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My little one is two, and has recently started getting very upset, sometimes, when people look at her. She'll say, "Mama! Mama!" to get my attention, and then, pointing to a friend, "No look! No look at you!" (you=me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ). I can't tell what triggers this; it seems kind of random. I should add that dd is very into "personal space," and will also get upset sometimes if other toddlers invade what she perceives to be her personal space. "Space! Space!" she'll yell... So the "Don't look at me" think is not out of character.<br><br>
My question is, how should I respond? I guess what I need is a succinct little script. I want to convey to her that what someone else is looking at is not something she (or I) can control -- I know she's young, but I want to introduce at least the language for the concept of personal sovereignty. I also want to give her tools for finding a way to deal with the situation.<br><br>
So far I've tried things like "We can all look at whatever we like. If you don't like Joe to look at you, why don't you watch out the window instead at that red bird, so you won't even notice." But I'm not sure that this is really addressing her underlying need? It doesn't seem to help much.<br><br>
Any insight welcome!
 

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I dont know if this would work, but it made me think of that movie with Adam Sandler and the kid he adopt. The kid would want to dissappear, so Adam gave him a pair of "invisible" glasses. When the kid would put them on, Adam pretended he couldn't see him, like they made him invisible. It's not really addressing a need, but it may help her feel like she has some control.
 

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Are you sure that what she's trying to communicate is "Don't look at me"?<br><br>
Dd had (still has) some hard-to-decipher wording, mixing up tense and subject, and such.<br><br>
Could she be saying, 'No, look at me.'? Or trying to get you (or the other person) to stop looking at one the other or around, and rather, at her?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>PrennaMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8720595"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Are you sure that what she's trying to communicate is "Don't look at me"?<br><br>
Dd had (still has) some hard-to-decipher wording, mixing up tense and subject, and such.<br><br>
Could she be saying, 'No, look at me.'? Or trying to get you (or the other person) to stop looking at one the other or around, and rather, at her?</div>
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That's a good question, but yes, I'm sure. The message is unmistakable (gestures etc.). Thanks for making me double-check with myself, though! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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DS does the exact same thing. A few days ago, he actually said (in a rude tone), "NO! Don't look at me!" to his grandma and pushed her face away.<br><br>
He was very tired and hungry at the time, which I'm sure was the cause. She hadn't seen him in a week, and she was in his face trying to cheer him up and make him laugh.<br><br>
I handled the situation by removing him to another room to cool down. I told him that I knew he was tired and wanted some quiet time, and if he doesn't want to talk, he should tell grandma that in a nice voice. I also told him that it hurt her when he hit her face and asked him to apologize. When we went back in, he did say he was sorry to her, but he still didn't feel like socializing until after he'd eaten.<br><br>
I think it's great that she's aware that she needs her space and knows how to ask for it. Maybe she feels pressured to interact with someone who is looking at her? Maybe she senses that the toy she's playing with is being coveted by somebody else? I think a 'script' for her is a wonderful idea.
 

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Ds also does this and has for a awhile. He is 3.5y. Usually it comes up with my mother. "Don't look at me!" "Don't say anything to me." I think that for him it is an over-stimulation thing. He is just not ready to interact at that moment (tired, overwhelmed, looking for personal space, etc.). My mom can be overwhelming/overstimulating/playfully antagonistic and he will go into defense mode if he is not in a place to handle dealing with her.<br><br>
I've try to remind him that this is all OK. We talk about using a gentle voice to explain how he feels. I've suggested that he whisper to me his desire to leave the room when he doesn't want to interact (if he needs my help to get out of the situation) or just leave on his own. I can't say it always works <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> .<br><br>
Thinking about it, he sometimes does this with younger kids too, if someone approaches him (park, store) and he is not ready to interact. I think it is the unpredictability of younger people that can stress him. If he is unsure about what he will be "called" upon to do in a social situation when he is feeling drained already, he is far more sensitive to unwanted attention.<br><br>
I really see it as a defense/protection mode and try to support him through it. It just seems like a situation in which he is feeling very small and powerless in a big, unpredictable world and is using his only tool (yelling) to help him get to a "safer" place.<br><br>
Right now I think it's a developmentally appropriate response (especially at your dc's age). I'm sure that the means to get to this end will eventually become more socially appropriate.<br><br>
Eta: I reread your op and realized I didn't give any specific suggestions. So...<br><br>
I will get very close to ds in these situations (pick him up, kneel down to him) so he feels protected and validate what he has expressed (you don't want to be looked at, you are not ready to talk yet, etc.) Often I'll give him the more gentle, respectfull way to say what he may be feeling (I'm not ready to talk. etc.) Then I'll try to let him know that I'll deal with this interaction until he is ready to join in (I'll talk to so-and-so and you can join in later if you want. You need some privacy right now...I'll hold you/let's move over here to a quiet spot for awhile).<br><br>
Like I mentioned this hasn't worked 100% but it has gotten better. Sometimes it just takes him a minute or two to come around and want to interact.<br><br>
Hope some of this is helpful for you.
 
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