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3.5 yr old running away

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  • 3.5 yr old running away

    I've practiced AP my childs whole life. now that he is 3.5 I'm curious about how to handle situations that are dangerous. Recently my son has been running away from me and my husband at the store, zoo and outside. Most of the time it is when he is upset about something. I'm not sure how to handle this. We've had to leave places when this has happened. Or when it's happened in a public setting that I cannot leave. I've spoken later and explained how scared it makes me etc. But nothing has seems to stop him. Any suggestions.

  • #2
    i tell mine that they can choose to either hold my hand or i will hold them, but in safety situations, they must stay by me. if they run away, we'd leave.


    • #3
      I guess if he flees when he is upset you would have to be extra pro-active if he seems to be getting upset because you know that is a trigger. Ask him another way you could help him if he feels like he want to run away. Would he like you to sit down and hold him on your lap, sit in a stroller or have a snack? I guess he is having an impulse issue and is just driven to try to help him find other ways with this upset impulse. I think a lot of kids have a period of this at this age so don't feel like this is unusual!


      • #4
        Most children do this. My son is going through the same thing.

        What has been working a bit better for us is doing something before going to the store.
        During nice weather and time permitting we go to the park before we go grocery shopping or shopping in other places that may require him to stay close. We tell him we are going to the park so you can play for an hour and then we are going shopping. At the park you can run run run and at shopping you stay next to mommy or daddy.

        When we get to the store. get a cart out in the parking lot and play race car. He gets in the seat and we walk around the parking lot with the cart before we go in with me making race car noises. Another one for parking lots is that we make up games to get from the car to the store door. The parking lot is made of water, lava or mud and he has to guide mommy to the store letting him lead holding my hand. That we have to look around the cars to see mud slides or water gushes, oncoming cars. This has been a great success. (Dear friend did this with her little one and gave me the tip)

        We also have an option that he can either go in the cart with me or wait out in the car with Daddy. For now we all shop together and I have come to think of family shopping as a great way to spend time and respect each others food choices and needs, learning our likes and dislikes and learning about new foods to try. We each get a cart and we each write down a few things that are definates and have him find them and load them into "his" cart.

        We have the same thing at zoo's the beach, anywhere that makes my heart pound and it is such a normal thing for AP children to do. They feel so safe that you will be there for them. It was easier with my girls as I would run with them. Two and a half decades later and with arthritis things are a bit tougher so we go to the zoo, and we say in this area, you can run a bit ahead, but in another area I would like it if you hold my hand, that way we don't have to use a stroller and you get to see more. I notice I run more at the beach if I don't remember to do the beach walk to collect shells before we settle down in our spot.

        I have been to the beach and other places with people who think I smother him and with others who make comments like if that were there child they would put him on Ritalin so they wouldn't have to run so much. This doesn't help and find myself more stressed around people who are glaring at me or making comments than when I am not. Sometimes our comfort level of what our child is doing is intensified in public places.

        Ronnie does not hear me when I say don't run, I am scared, please RONNIE there are cars in the parking lot hold my hand.

        Instead of making everything you have to hold my hand, or you have to do what I want, we make it a game where he is guiding me, helping me and he is such a great little guy for doing so.

        It doesn't last long. They figure things out quickly at this age. They start to notice dangers on their own. I asked my youngest girl (22) if she remembered running out into a street back in Brooklyn and my friend Seth pulling her away from an oncoming car. She said yes but that didn't make her want to stop running. What made her stop was noticing things on her own. One of them being seeing a dead squirrel in the road. She said she stopped running because of the squirrel, because they run fast and they still were not fast enough.