them up and walk.
Or I would get a stroller, sit them in it and explain that until they hold my hand, they are in the stroller.
Hopefully he outgrows this soon so you can have a more relaxed time while out.
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#16 of 16 Old Yesterday, 01:12 PM
 
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We used a harness with my now 7 year old when he was about this age. It was a monkey backpack with a leash, and he actually enjoyed wearing his "monkey tail." I felt I had to do it because of a few near heart-attacks in public places. Not fair to anyone else to have him running off and mama panicking for whatever reason. At the time, my daughter was a new walker, so she'd be playing at the library or whatever, and DS would just take off. I had to grab her, put her in the stroller, and take off to find DS. Too stressful. Just let him wear a "monkey tail" or a "dog tail" or whatever. I'm actually considering bringing it back out for DS2 who is getting into the running stage. I'm pregnant AND have two other young children to look after. Ain't nobody got time for that! It may not even be a long time before he matures a little and gets over this stage.

Actually, I'm a joyful mom of three and counting! (I was a tad short-sighted when picking my username!) Married to DH since 2006, mom of DS (2007), DD (2009), DS2 (2012) and a new little one expected early May 2015!
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