A 2-Year-Old Resists Being Held. What Should A Parent Do In This Situation?

Question: A 2-year-old resists being held. What should a parent do in this situation?

Answer: Having your 2-year-old not want >to be held is often really, really painful for parents. We think of toddlers as somebody, as kids that we want to snuggle with, that we want to sort of play with and roll around with. And many parents become actually quite frightened that their 2-year-old won't let them hold them for a number of reasons: One is that it suggests to them that there might be something very, very wrong with the child, which is not necessarily the case at all. Some kids prefer less contact, some kids prefer more. A lot of that has to do again with the kid's again, temperament, their sense of who they are and what they're able to tolerate.

I would say that one of the biggest mistakes parents make sometimes is try to hold the child even more at that point because it's so important to them to see that the child can be held. And instead, maybe back off a little bit. In many instances, the child then will come to the parent and things will normalize more quickly.

If however, the child still resists being held and goes on to manifest other symptoms -- potential symptoms like breaking eye contact, not being able to stare directly at other people, losing vocabulary and language, then I think they need to be investigated for some development disorders, such as autism.