My Six-Year-Old Son Hates Change

by Lisa Donovan

Six year olds are peculiar little characters. Mine, in particular, has a strong tendency toward meltdowns if anything even remotely out of his routine is in engaged in. He avoids spotaneity as if it were the plague and, you can bet your last penny that if you change even the slightest smidge of his expected routine, that he is going to (perhaps inadvertently) have a huge meltdown at some point in the day.

Case in point: Today we traveled from Nashville to Florida to visit family and to rest and recenter after the icky month we have had. Rather than stop at our usual spot for a long, sit-down lunch, we thought we would save some time and eat on the road and then stop later at a bookstore and a park that we knew was along the way. All things pointed to “happy vacation” until we stopped at said bookstore and my son had a meltdown which worked it’s way into quite a nasty tantrum, the likes which I have never, ever, seen. His wailing and screaching created a stir amongst the other bookstore patrons - the kind of buzz that begins when someone feels that, perhaps, they should contact authorities or maybe a swat team.. It was horrific.

As much as I hate to admit it, my son is such a routine junkie, that my husband and I believe firmly that it was simply because we had made one, simple, unexpected change to his normal way of traveling. What was a small glitch of changeto us was, to him, a massive upheaval of emotional stress.

Second case in point: Once we arrive at my folk’s house - my mom decides that she wants to have a spontaneous (gasp! there’s that word again!) swim in the pool with my son. She jumps in with shorts and a shirt and hollars for him to join her. He can’t do it. He loves swimming and he has been waiting to get in this pool all year. The problem: He has to be in proper swimming garb - this means that he spent twenty minutes looking for me and getting me to unpack the car and dig through the bags for his swimtrunks. When I couldn’t find them, I told him to just take off his shirt and socks and to go for it! “Look, Nana’s in there with all her clothes on - go get her!”. You would have thought that I had just told him to go rob a bank. An utter look of fear and anxiety arose in his little innocent eyes. He eventually got in, but with much hesitation and severe coaxing from me and my mom that is was very OK to get in without sanctioned swimtrunks on.

It has left me wondering what has caused this in my sweet little boy? And is anyone else experiencing this?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 13th, 2006 at 10:27 pm and is filed under Child Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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