I have a fear of toddlers! (Strange fear, I know!)

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Joe90
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15 Mar 2011, 10:52 am

I have developed a very unusual phobia in the past couple of years or so, and it's got much worse since. It is the most unique, strangest phobia you could ever have. It is a phobia of small children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years (let's just say toddlers). I just don't like them near me, and if my family are invited to a friend's house who have got a toddler, I drop out and make up some excuse. Everyone says, ''she won't scream,'' or, ''he's not naughty,'' or, ''they're very sweet,'' but it's not always about that (although screaming is what has caused the phobia in the first place). It's just a phobia I have got - one of those phobias which are hard to identify the reasons. And because reasons are unidentified, the phobia makes me confused - and confusion is a very awkward emotion for me. Things what make me confused make me feel even more against something without knowing why, and could even cause a panic attack (or in other words, an outburst). When I'm out in public and a toddler is invading my space, I have to walk away before I start showing agitated expressions, like glaring, huffing, grunting, shuffling, ect. And I really, really hate it when a toddler sits in the seat behind me in the bus. It has become a big problem to me, because buses are my special interest, but my worse fear gets tangled up in my special interest, which is very confusing and awkward for an Aspie! I just hate the thought of a toddler behind me kicking the back of my seat and fidgeting and shrieking near my ears. It's bad enough having a kid with a loud voice on your bus, without it sitting right behind you. I think the sound of toddlers is the worst sound my ears have ever heard.

Sometimes, though, I might be fine with a child. I have a small boy next door to me, and he's just turned 5 (maybe he's not a toddler any more). I speak to him sometimes, and he chats back. When I left school at 16 I worked at a nursery for a while, dealing with children aged 2 to 4, and I loved it. I learned to filter out all the screaming and baby-talk, and could cope better when small children are around me. But since one was sick from a tummy bug, then a while later another one got sick, then another one, then one of the assistants, and I didn't like that. Luckily for me I didn't catch it, but I also do have a phobia of being sick (which is not an unusual phobia because almost every normal person is phobic about being sick), and you're most at risk of picking up the virus when around small children. So that finished of my joy of working with small children, but is not the cause of my fear.


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League_Girl
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15 Mar 2011, 11:46 am

Is there some history to you where maybe a toddler did something to you and you always had to be the bad guy for it because you were older?



friedmacguffins
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15 Mar 2011, 12:27 pm

I think part of my problem with this situation is not being able to fix something, which I am not responsible for.

I can take control, diplomatically. I can take responsibility, but this will eventually lead to me becoming a go-for.

It was counter-intuitive for me, obviously risky, but I have actually gotten good results from making non-threatening, yet very-abrasive remarks.

I tell people what I want and have been known to get it.

I have found that explaining myself, during these tirades, will only cause me to become caught up in argumentation.



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15 Mar 2011, 1:11 pm

Toddlers are very unpredictable its true. And what must it be like for AS toddlers to be stuck in a room full of NT toddlers? Perhaps it is the unpredictability that causes you to want to avoid them. I could list a dozen things about toddlers that are absolutely gross and/or practically intolerable. So in many ways your fear is completely understandable. For me when I became a Mom, the repulsiveness factor went way down because then I was dealing with my own child which is WAY different than dealing with someone else's. WIth your neighbor perhaps you know him well enough that his behavior is predictable plus at 5 his behavior is probably less chaotic than say a 2 or 3 yo.

Maybe you could sit in the back part of the bus so that no one would be able to sit behind you (though you probably already thought of that).



Joe90
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15 Mar 2011, 2:38 pm

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Maybe you could sit in the back part of the bus so that no one would be able to sit behind you (though you probably already thought of that).


I have tried that, and it works if you're lucky. But a few weeks ago I was sitting near the back, and a mother came on with a 3 year old girl, and it just ran straight up the bus and on to the back seat, right next to a teenage boy. I could tell he didn't know them, but lucky for him he looked very patient and he didn't look bothered that there was a toddler sitting right next to him. So I thought that was lucky that wasn't me sitting there that day. Plus the whole back seat was empty, apart from this boy who was right at the end, and so the toddler had the whole long seat to sit on, and the mother didn't even say anything - just sat the other side of her. But if I was the parent, I would say, ''come on, sit this side - there's somebody already sitting that side,'' being that the rest of the back seat was empty.

The seats right at the front behind the driver are the only 2 seats what face sideways, and usually I try and sit there if I can. But sometimes that means you've got to stand up when lots of old people come on and all the seats get filled up. But I'll rather stand up than sit somewhere where a toddler is likely to be right behind me. (Usually people let parents with small children sit down, so it's not likely one would be standing up with you).

I don't hate toddlers. At least they don't judge you like teenagers do. I would never hurt a toddler, and it's nothing personal either. I just think sometimes they spoil your day out, like at the shopping centre or in quiet restaurants, and when you're somebody like me who find it hard to block the sound of temper tantrums out, it makes it even worse. I expect toddlers to be running about and screaming in McDonald's or Burgerking, but when you're in a peaceful posh restaurant where you just want to relax and enjoy a proper meal (which is more expensive than fast food restaurants), I don't think it's right for people to drag their young kids in there, unless they're the placid type who don't have screaming tantrums so much (you do get some toddlers who are placid - my brother was).


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friedmacguffins
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15 Mar 2011, 2:50 pm

I think they're more physical than emotional -- fairly manageable when their needs are met.

Some people seem to think it takes a village.



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15 Mar 2011, 3:21 pm

Joe90: I actually think I know what you mean. I almost do not like toddlers (hate to admit it) and mostly, I think, because they're so terribly unpredictable. I know they don't mean to, I guess, but sometimes they're just too crass. They can make me uneasy. Their behaviours are very unregimented, at best, and can be nearly random. They're like little human slot machines in an already chaotic environment.

I don't think there's anything wrong with not liking them......I like flowers but I don't care for carnations, for instance; they're just not my style. Same thing. Sort-of. Hope no one criticises you for not liking toddlers - we are entitled to our own opinions.


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15 Mar 2011, 3:27 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Quote:
Maybe you could sit in the back part of the bus so that no one would be able to sit behind you (though you probably already thought of that).


I have tried that, and it works if you're lucky. But a few weeks ago I was sitting near the back, and a mother came on with a 3 year old girl, and it just ran straight up the bus and on to the back seat, right next to a teenage boy. I could tell he didn't know them, but lucky for him he looked very patient and he didn't look bothered that there was a toddler sitting right next to him. So I thought that was lucky that wasn't me sitting there that day. Plus the whole back seat was empty, apart from this boy who was right at the end, and so the toddler had the whole long seat to sit on, and the mother didn't even say anything - just sat the other side of her. But if I was the parent, I would say, ''come on, sit this side - there's somebody already sitting that side,'' being that the rest of the back seat was empty.

The seats right at the front behind the driver are the only 2 seats what face sideways, and usually I try and sit there if I can. But sometimes that means you've got to stand up when lots of old people come on and all the seats get filled up. But I'll rather stand up than sit somewhere where a toddler is likely to be right behind me. (Usually people let parents with small children sit down, so it's not likely one would be standing up with you).

I don't hate toddlers. At least they don't judge you like teenagers do. I would never hurt a toddler, and it's nothing personal either. I just think sometimes they spoil your day out, like at the shopping centre or in quiet restaurants, and when you're somebody like me who find it hard to block the sound of temper tantrums out, it makes it even worse. I expect toddlers to be running about and screaming in McDonald's or Burgerking, but when you're in a peaceful posh restaurant where you just want to relax and enjoy a proper meal (which is more expensive than fast food restaurants), I don't think it's right for people to drag their young kids in there, unless they're the placid type who don't have screaming tantrums so much (you do get some toddlers who are placid - my brother was).



Come to a McDonalds or to a Burger King here, you won't be seeing little kids running around. If they do, the parents are asking to control them or they'd ask them to leave. Over here, we are sue happy. People sue over stupid reasons because A) They don't want to take responsibility over their own actions B) They want money so they find a reason and it's their own stupidity. So places kick out families with wild kids when they don't or can't control them because they don't want to get sued if one of their kids gets hurt.



Joe90
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15 Mar 2011, 3:55 pm

I don't think it's an Aspie thing or an NT thing to not like toddlers. It just depends on what sort of person you are. My mum doesn't like small children either, and she's NT. She always says, ''I can't stand them!'' I see some people gazing at other people's toddlers (whether it's got an angry red face or not), and I just don't see how they can put up with the noise (if any).

I think the only AS reason of why I don't like toddlers is the sensory issues. I have a lot of trouble with my ears, and when the sound of a toddler's squeals and screeches reaches a pitch, I suffer terrible pains in my ear afterwards.

But I think other times it's to do with my state of mind. Once there was a kid on the bus, and the whole ride home I think it was doing motorbike impressions, and pretending it was a motorbike as the bus was going along - and you know how disturbing loud motorbikes are, so a kid doing loud motorbike impressions is ten times worse! By the time I come off the bus, I felt so worn out with it (I don't know if the noise wore me out, or if it was the fact that I was full of frustrated emotions and it's hard to keep them in.) But because I have self control, I did manage to hold it all in - and by the time I got home I flopped down on to the settee, then after about 10 minutes of enjoying silence, I got a drink of apple juice, which made me feel much better.


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15 Mar 2011, 4:38 pm

I don't have any problem with them, but that's just me. Is there anybody that you can talk to about this?


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15 Mar 2011, 6:05 pm

LabPet wrote:
They're like little human slot machines in an already chaotic environment.


Love this! How true (believe it or not they do occasionally pay out at least in a way that a parent can appreciate)!



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15 Mar 2011, 7:32 pm

I fear I may hurt them, not maliciously but accidently. I refuse to hold babies because of my poor motor skills and keep my distance from toddlers in case I accidently knock them.


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16 Mar 2011, 1:00 am

Babies are scary, I stay as far away from them as I can.



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16 Mar 2011, 2:00 am

MooCow wrote:
Babies are scary, I stay as far away from them as I can.



Is my avatar scary? :P



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16 Mar 2011, 3:23 am

Have you tried being around HFA/LFA autistic toddlers?

My H/LFA toddler is so quiet and his sister is two because she hates aggravating him. We travel by buses and the only thing my bus says on the trip is "Green light is go, orange light caution, red light stop." Then he is silent until the next traffic light. We went to a playgroup with 7 autistic children and you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet.

Maybe try volunteering a family with a child on the spectrum and see how you go. You might share an interest. :P


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