H.H. asks from Flower Mound, TX on September 15, 2007
Unusual and Common Kid Obsessions
I am doing some informal research on (non-clinical)obsessions of 2-6 year old kids. For instance, I have a 4 y/o that has been obsessed with diggers for 2 years and prefers to only wear clothes with digger trucks on them (he would also like them to be blue, but how many blue digger shirts can the world handle?). Any information you can give will be helpful and interesting. I am also interested in how you tried to cater to or eliminate this obsession! Thanks mamas...
M.F. answers from Dallas on September 15, 2007
My 4 yr old likes anything pink, but isn't really "obsessed" -- she's fine with any other color too.
This is kind of random, and very forward of me, but an "obsession" that lasts for so long in a kid so young doesn't seem "normal" (given that normal is a pretty broad range). The only child I know with that degree of "obsession" over something was recently diagnosed with autism. If he has several things in his life that need to be routine or the same, you might look into some beginning screening tests, or at least questionnaires. Your pediatrician could point you to some resources, or even the school district (the school district will work with kids from age 3 and up). There are also several resources online:
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T.O. answers from Dallas on September 15, 2007
Like Maggie said, that kind of obsession can mean a form of autism but it could be normal. My daughter would only wear a Lion King shirt, red skirt and black boots for most of kindergarten.
My son, who is autistic, will only wear certain color shirts, certain styles, and certain textures. He's very picky. But if you look at grown up men, they are pretty much into wearing the same kinds of things all the time, too. So it's not that weird. However, I do have 5 shirts of the same style in navy and green for my son, with 4 others closely resembling the style but not exactly in green and navy.
Rather than fighting about clothes with my son or daughter my only concern was "Is it clean?" or "Does it smell?".
You can only fight so much and who cares if they have a fixation? If you worry about that and make them worry, what other social habits will they learn to worry about? Will he worry about what kind of bike he has, what kind of shoes, what kind of back pack... are they the "right" kind? You don't want to go too far .... but I can understand your frustration.
If he has any other signs of autism... like sound sensitiviy, extreme desire to follow a pattern of rules (not necessarily the rules you have in mind), language delays etc. then ask your school or doctor to evaluate him.
Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about the clothes issue. Just remember, there are worse things to worry about. Save your energy for the teen years.
A.M. answers from Dallas on September 16, 2007
My 2y/o loves tractors, dump trucks, trucks, and all the like. He specifically loves the forklift at our pet store. We have to walk the whole store and find it before we leave and he tells everyone he sees that he got to see the "yellow tractor at the pet store". I always take him to see it and sometimes we go even if we don't need anything, so I guess that is indulging. I agree with the other lady, he uses his creativity when it comes to the subject (the tractor is sleeping, working, has 3 wheels, red light - all the details get discussed) so whatever floats his boat. If it makes him happy then I'll go with him on it. Now if the shirt obsession starts too I may change my tune!
T.T. answers from Dallas on September 16, 2007
My older son has ALWAYS been obsessed with electronics and anything with buttons (one's that do something). When he was two he would carry around CD's like they were teddy bears. He's never cared about his clothes, so that was never an issue. Now, at five, he is still way into electronics, DVD's, CD's and CD ROMS (yes, he know the difference and has for quite a while).
We really haven't done anything to eliminate the obsession, but we do have to take measures to preserve our electronics. He knows how to work them, but also knows how to change settings which can be frustrating!! I honestly don't think this obsession will ever go away. Who knows, he may just be the next computer genius?
J.J. answers from Dallas on September 17, 2007
Please don't worry. I recently posted a very similar question on a moms group board I am on, and just about every mom told me her child (mostly 2-3 year olds) had some form of "obsession." Trains, trucks, and diggers seem to be at the top of every boy's list in varying order. If you are concerned, mention it to your pedi, but honestly I'd be more worried if he didn't seem to have any kind of obsession. It seems perfectly normal. Speaking of diggers, my son refuses to learn his colors. If I ask him what color something is that is yellow, he tells me "Scoop". Red is "Muck"... Bob The Builder obsession in my home, and he doesn't even watch much TV!
D.T. answers from Dallas on September 16, 2007
A friend had a son who would not wear anything with buttons for almost two years, then he got over it. Another friend's son wouldn't wear anything unless it had spiderman on it. My youngest child would only wear her black rubber rain boots for months! All of them turned out normal. I think it is a control issue and is quite normal. Is it worth a fight? I have learned to pick my battles and most of the time, clothing fights just aren't worth it!