Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who is mental me or my 3 year old?

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness 
8                         8                             10

Questioner: Louise

Subject: Who is mental me or my 3 year old?

Question: About 4 months ago it took my DD to her 3 year check up. As part of the developmental screening the Dr. asked if she was asking "why" questions. To this day she really doesn't and I am seeing her much younger friends asking these questions.

I should probably add that DD is rather quirky & I am wondering if there is some sort of issue. Although she doesn't ask why, she does have very obsessive interests. These last from a few weeks to a month. In the past they have included puzzles (35- 50 pieces), weather forecasts, dinosaurs, maps .. lately phonics. She will spend a good portion of her day on these subjects, but also playing with other things.

She is intensely shy and tends not to address adults even when she knows them. At playgroups and such, she will spend the first 40 minutes trying to drag me along as she plays. During the week she attends preschool, but despite this shyness does not show separation anxiety. The one behavioral trait that is really bothering me is her hording. She will pile things in the middle of the room and call it her "train". These are all her favorite toys. We clean up the train every night and in the morning the very first thing she does is pull everything out again & and she know exactly what is missing. I mean this pile is big.

She is also a very picky eater, no matter what I have tried, including her Dr.s suggestions. Her emotions all the way around are just intense. When she is happy, she is bouncy, smiley and full of big belly laughs. But during the odd times when she is down, she can wail for 40 minutes. Thankfully she has a happy attitude for the majority of the time. Other than this she is on track developmentally or ahead in most areas.

So, I guess I am asking 2 questions. 1) Should I worry about the "whys"? We have lots discussions about what and where, but not why. Currently she is obsessed about the digestive system and wants to know where the food is going.

2) Is all this normal behavior? Most of the other 3 year old we come in contact with just don't seem as extreme. For some reason just seem so different than her peers.



Answer: Dear Louise:

Children do different behaviors at different ages. Developmental stages are only based upon looking at children of specific ages and GENERALIZING the overall behavior patterns. What this means is the majority of say a hundred children 66% or more do the same thing at the same time. Therefore 34% of the children do the same behaviors at different times in their lives.

Your daughter sound ahead in many ways. If you are still concerned take her to a specialist. Family doctors do developmental screenings however they may not be experts in developmental issues.

Sometimes gifted children seem out of the ordinary because their emotional development is different due to their preoccupation with learning new things. Possibly this is what is going on with your daughter. There are many explanations for her unusual behavior. Remember it is only unusual because someone decided what was "normal" for her age of 3.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

1 comment:

  1. I agree with M Kay. In a lot of ways your three year old daughter sounds like my daughter when she was that age. My daughter is now 12 and doing great in middle school, but is still rather shy. Even the shyest kid in the class may be perfectly normal.

    As M Kay indicated, "normal" can cover a wide variety of behaviors and times of development. I've seen kids with similar behavior to the "hording" you describe at 3, and it seemed to me creative, healthy play. A type of creative building and organization (although it might look pretty disorganized to adults).

    Good luck, and I agree that if you continue to be concerned, checking with a specialist might be a good step, mostly to confirm you don't need to worry.