Does your young child exhibit (extreme) independence?

United States
March 13, 2007 9:50am CST
Ugh, this drives me nuts!! (I just posted this on another Autism forum, and thought I'd see if any of you here can share in my frustrations LOL) My 3 1/2 yr old son is not just independent- he wants to do *everything* himself! Put on his shoes, his clothes, his seatbelt, you name it. Even if he *can't* successfully do it by himself, he will try it for as long as it takes. This means, he will keep at it to the point of a major meltdown, like if he can't snap up his pj's (which he can't do yet). I can try to help him, ask if he needs help, or he might even get so frustrated that he tells me he needs help. But if I touch anything involved with what he's trying to do, he will freak. Or, he will actually undo everything he's completed (if I've touched it), and start over!! This is nothing, but it is funny.. Last night, I tried to carry him upstairs to bed. He said "I gotta need to do it!" So I put him down. He walked down to the bottom of the stairs, and walked all the way back up himself. Is this typical kid behavior (that my NT daughter just never really exhibited), or is this just part of his Autism? Man, it drives me crazy! Do you have kiddos with this strong of a will to do things themselves?!
2 people like this
3 responses
@clownfish (3274)
• United States
13 Mar 07
Hi, Sylviekitty! Yes, my daughter is the same way! Sometimes it is frustrating and sometimes, like you said, it's cute and funny. When I first started taking my daughter to preschool when she was three, I'd ask her if she'd like to do something on her own, like climbing down out of her carseat, and she'd say, "I might do it," or, "I might try." As she's learned to do more and more, now she doesn't want help, either. Now since they do a "class leader" thing at school, she thinks she always has to be the leader. She wants to go into another room first, go up or down the stairs first, etc. She will have a screaming fit if she doesn't get to! Or if she wants to be the one to find her shoes or her coat, she will have a tantrum if we get them for her! We try to explain to her that she won't always be able to be first, or that she can be first next time, but she just doesn't get that right now. I don't know if it has more to do with the autism or just being strong-willed. Perhaps autistic children need their independence more. When I'd talk to another mother of an autistic child and tell her that my daughter does really well playing and entertaining herself, she told me that autistic children really need that time to be alone and independent. So, maybe it is the autism? :-)
@cjsmom (1423)
• United States
14 Mar 07
CJ would rather do most of everything on his own as well but he's pretty good about it when he can't. He'll try a few times and grumbles a little bit and then he says, "Mommy, please help me." It's so cute. When he gets a new educational computer game or PS2 video game he doesn't want any help; he figures them out all on his own; frustration and all, but he doesn't freak out any longer like he used to. Prayerfully your son will outgrow most of it as well to where it will get to the fairly normal reaction 'stage'... :)
• Canada
14 Mar 07
Oh ya we go through that. I find my guy is more able to relax and allow himself to be helped if his anxieties are low ... but if it's a rough day, or a rough week (like this week) then he simply canNOT stop until he gets it done himself or dissolves into a fit. It's like he's 'locked' on the task. If his anxieties are low, I can usually distract him and then do the thing for him without him noticing. When he's 'locked' though, there is no distracting him at all. I think it is part of the Autism, because the anxiety is a part of the Autism.