Mothering Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 3-year-old ds has started this thing where whenever he gets upset he says, "I want to be alone!" Then he goes off to another room and closes the door. He's usually only in there for a minute or two--well, actually sometimes it's longer, but only because he's just playing in there. Is this an okay way to handle things for him? He's a *very intense* little boy, so I'm thinking that him being alone is actually a good way for him to calm down and not hit people or be aggressive. I guess I just feel so sad for him when I watch him run away like that--I want to be able to help him more. I think he actually got it from me, too.
Sometimes when I get upset I do the same thing.

Oh, and the other annoying thing is that my 2-year-old dd does whatever she sees her brother do, so now when she gets upset she says "I want to be alone!"
The problem is that she'll go to the other room, but that's really not what she wants or needs. She knows it's not what she wants, but it's like she just thinks that's what she's supposed to do. For some reason I just get really frustrated by all this. (Of course, I'm 38 weeks pg, so that does have a lot to do with it...but still...)

I guess I just really need to know if it's an ok way for my 3 y.o. to handle things. Sometimes I feel like he's just running away from his problems. And, what should I do about the 2 y.o. copying the behavior? I know that she would do much better if we could handle it in a different way (i.e. staying nearby, hugs, etc).

Oh, and it's not always when they're just angry, it's when they're just plain sad or upset, too (didn't get their way, etc).

Any comments?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,419 Posts
My reaction is different than yours. I'm really impressed with his maturity and self restraint to be able to stop when he needs to and regroup. Many adults struggle with that skill! It sounds like he's found a good way to feel better that doesn't hurt himself or other people. That's great. I'd let him know that he's doing a great job taking a break and ask when he comes back would he like a hug or does he just want to move on to something else? A reminder that you are always there for a hug or a snuggle may be in order, but otherwise I would just let him have his space.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
994 Posts
My dd is the same, and I appreciate her maturity in knowing herself this well. She too, is very intense. It is sometimes for the best that she goes into the other room for abit to cool off, it's her prerogative. I wouldn't worry about the younger one, as she gets older, she will find her sense of self more, it's normal to copy the older sibling (although dd came up with this herself, not from her older brother).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
788 Posts
It sounds like your ds has found a way that works to calm him down, which is great! Even as adults, a lot of people have to take time apart to cool off. I'd just tell him he's doing a good job knowing when he needs to be alone, and remind him to come to me any time.

Maybe with your dd, try going after her after a few seconds, and telling her she had her alone time and it's time for hugs/to be together etc?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
843 Posts
I think that it is important to give children space when they ask for it and to let them know that you are there when they need you. Wanting space is not a rejection of you, it is a deeply felt need on the part of your child. I felt rejected at first when my dd did this, it happened all of a sudden and she went from expressing her anger with five minutes of fussing with cuddles to full blown 30 minute tantrums overnight. It helped to talk to some of the teachers where I work and she attends school, they told me that this is very common for three and that they are expressing a need for more independence. Once I accepted this and stopped feeling rejected the tantrums actually went down and dd started coming to me sooner and calming down quicker.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,450 Posts
WOW! What a smart kid! He understands that he needs some space. I am completey impressed.

My daughter was like this too, but I kinda had to teach it to her. I could see the frustration building, and I would toss her in a playpen to be away from the other kids. It was her own space.

Soon, she started going in her room or my to regroup, and would come out with a better attitude. Occasionally she would start going through her toybox and I wouldn't see her again til every last toy had been looked at and left on the floor.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,445 Posts
Can he come over and teach my 5 year old this skill? What an amazing job of regulating himself!! I'd encourage it, and then make sure you reconnect when you get back .

As for your 2 year old - she's doing what they do: imitating! The problem in our house is that the rare occasions when ds (5) goes off on his own to get over something, she follows him and makes him even angrier, or gets majorly distraught when he closes the door and stands there and pounds on it!


As she gets older, you can talk with her about what helps HER feel better (you can start now, just don't expect much for a while). Does it help her to be alone? To be with you? She'll get it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, thanks for the encouragement. The more I've thought about it, the more I really thought it was a good thing for him to do. It was just such an unexpected behavior from him that I think I was caught off guard.

So, what should I do when he comes out? He always comes out happy and as if nothing ever happened. Should I bring up the problem again? Should we talk about the problem? It seems like if, for example, he got mad at his sister and pushed her over then ran to the bedroom to be alone, we should talk about his behavior once he comes out, shouldn't we? (Sometimes he leaves before he gets too aggressive...sometimes not). I think this is where I have issues...I don't want him to just be able to "escape" after being aggressive or disobeying us. It's fine as a way to calm down, but then we should talk about it, right??

And with 2 y.o. dd, I guess I'll just let her do her thing--as long as it's *her* choice to be alone then it's ok. I guess with both kids I should offer hugs when they come out?

It's interesting...my ds and I are both highly sensitive people. I've just learned in the last year or two that sometimes I need to have some space. Actually, I think I'm still learning this. But, I guess he has picked up on it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,445 Posts
I'd greet him and say "Hi, you feeling better?" If he's done something that he needs to make amends for (like pushing his sister), you can ask him "so, how do you think you can help your sister feel better too?" then I'd drop it. This shouldn't become a lecture. He's only 3 after all.

Have you read "The Highly Sensitive Child" or "The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child"? I like both for our sensitive introvert!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,419 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by roses1001

So, what should I do when he comes out? He always comes out happy and as if nothing ever happened. Should I bring up the problem again? Should we talk about the problem? It seems like if, for example, he got mad at his sister and pushed her over then ran to the bedroom to be alone, we should talk about his behavior once he comes out, shouldn't we? (Sometimes he leaves before he gets too aggressive...sometimes not). I think this is where I have issues...I don't want him to just be able to "escape" after being aggressive or disobeying us. It's fine as a way to calm down, but then we should talk about it, right??
I don't think you need to hash it out everytime and I think it would be really hard on a lot of introverted sensitive kids if you did that. Especially if he manages to get to his room before he loses his cool and hits somebody I would sometimes offer some positive acknowledgement of that "That's so great you knew when you were getting upset and you took a break and I'm glad you are feeling better". He isn't going to make it everytime but it is good to acknowledge when he does manage to catch himself before he loses his cool.

Quote:

Originally Posted by roses1001
I guess with both kids I should offer hugs when they come out?
Maybe occasionally. If they seem not upset anymore I'd just breezily acknowledge they are feeling better and go on. If they hit someone first, I'd handle that the way you normally would with noting the person was hurt and trying to find a way to help them feel better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
my son has started doing this as well, he'll ask to go to "truck bed" (his twin bed in his room has trucks on the bedding) when he's overwhelmed or upset. i encourage it because as others have said, this is a very important thing for people to learn about themselves. this is that precious self-soothing that CIO'ers try to force, yet it is not forced. this is our children understanding themselves enoguh to know that they need space, quiet, dark, peace, whatever. some people go a lifetime without figuring this out for themselves.

when he returns (or if i go to him if he's taking a long time) i ask him if he feels any better, what he was thinking about, etc...if he left because he was getting sort of out of control (he does this often, if he's getting destructive and doing a lot of "bad" things he'll often ask to go to his truck bed - WE HAVE NEVER USED THIS AS PUNISHMENT THIS WAS ENTIRELY HIS IDEA) i'll ask him if he thinks he's feeling ready to play gently, to share, etc....he almost always says yes. it's a very nice thing that he has sort of owned this for himself. i'm so proud of him for recognizing what helps him chill out...

encourage it, but never ever ever ever ever use it as a negative. if you ever to need to have him have space (those moments when you'd love to use a time out or whatever but don't REALLY want to)...and if you feel you really DO want him to take some "time out", and want to use that space...use a positive frame. if i catch on that he's stressing something, i'll ask him if he wants to take a break and rest...or i'll just ask him very calmly if he wants to rest in his truck bed, or if he needs to take some time for himself, etc...i always ask and if he doesn't want to, he doesn't have to. he's made going to truck bed a positive thing and i am DETERMINED to keep it that way.


ETA: once in a while i'll add a comment about how great i think it is that he has found a place that feels peaceful for him, that helps to calm and relax him, etc. i'll talk about the colors in the room, the way the bed feels, the darkness and stillness, etc...just reinforce the reasons he likes to go there and let him know that i'm glad that he found it for himself.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top