13 answers

3 Yr Old Resistant to Change

Hi Everyone,

I have a 3 yr old who will not try ANYTHING new. He is an amazing little boy who is very shy and doesn't act out (take other kids toys, etc.). The problem is that he will not try anything new. This includes potty training (or even venturing into wearing anything but a diaper), sleeping anywhere but his crib (including his very cool new thomas the train bed). He even won't try certain new activities because it seems to be out of his "norm." (if that makes sense.)
Has anyone else dealt with something like this? How did you deal with it?

On a side note, he does have severe food allergies. He is allergic to dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, gluten, nuts, fish, beef, turkey, pineapple, and strawberries. I am sure this affects his behavior in some way, but I still don't know how to deal with it. Any input would be really appreciated.

Thank you.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My oldest daughter who is now 4 would also have a bit of hard time with change or new situations. I try to help her anticipate things by preparing her. For example, as part of her bedtime routine, we talk about what will be going on tomorrow and what she could expect as far as changes in schedule, new activities, etc.

When she is going to start a new class, I take her to it first, so that she could observe what is going on and be somewhat familiar with the new environment.

I also like a lot of the Berenstain Bear stories. They help prepare for new situations (like going to the Dentist or Doctor or upcoming holidays, etc.)

He sounds like a very sweet boy.

More Answers

My 3 year old was like that to the exreme in that he had a lot of anxiety over anything new...new situations, new people, new foods, new clothing, new anything and had a lot of anxiety in groups even if it wasn't new like family get togethers and such. He was SO shy and got VERY easily overwhealmed. Also little things bothered him like the least bit of twistedness in his socks, certain clothes fabrics, certain lighting, etc. We had concerns because he was nervous/uptight most all the time because all these things were big stressors for him. He was diagnosed with sensory integration dysfunction soon before he turned 3. His sensory system visual and tactile particularly were too strong so certain visual and tactile situations way overwhealmed him. Now at age 3.5, after being in OT now, he is a different child. Though it's a common thing, I guess 1 in 20, I'm not saying it's necessarily the same with your son. Just letting you know that if it does interfere with his daily life, an OT could help. I know my son's therapy center does free evaluations, or my son started by my talking to the pediatrician about my concerns and he then sent a referral for the OT evaluation. We're finishing up OT because he is doing so well now. Still picky and such, but able to manage it MUCH better, not so stressed all the time :)

2 moms found this helpful

If he is really quiet or catatonic I of course would urge you to get help, but he sounds like a perfectly wonderful little person who will get there when he is ready. I am not sure how allergies relate other than he heard somewhere, don't do this or that (daycare, babysitters, etc.??) and so maybe he's fearful so he won't do anything wrong. He sounds like the dream child I'd want even though he doesn't want to potty train. Is he on the young side of three or older side. He might just need more encouragement and prompting. In the meantime, enjoy him til your heart is about ready to burst out as my sons are grown and one is in the service and I don't know where! Hug him extra special for me okay?

Cheryl had some great advice. It is normal for children to be resistant to change, but if they are too rigid then it can interfere with everyday life and coping later on. It does sound like it couldn't hurt to screen him. I also have an incredibly wonderful and smart son who was very routined and had a hard time with changes. That coupled with some other behaviors led us to have him screened and he did participate in OT for Sensory Intergration Dysfunction. It is common, and he is such a changed (in a good way) child as far as his ability to be flexible, try new things, etc.
As far as potty training, it depends on the child. While it is a common saying that boys take longer than girls to train, even with SID my son was fully potty trained at 2.5. It might not be that he's "not ready" but the change involved might be interfering. Have your son screened. It won't hurt!

My oldest daughter who is now 4 would also have a bit of hard time with change or new situations. I try to help her anticipate things by preparing her. For example, as part of her bedtime routine, we talk about what will be going on tomorrow and what she could expect as far as changes in schedule, new activities, etc.

When she is going to start a new class, I take her to it first, so that she could observe what is going on and be somewhat familiar with the new environment.

I also like a lot of the Berenstain Bear stories. They help prepare for new situations (like going to the Dentist or Doctor or upcoming holidays, etc.)

He sounds like a very sweet boy.

Hi C.,

I think the average age for boys to potty train is 4 years, so it sounds like he's on target. If the average is 4, then some might take up to 5 years to perfect it. My oldest didn't perfect until he was right at 4 years, and he did it within a couple of days. My youngest is now close to 4, but still prefers his pull-up 24 hrs a day.

I have two friends with boys who are similar to your son. I know it can be frustrating, but gentle, persistant encouragement will help. Don't tell him that you're going somewhere new because it creates anxiety. Just go and plan on sitting on the sidelines with him. If he sees other children he knows playing, then eventually he'll want to join them.

Good luck!
M.

C., you didn't say anything about your son's speech and hearing. My grandson was very much the same and with the resistance to change and food allergies. He is highly intelligent but has a speech problem of which he seems to be growing out of. The doctors have described this, through varous tests, as a form or autism.
You might want to raise this subject with his doctor to rule out this condition.

Instead of looking at it as he won't try anything new, imagine that he finds comfort in those items and doesn't want to have them taken away. When he is ready he will give you the signs. All kids move at their own pace. Be appreciative that you have a well behaved 3 year old, I wish I did ;)

I would suggest short stories that discuss similar changes to the world. There are stories out there called Social Stories typically writen specifically for a certian child in a certian situation. You might also want to seak out an Occupational Therapist in Pediatrics that can help with dealing with new situations in life and will teach you to write your own social stories.

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