Fear of Laughter in toddlers

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by monica77, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. monica77

    monica77 Well-Known Member


    I mentioned it on a different thread that Vanessa is afraid of strangers. She will be 2 on Sept 3rd. This weekend my DH's Grandma flew in to spend some time with us. Grandma is staying at my Father in Law's house but they visit a lot and we go there also. So on Saturday grandma came to our house and Vanessa was SO afraid of her, she was afraid to even look at her. We explained how Grandma is Granpa's mommy she loves us we love her... Grandma visited last year also, and Vanessa was fine with her then, but of course she doesn't remember her. After about an hour she was looking at her, but she wasn't comfortable around her. Yesterday we went to dad's house and of course she saw Grandma again. Before we went I explained to her that we are going to grandpa's house and grandma will be there, and we love her and grandma loves her, we shouldn't be afraid of her. She was so much better yesterday, she was OK to be in the same room with Grandma and also she started to play and be more relaxed around her. In the end, before we left she even gave Grandma a kiss and a hug. I am hoping this is a good sign and she will become friends with grandma soon.

    Another issue we have with Vanessa is that she seemes so afraid of laughter. She is not afraid of loud noises at all. She's OK with fireworks, the vacuum cleaner, the lawn mower, or big rollercoasters. She just starts crying if anyone laughs out loud. I never made a big deal about it until today, when I didn't have anything better to do and I googled it... NOT a good idea, it scares me what I found. I want to ask you guys, what do you think? Is that a bad thing that she's afraid of laughter? She seems normal to me. She knows some colors, she can say about 60 words, and she can say "I love you" (OK it sounds more like "I owe u"), but she knows what it means and she can say it in the correct context. She also recognizes some letters. She is as normal as she can be I think, she seems to understand most of what we tell her to do. She doesn't nap too well and we always had sleep issues with her, but other than that she is a happy toddler.

    The things I found online when I googled "fear of strangers and fear of laugher" scared me, so I want to see what you guys think, if I should be alarmed or just hope she will grow out of it. Is there anything we can do to help her get over her fear of laughter? She has no other fears, she's not afraid of the dark, or water or anything else.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Is she afraid when familiar people laugh or just unfamiliar people? Does she laugh? What does she do when you, DH, or DS laugh?

    I'm guessing Google showed some results involving Autism or other sensory-related issues? Have you gone through an Autism checklist to see if there are other areas of concern? Does she respond to her name? Play correctly with toys? Imitate you or others? How does she interact with familiar people?

    Google has scared me many times, most of those times I have been worried for absolutely no reason! :hug:
  3. monica77

    monica77 Well-Known Member

    Good question - she is afraid of grown ups' laughter only, especially mine, but everyone who laughs scares her and she cries histerically, we need to calm her down or give her a paci. She is OK with her brother laughing and she laughs and giggles a lot also - as I said she is a happy toddler. At the beginning I thought she was crying because she was byting her tongue while eating - it always happens at the dinner table - if we all talk and laugh at something, she starts crying - the laughing scares her, not the talking. We thought she was getting offended that we were laughing at her but it seems that she cries whenever a grown up laughs, even if it's not about her. I also want to add that it's something that started recently - maybe in the last month or so, she was fine with laughter before.
  4. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Maybe she is just going through a phase because it startled her or is louder than she is comfortable with. Honestly, I won't say that it is common or nothing to worry about, because I really don't know that. But one symptom or sign of something is not indicative of a diagnosis. Lots of children have one or two quirks that also are listed as possible areas of concern and most of those children go on to develop into typically developing children. However, checklists and screenings exist for a reason - and if you are concerned or if you notice other areas of her development that concern you (social interactions, language, sensory issues, etc.), it is always worth a call to your pediatrician. There are many checklists online that can help you see if there are other areas of concern, if you want to check them out.
  5. w101ttd

    w101ttd Well-Known Member

    A toddler is afraid of strangers is totally normal, even for kids going to daycare. It's a bit weird that she is afraid of laughters. But I would not jump in any conclusion. Toddlers usually go through some quick and strange phases. Maybe, she saw some scared laughter on tv or somewhere that scared her. So she doesn't like it now. You don't know. I remember you said your kids stay home with grandparents. So it's absolutely normal that she's afraid of strangers. I would say keep your eyes on the situation for now. As a mom, what is your gut tells you? If u think it's normal, then it's normal. Don't worry too much.

    My kids go to daycare 2 days/week for 8 months. However, Nolan is still afraid if strangers. He used to cry so bad when he was surrounded by family members whom he didn't see often. Now he doesn't cry, but is uncomfortable for awhile. Even at school, he plays by himself. He is not a big fan of team work. But if he is comfortable, he is a very very funny boy. He is always happy and talks talks so much,even more than his sis. He knows hundreds of words, sentences. I am always surprised when he learns all that... If I think he has autism, no. It's just his personality. It comes from my husbands family. They are all like that. They are all couch potatoes, very smart, and think they are different from others. They don't have many friends. But they have close and old friends and treat them like family. It's the main reason I send my kids to school in early age. I want Nolan to break that "generic shell" and be open and out going....

    Don't worry too much. If u want to make sure, call their doc office. Also, take tem to playground, play dates more often. We have zoo, kids discovery museum memberships. They always go there on the weekends. And it helps them a lot for knowledge and being more comfortable around strangers and learning sharing and taking turns,... Good luck!
  6. 3under2!

    3under2! Well-Known Member

    If you end up being really concerned, you can get a free evaluation at your local Early Intervention Center. Usually you only need a prescription from your doctor for it, and if your insurance doesn't cover any (some?) of the therapies reccommended by the EIC, EIC will cover it for you. Just some helpful information :)

    But I agree with what w101ttd said :)
  7. monica77

    monica77 Well-Known Member

    I wanted to update this thread, thank you for your replies. Vanessa is getting better about her fear of strangers lately. We went on vacation to the beach and that helped her get out of her shell more, or she just grew and developed more in the meantime. I was trying to think outside the box to help her get over her fear of laughter, so I came up with a plan that worked. She is laughing so hard when being tickled, and so am I. So one afternoon we were on the floor playing and I asked my DH to tickle both Vanessa and I at the same time. He started tickling her and she was LOL and then he started to tickle me, then her, then me. Then Max came and laid down to be tickled also. I think we all laughed like that for 10 minutes non stop. After that she became much better with laughter. She doesn't seem to mind it anymore, occasionally she would just stop and look up when someone laughs out loud but she doesn't cry anymore. I will mention this issue to her 2 year check-up next month, but I hope it was just a weird toddler phase.
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