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My DS went through a phase just like that from the time he was 22 months, until about 28 months. I had actually posted on here for advice, too!
I almost pulled him out of his gym class because anytime another child came near him he would have a meltdown, cry, put his hand out like he was afraid the kid was going to come too close, do something to him, take what he had etc. When we'd go to the park, if another kid got behind him on the stairs going up or anything like that, he'd freak. It was like he was extremely paranoid.
At around 28 months it just disappeared. All of a sudden he never had a problem at gym class or anywhere else again. Many people told me it sounded like a typical 2 year old but I worried it wasn't normal...but they were right I guess!
ETA: Here's a link to my post about it when we were going through it: http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/73740614.aspx
Aimee...those replies make me feel SO much better! Do you know if he had those meltdowns when you weren't around?
I can't say if my son does it with my husband because I'm always around as well. But I definitely know from the nursery workers at the gym that he does just fine when I'm not there.
I can't believe I could still have months of this! It is very embarrassing and I feel like our friends won't want to be around us because, really, who wants to take their child around a kid who screams at them?! And I feel like people don't get to know how amazing and sweet my son really is.
I felt the same way! I always felt like saying "you probably don't believe me but he is not a brat!" He started having this problem around 22 months and I can't really say what he would have been like without me because honestly there just didn't happen to be times he was playing with kids without me around (I was very pregnant, and then had a newborn, during this phase). Prior to this, until he was 19 months, he had gone to daycare a couple times a week and I know he didn't have this problem at that time.
I didn't even want to leave the house with him during this time and didn't know what to do. None of the other kids he was around were acting this way despite being around the same age. I had even posted at one point asking people who I should talk to if I think my son has a behavioral disorder. Now I'm so thankful that it went away on it's own and fairly quickly once it did. It's so much nicer to be able to go out now and not deal with this. I hope things turn around for you sooner rather than later!