My 2 year old has always been sensitive to his environment and cautious about new places and people. But for the past few months it has gotten worse and very difficult. We have to leave birthday parties and large gathering quickly because he screams and cries and will not stop. He's even hesitant at the Mall or other places like that but not as bad. He usually wants to head quickly to an exit though but sometimes will walk around a little or stay in his stroller. He's fine at the Supermarket or Target or a place like that.
When guests come over or we go to play-dates or relatives he keeps asking them leave and cries. Otherwise he's such a happy, bouncy, smart, inquisitive child. He really enjoys any outdoor time no matter the weather and loves being with familiar family. We can't go to museums, parties, or things like that or even Jamboree or art classes like other kids his age. It's very hard because not everyone understands. I want him to enjoy life and make friends. I also want him to start school. Part of it is I'm embarrassed at how much and long he screams so we eventually give up and leave.
What can we do???
First give up the embarrassment. You start worrying about what others think of your child's behavior now and it will be down hill for the next 18 years!
Next, it sounds like he has stranger anxiety. This is very common at the age of 2. He will most likely outgrow it. He could be very sensitive. I have several prior posting where I list two books titled, The sensitive child. Both are great reading and it would be good for both you and him to benefit from. I strongly recommend you reading both of them. (Check the link above Recommended Reads for these books.)
These books will help you to help him. It teaches parents what they need to know about parenting a sensitive child.
While it takes patience to parent a sensitive child you will be greatly rewarded by his happiness!
M Kay Keller