My son, just turned four, has always been quite attached, not a go-getter as far as making new friends. Very timid with physical activity of any kind (participating with others such as clapping or other actions, also doing "rough" play such as climbing, etc.) When we take him to new places, he sits on our laps, holding on tight, even when there are other children around. He's the sort of kid who likes to sit in the front room and "read" books, or hang out quietly with his best friend.
In the past few months, he has become more and more anxiety-ridden about being left alone. Or maybe just being alone in the first place.
I'd say in the past year he's had this odd thing he does when walking. If you get ahead of him (or his friend) by even a few feet, he absolutely loses control. Sobs and gasps for air, and will try to stand in front of you and push you back. It isn't that he wants to be the first in line, it's that he wants you to "wait for me!!!" Lately it's been getting much worse.
At a BBQ a few days ago, he refused to go outside with the other children, aged 1-12, all of whom he knows, unless I went outside with him. It wasn't just an ice-breaking thing. He did it for three hours. But he was fine playing alone inside, after he had been there for a while.
This week he started bawling and sobbing during Story Time at the library, where he is in a separate room from me. He's been going for a year and never once had the slightest problem.
The past two gymnastics classes, he broke down, sobbing, wanting to be up in the bleachers with me. I convinced him to go back into the class; he agreed to do it if I stood in the door. He screamed, "Don't move!" at me every 2-3 minutes, and continued sobbing as he either stood and watched the other children or sometimes joined in. Mostly he just yelled at me to stay there, or at the teacher, saying he didn't want to do something. When we got into the car, he told me how much he likes gymnastics and how he wants to go back - so I don't understand if I'm supposed to try to convince him to go back out into the ring or not? The only reason I take him there is because three "childhood professionals" recommended I do it to try to help him learn about participation without me around.
The more I watch other children around him grow up and become comfy in public, the more I'm becoming concerned. He seems to be the only child around acting this way. And it's just heartbreaking to see how upset he gets. I don't know the proper way to react to any of it ...