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2 year old tensing when excited

I have noticed that my 2 year old son when he is excited he tenses up and flexes his arms out. Sometimes he curls his fists in. I'm just wondering if this is normal behavior. It only lasts for about 2-3 seconds and then he continues on with whatever activity he was doing. It typically happens when he is really excited about something, examples: playing with the water hose, watching the bath fill up with water, and other random things that seem to make him real excited. So far as his mental, physical, and social deveopment seems very normal. This is our first child and we are just concerned. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
22 Responses
171768 tn?1324233699
i answered you the last time you posted the same exact question. i also answered another similar question today. i will copy what i wrote there:

"it sounds like you are describing stimming. i worked with a 4 yr old boy this past year who stimmed when excited or when trying to focus. we saw a couple variations. sometimes he would clench his fists and bounce gently. this was pretty subtle. we also saw another emerge during the year. when excited by something he would lean in, hunch his shoulders, his fingers would become rigid and his hands would shake back and forth.

anyways, sounds like your son's behavior is more similar to the first kind we saw. i noticed the child easily got overstimulated. he had learned ways to cope on his own. for example, we noticed that if he was not stimming, he was holding his abdomen tightly. or he need to ground himself on something (sitting on a teacher's lap, leaning on someone).

stimming does occur in some typically developing children who have no other quirks or problems. it can also be a warning sign for many different things. i would mention it to your pediatrician, but don't panic. toddlers are bombarded by so many stimulating things in a day, it's no wonder that there are physical manifestations."
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I was wondering if your child still does this. My child has been doing this since 9 months and is 4 now.. She has no other irregular signs of anything. What have you found. I have tried to research this but can't find much info on it.
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my daughter has been doing this since she was 2 yrs old.  It sounds exactly like what she does when she is playing with her dolls (very focused) , coloring , or very excited.  Everyone told me it was just her being a toddler, and that she would "grow out of it",  but now she just turned  4 and I am very concerned that because she is still doing it  all the time. I was worried it  could be more neuro. related.  She did have viral meningitis when she was 3 months old...  otherwise, she is a totally "normal " in every other way.  I did take her in to the peds doc. and they have ordered an EEG and a MRI . I will keep you posted.
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just curious how did the tests turn out? my daughter is 6 & 1/2 years old and has been doing this for as long as I can remember. she also has issues with not wanting to wear clothes that are tight or if she can feel them, I don't if that is related or not.
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My son is 6 and will be 7 in January and he still does this... his mouth will fly open and he tenses up his arms usually behind him with his hands flexed in and rigid. He shakes like that for a second or two and then stops. I don't even think he is aware that he does it. He does it when we ride in the car too. I have asked him what he was doing (when in the car) and he said he was pretending he was a super hero and fighting bad guys. So even when he is pretending he will do this "stimming" behavior. He is very bright for his age and is very social. He does this behavior a lot and it seems to be a reflex of sorts. He does not seem to be in control of it or aware of it. The only other issue that we have with him is that he seems to overreact to things. For example if he asks for a snack and I say you can't have one right now, but you can have one after dinner He will have a melt down...screaming and throwing a fit. He eventually calms down but it usually is so escalated that we ground him. My oldest daughter has very high functioning aspergers but she does not stim like this at all. Should I be concerned that my son has aspergers too?
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Can people who commented a few years back provide an update as to if their kids still do this?  My daughter (2.5) has been doing this also since she was about a year old.  When she gets excited she will tense up, her arms curl up, and her mouth opens.  Usually she makes a noise when she does it too, lasts a second, and then keeps doing what she is doing.  It only happens when she is excited about something.  But it could happen pretty frequently when excited (i.e. will be excited about putting her doll in a car and driving it around, so every few seconds, she will tense up, then stop, then a few seconds later, tense up, then stop.  It really worries me, but i can't seem to find anything about it other than this forum.
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Any updates from anyone on this? My son is 6 and has been doing it since he was a baby, we've always called it his 'excited thing' but as he gets older I worry about kids at school noticing and eventually making fun of him. It break my heart to see him at tball out on the field doing this over and over again. Any insight would be appreciated, one doctor thought it could be a form of turrets but said I we could never be sure because it's hard to diagnose.
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I am 23 years old and I just now discovered what this behavioral issue is called thanks to you guys! A bit of background about myself, I've been doing this since I was a toddler and to this day continue to do it. The reason why I do it is because like "MimiMomof3's" child mentioned, it helps me feel like I'm physically the person I'm pretending to be in my imagination. Also it's a way to control my over excitement. My wife knows about the behavior and ignores it as a habit, and so far in public I am able to control it, with a few occasions of excitement bursts here and there that can be somewhat embarrassing but I usually just shrug it off. The only problem that this has caused me and this is more recently is a tense pain in my hands similar to carpel tunnel (although I may have caused carpal tunnel by extensively using the trackpad to navigate on my laptop).  I want to say that the origin of my habit came from playing with toys. When I would pay with them, I'd create these crazy stories that only kids would know how to create, grabbing the toys with a force and getting overly excited for these stories then as I grew up I didn't need the toys but just the tensing and clinching of the fist.

But if it's social issues you guys are worried about, I'm fine and I'm positive this won't affect your children. May they continue to use their imagination (it helped me get a job in the visual arts creating commercials!). Hoped this helped.
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Oh my gosh....ive been wondering what this could be for years now.  My daughters nearly 6 years old and she regulary tenses up...I call it "Doin The Dinosaur" as she'll be happily playing and then from out of nowhere shes suddenly tense up her arms and sort of twist her neck a wee bit and opens her mouth...it kinda looks like she's pretending to be a
t-rex,thus giving it the name "Doin the Dinosaur" lol   it kinda looks like shes getting a full body shiver and then in 2 seconds its all over with. Ive tried asking her why she does it or what she feels while its happening but she cant really explain anything to me due to her being quite young. Have to add that she is perfect in every other way and is ahead of her class in every subject so I was concerned that there was something sinister going on in her brain but after reading this it seems that I may not have to really worry. Phew.
Avatar universal
Thanks to JoeG04 I now understand the reason why my son does this. My son (just turned 4) he tenses his arms and legs, his wrist/hands would curl and sometimes he would jump a bit depends on how excited he is.This all started only 4months ago as his interaction with games on iPhone, iPad or PS3 became more real to him as this stimulated his excitement. It freaked me out when I first saw this because it wasn't normal. But after noticing he only does it when he's excited like playing his game, or watching TV wen something is happening intense, scary, action packed etc. My son is perfect in every other way as I don't believe he realises what he's doing as long as he's not hurting himself or anyone else I'm algoods with this "stunning". I'm confidant he will be able to control this as he gets older with a bit of help from us (his family). I don't believe doctors need to get involved I see it as him trying to express his emotion but I will definitely keep you updated :)

Hi there! Your comment sounds exactly like what my son does as well and hes 4... Ive just started thinking about the fact that he does this and wondering if it is an indication of anything else. My son too is developmentally very normal if not advanced and Ive gone through a checklist of autistic/aspergers/adhd symptoms.. none of which he qualifies for. Does your son still do this/has he learned how to manage it? I dont want to stop the behavior I just want him to be aware of it so maybe he can lessen it a bit in social situations, although it happens much less frequently now than it did when he was younger.
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Shoot that stunning was meant to be "stimming" lol
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I don't think what the people above are describing is "stimming". Our (just turned) four year old son has done something similar for the past 2.5 years.

When our son is playing and focusing on a toy/game or when the television show he is watching is exciting to him, he will tense his upper body (particularly his arms) and really focus in on the toy/show for a couple of seconds while he's super tense and shaking a little bit. Then he stops. Sometimes he'll do it two or three times in a row. He doesn't do it all the time but it's at least a few times each day.

After reading about stimming, it doesn't like that. But the above descriptions do sound very much like what my son does.

The best way I can describe what's happening is that he's relieving excitement/pressure in his body through his tensing up. It's almost as though he can't handle the level of enthusiasm he has and his body is channeling out of him!
Is ther any  term for this
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