Help! My toddler has OCD

My day started off so well this morning. Despite my washing getting wet and being 10 minutes late for Yoga it was still a great morning.

Emma isn’t sleeping much during the day but she is happy to chill in her bouncy chair so I managed to get a lot done.

Then Jack arrives! And my zen all goes out the flippen window.

I know WHY he is acting out and that it is largely his attempt to get control but I still need some help in how to deal with it.

The biggest issue right now is his shoe laces! He will only wear this pair of takkies with laces (we have tried a variety of other shoes and he WILL NOT put them on). The shoes are fine but the problem is he doesn’t want to see the little loops that are made when you tie the laces or the plastic things at the end of the laces. So we have tie them and tie them until there is no more to tie and hide the plastic things. If the pop out all hell breaks loose!!!

HOW do I deal with this? He isn’t being naughty so I don’t feel that punishing him is the right thing to do? Taking the shoes away will solve the laces problem but then he will be bare foot which would be fine if it was still summer but its cooler now.

PLEASE share some words of wisdom with me.

On this note how would you deal with his other little “quirks”? It’s simple things that are relatively easy to deal with – like he will only eat with a certain spoon, only wants brown socks, only wants a specific shirt, only wears jeans (he now owns about 6 pairs of jeans), he only wants me to do things like put his DVD’s on, dress him etc.

Would you let those things slide? Indulge him? Or push through the tantrums?


  1. says

    Its such a double-edged sword really. You want to indulge certain quirks but you don’t want to start something that could spiral out of control. I personally like a little reverse psychology. If I want Blake to do something I have Haedyn do it and mention how cool it is. Usually after a week Blake will follow suit…good luck, this mommy thing is not easy :/

  2. says

    Mmmm…I actually entertain ALL the quirks. I find that if I resist them then it just causes drama that I don’t need and I am all about choosing my battles. Also. I LOVE quirkiness. I myself am quirky and I want them to feel like they can express themselves freely. I don’t entertain anything that is a safety hazard and I expect sensibility – eg, you ain’t going to school in your underwear and flip flops and nothing else and you WILL dress sensibly based on what the weather allows. Those tantrums I WILL push through. Otherwise, as I say, I entertain them. They DO pass and he’ll then move onto the next obsession, whatever that is.

  3. Ankia says

    I found with James, who definitely got some of my ocd, that just doing what it takes toget things done is fine, because the same issue doesn’t last forever. He used ti have such issues with socks (the seam used to irritate him, we fought daily about it) and that has completely stopped.

    So basically just do what keeps you sane where getting dressed is concerned. It’ll pass & one day he’ll dress himself and have to sort it out in his own.

  4. Michelle says

    It’s just a stage…my one twin chelsey is also a bit like this at the moment and I have never really had it with my others so it’s new to me too… Manage what you can and leave the rest thats what I am doing. I also think the more we make an “issue” of something it then actuall becomes an “issue” if you know what I mean. I always said my kids never had terrible two’s mine came at 3’s and 4’s …. LOL!!!!

  5. says

    I think you know what I’m going to say?

    For me it’s not about the small thing but about listening. We had one just yesterday (Sunday? seems so long ago!!!) with K. She suddenly didn’t want to wear a specific top that is normally fine and still fits, etc./

    So we had to start counting. I only got to 2, she put on her clothes and was happy after that the rest of the morning.

    That said, you know your child and I firmly believe you can’t fight about 25 things a day – you have to pick 3 :) (and you and D must be on the same page about the 3 – ours is manners (which includes listening), food and sleep)

  6. says

    PS I didn’t actually answer your question. I say things like

    “no problem baby, if you want my help with those shoes, you have two options: I can do it my way, or you can do it your way. What do you choose?”

    And then I have two different reactions usually – I have an independent boy who will do his thing his way and the girl will mostly let us help but these days she’s also getting very “spunky” so she can take her own sweet time.

    Remember we have other rules – we can’t be in the same room as screaming kids otherwise our heads get sore :) (it’s very effective – we just walk away – they HATE IT)

  7. says

    No real advice here because we are struggling with the same thing. After Knox was born the girls really struggled and so for certain things I gave in like me dressing them or doing things for them (this does pass and it was just their way of ensuring that I take interest in them), but I have cut out the crap of them being too specific about things.

    Kyla especially has a tendency to have to have everything absolutely perfect or she can’t function. So I try and get her used to things not going the way she wants it to, she has to learn how to deal with it (although she is 4 and Jack is only 2). I would keep an eye on the things that he is becoming pedantic about, if the list changes then it’s probably not that much of a concern and he’d grow out of it but if the list grows then it’s probably not only a phase.

    I have no idea if that is at all helpful. xo

  8. MeeA says

    I just don’t put up with it. We’re a big family. Everyone needs to pull their weight and get on with stuff. My kids know that I’ll do all the things they need from me but indulging tantrums about shoes? Not going to happen. I have enough on my plate.
    David will often step in and let Jack have his way or do things the way Jack wants them done but they all know that I’m not going to have any of it. And Jack stopped trying it with me ages ago. But he does it with David because David indulges him. And I let him because if he wants to spend his life being hostage to the 5 year-old’s whims, that’s his problem. Me? I’ve got a household and a business to run, a billion unwritten writing projects, 3 other kids who also need me…

  9. says

    I wish I could give you advice! Lil Mister is like this to an extent. We have to cut his sandwiches just right and hates it when things change on him. We usually start preparing him for change. Oh and he also only wants one pair of shoes right now and that is his rain boots! We are trying to find that balance as well between respecting his desire for some control over his own life but making him understand he is still a child and has to follow rules! As long as he isn’t throwing a tantrum about everything and listens when it is important we usually keep things going with the flow!

  10. says

    Good luck! I normally ride with the quirks if they are ok. They really want control at this age. I think it’s a case of “pick your battles” for me this weekend taking a noisy truck to church was a no no and I had a big meltdown to deal with… so I don’t have answers to your shoes problem.. sorry.

  11. says

    I’d also say pick your battles, and if it was one ir two quirks I’d say let it be and work around it, but itbsounds like it might be a more than that. He could also be pushing to see if he finds a boundary…in which case you should probably decide where that is and let him discover it. With N we went through phases like these (still do), and although she gets extremely upset when we square off on somethibg, the next day she is as meek as a lamb and the whole issue is resolved. Just don’t go for them all in one day!

  12. deborah says

    Thought i was the only household going through this-my 2 and a half year old is going through a phase where he only wants to wear certain pj’s and certain shirts tantrums r a nightmare! My daughter on teh other hand is an absolute perfectionist which is also frustrating she doesnt like to feel the thread of the sock on her foot,will measure her socks in the morning to make sure they are both at the same height then measure again once she has folded them. She is the same with schoolwork if she has to stick things into her book she has to make sure that the space between is equal all round so frustrating and time consuming!

  13. says

    We kind of just try limit the tantrums. I find it easier to indulge the least hectic ocd things and have the stuff ready for him. Other stuff we just ride thru but we also only have 2 kids not 4.

    Good luck my friend! I know you’ll figure it out.


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