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It's An Epidemic! Thin Skin Disorder (TSD) Proper Diagnosis and Suggested Treatment

Updated on August 6, 2008

They walk among us.

They are found in every place inhabited by humans.

They are quick to criticize and even quicker to anger when criticized.

I am referring to the thin-skinned co-worker, family member, neighbor or friend, and I am willing to bet every one reading my words has made the acquaintance of a person suffering from TSD. It is a serious problem and must be treated at an early age.

I am convinced that 99.9% of all toddlers suffer from some form of TSD. I have studied the TSD phenomenon for many years and I have developed a few theories to explain the condition. These are in no way scientific and have not been clinically proven, but I am certain these characteristics are for the most part universal with little or no variation.

Warning Signs

While it is difficult to determine before the age of two, by the two year mark most toddlers will show distinct signs of TSD. It is critical for parents to recognize the following warning signs:

  1. Throwing temper tantrums every time they hear the word "no"
  2. Unusually severe frustration while opening a latched cabinet door
  3. Hitting a sibling when a toy they want is withheld
  4. Tattling on a sibling for doing something trivial

This is not a complete list, but these are the most common. Unfortunately, there is no cure for toddler TSD syndrome. Patience, creative parenting and the passage of time are the only known techniques for dealing with TSD.

Parents must begin to counteract the symptoms of TSD when children are between the ages of five and eight years. This is the most crucial period for combating the prolonged effects of TSD. There is a very fine line each parent must walk to avoid causing unnecessary outbreaks of TSD and teaching children how to control their symptoms. While there are no universal guidelines for reversing TSD, the following suggestions have worked well for me.

Suggestions for Deterrence

  • When a temper tantrum is taking place, encourage your little one to throw an even better tantrum! I have gone as far as asking Abby if that is the loudest she can scream; or if that is as hard as she can kick her feet. I have even joined her on the floor and demonstrated how to throw a more effective tantrum. This almost always causes my princess to realize how ridiculous she looks and concludes the tantrum with laughter. I will admit this is a delicate proposition and care must be taken to not lengthen or inflame the tantrum. If done correctly, tantrums will become much less frequent and less severe.
  • To discourage a child from hitting to get something from their sibling, a sharp slap on the top of the hand is very effective. Even a two year old can understand the importance of 'asking' for a toy rather than hitting the possessor and demanding it be turned over. It is important to model for the attacking sibling how to ask nicely for the desired object. Insist that they request the item with an interrogative phrase that includes the word ‘please.' Example: "May I have that car, please?" Accept the request by the offending sibling if the effort is made and allow the child to acquire the toy. This will normally lead to a protest by the sibling losing the object, in which case you may need to refer back to the previous deterrent.
  • Tattling and whining about the actions of a sibling is one of the most difficult symptoms of TSD to break. Parents will definitely be confronted with this symptom most often and in varying degrees. One effective way to handle tattling is called "Acknowledge and Ignore." I employ this technique most often. For example:

"Daddy, Joe told me I was bad-bad!"

"Really honey? That's nice..."

"But DADDY! I don't like when Joe says that!"

"Me neither, honey."

Once she realizes that I am not going to do anything about it, she normally drops it.

  • Whining can be handled in a similar manner, but there is another method which can also be utilized effectively- the whiney voice answer. For example: (imagine the whiniest voice you have heard)

"Daadddyyy! I want to go outside! Please daddy pulllleeeaazzzze!"

"Aaabbbbyyy! You can't go outside now because it is too laaaaaaaate!"

When I respond to her whine with the exact sounding whine I almost always get a smile from my baby girl. This may not work with all children, but I have had great success with this approach.

Adult TSD

The importance of getting TSD syndrome under control at an early age cannot be overstated. Adult suffers of TSD are often unaware of their condition. Even when TSD is identified, it is often passed off as stress or the effect of a frustrating experience from earlier in the day/week. It is important to know the signs. Like most disorders, the afflicted must be willing to admit they have a problem. Here are some of the warning signs:

  1. General bitterness and negativity. TSD sufferers will often become defensive, and lash out with hurtful comments.
  2. Unwillingness to accept criticism. Adult suffers of TSD have difficulty accepting criticism; even when offered constructively.
  3. Incessant Whining. Though much like the first warning sign, this one differs because the comments are not normally directed at an individual. They are rather random statements made to no one specific person. This symptom may be exhibited in a room full of people or when the sufferer is alone.

TSD is a serious condition that requires immediate intervention. Recovery times vary, and many sufferers never fully conquer this terrible disorder. I do not advise the abandonment of TSD victims, even when the prognosis is grim, but it will take a patient loved one to help the afflicted overcome this condition. At this time, the cure success rate is undetermined.

Much like the role of the designated driver, it is incumbent upon the TSD sufferers' friends and relatives to limit the amount of responsibilities he/she is allowed. An identified victim of TSD should never be given the role of CEO, CFO, or most importantly Commander and Chief.

Recently, at a town hall meeting in Michigan, McCain supporters handed out tire gauges to all participants at an Obama rally. This act was solely aimed at poking fun of Mr. Obama's outrageous claim that simply "airing up our car tires" would save as much oil as we would gain by drilling off shore. Mr. Obama displayed the classic signs of TSD with his response to this act during a speech in Berea, Ohio.

Classic Symptom #3 Incessant Whining

Until Mr. Obama can admit he suffers with TSD and seeks help to overcome this terrible disorder, he is absolutely unfit to serve as the nation's president. Can you imagine what he would do to Iran if they dared to make fun of his ears? One word, Hiroshima!


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    • Stay at Home Dad profile imageAUTHOR

      Stay at Home Dad 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Here's the funny thing Lyn... since I wrote this hub my beautiful wife and I have had a little baby girl. She is 14 months, and she sits down and hits her head on the floor when she is mad. She is a little too young for this technique, but if I acknowledge her tantrum she hits her head again and again. I may need to purchase a helmet for her before I encourage to "turn it up" when she is bumping her head on the floor!

      Proof that not all techniques work with every child. =)

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image


      7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      thats hillarious ...I used the same tantrum technics on my son when he was a toddler it truly does work

    • Stay at Home Dad profile imageAUTHOR

      Stay at Home Dad 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Hey hypnosis4u2...

      My daughter is now five and this technique still makes her smile. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my hub. All the best to you... :)

    • hypnosis4u2 profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      I wish I'd had the advice for dealing with TSD for one of mine when he was growing up I would have coped better with it. I love the way you dealt with the kid whining about wanting to go out late.

    • profile image

      Skin care 

      9 years ago

      very cute baby at the top photo.

    • Stay at Home Dad profile imageAUTHOR

      Stay at Home Dad 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, sadly- it seems that many liberals that I have had any contact with suffer from TSD. 

      Proceed with caution on trying any of these methods with your spouse.  Only you know her temperment, but I have never tested any of these on an adult female.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment... :)

    • tony0724 profile image


      9 years ago from san diego calif

      Is It me or do lots of liberals suffer from TSD ? Also I was thinking about trying some of the methods you used on Abby on my significant other . However I am Inclined to believe I will get some type of object thrown at me ,I mean she Is a full grown woman who does not always appreciate my unique sense of humor .

    • Stay at Home Dad profile imageAUTHOR

      Stay at Home Dad 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      I have many friends with whom I disagree on political issues and we share mutual respect for each other. I would get bored if we all agreed all the time.

      Take care my friend and thanks for your respectful dissent...

    • talented_ink profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I respect your opinion and if you feel that Obama doesn't address the issues you feel most important about, then he shouldn't be able to win your vote. The nice thing here is that when two thick skinned people disagree, it's possible to simply agree to disagree.

    • Stay at Home Dad profile imageAUTHOR

      Stay at Home Dad 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      You know I love you T_I, but I am not sure about Obama. I agree that he handled the Clinton onslaught with much grace, but he just doesn’t seem to know where he stands on numerous issues. And you have to admit that he says some pretty unusual things.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy about the prospect of President McCain either, but Obama is just too far to the left for me.

    • talented_ink profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I know of numerous people who suffer from TSD and it is both comical and a little sad that people can be so sensitive and unwilling to listen to constructive criticism. The whining of course is immature and is likely to make that person unapproachable. For once, I can agree with you on everything up until your comments about Obama because after all the mudslinging that he has endured from Clinton, Wright, and other naysayers, I'd say he's been pretty tactful and thick skinned.


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