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need advice on overly attached kid...(6 yrs old)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Ok... my oldest son is 6.  He has a problem with me leaving...STILL.  He was in daycare for 3 months, from 5-8 mos and that was a disaster.  He tried preschool when he was 4... THAT was a disaster.  We homeschool ...  He will not let me leave.  I'm not sure if this a monster I've created, or if its just him.  And, I don't know how to help him get over it.

 

He's usually fine at sports kinds of things -- he's doing soccer, and he'll run off and play (he was fine the first practice, didn't play the first game (which I can kind of understand since dh said there were a few shouters in the audience and he's never seen that before), he was fine the next few... the last game I took him to, he didn't play (but I think thats because I ran back to the car while he was off for warm ups -- we forgot his water in the car and i didn't think he'd notice i left, but they'd finished warm up before i was back- and i didn't tell him where i was going)...

 

He had ccd today.  We're catholic -- and our church does not allow homeschooling 1st or 2nd grade -- they're sacrament years.  He can only miss a certain number of times...today was the 3rd class...and he ran out and would NOT stay.  Tears/crying...running out and away (and he KNOWS NOT to run in parking lots).  The first class, I stayed on church grounds, but not in his room and not where he could see.  He came out asking to go back.  Second class, I dropped him off and he was fine...again couldn't wait to go back...we skipped a week, and then today was a disaster.  His teacher (he has 2) came out to try and get him to go back in... she finally just went in alone.

 

I can't teach -- I have 2 other littles at home, and am pg with another.  It's not at a time when I can have someone come watch the others to stay with him either... 

 

My parents are blaming homeschooling...  saying I'm not letting him get over it.  I just don't know what to do anymore... I like homeschooling, but I don't want it to hurt him...  and he will eventually go to school and I'd rather not be dropping off a screaming child at age 8 or 9 or whenever he goes... and my husband is starting to believe my parents (that its homeschoolings fault). 

 

I just don't know what to do... advice?  similar stories?  anything would help right now I think...

 

and if you made it through all that...thanks!!

post #2 of 20

This post has been removed due to privacy reasons.


Edited by rainbow_mandala - 11/15/12 at 11:30pm
post #3 of 20

This sounds like a situation where some play therapy may help your guy.

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbow_mandala View Post

It sounds to me like he's extra sensitive in the attachment department, not sure exactly why, though.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was probably daycare when he was a baby...he may have become really upset when you left and you weren't there to console him.  Thus, this is probably an old wound that hasn't been healed.



Rainbow Mandala has some pretty good advice about the step ladder approach, but please DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF for any of this. DAYCARE DID NOT DO IT!! That's ridiculous. 

 

I have a child with anxiety issues who was never in daycare and she was just born this way. You could tell from the get-go. It's nothing anyone did to her and nothing any situation did to her. 

 

The step by step approach has been really helpful with her. For the CDC class I would walk him into class. Can you and your littler kids play in the nursery while he's in class? Is that an option, or is there a playground on the church grounds? If they have some normal breaks you might (like they might start class with a circle and then break that up to move into another activity) that can be a good time to say goodbye. It can be hard to just jump right into a situation. You might need to stay for the beginning of the class or you might be able to stay on the grounds and then come back and say goodbye. Don't ever sneak off. That makes the anxiety worse. Always come back and say goodbye before you really go. 

 

Since you're homeschooling you will need to build in several opportunities like soccer, playdates, etc, for him to work on stretching himself so he's comfortable with leaving you. Anxiety is a little like a tightrope -- you've got to find the right balance. You can't toss him in the deep end and hope he teaches himself to swim -- that's just asking for him to be anxious about water (or whatever the real situation is) forever. Likewise you can't let him stay away from the swimming pool forever or he'll never learn to swim. You've got to facilitate him easing himself in gently and getting comfortable before he can stick his head under the water. Sometimes it takes a long time, but you've got to be patient. Don't let him avoid it, though. Avoidance builds up the anxiety. He's got to keep moving forward and taking baby steps. If you used homeschooling to help him avoid all possible situations where he would separate from you then you would be facilitating his avoidance and making the situation worse, but it doesn't sound like that's what you're doing. You've got to keep pushing him just a teeny bit. You can't push too much or it will backfire, though. 

 

hth

post #5 of 20

these are great suggestions, all of them. my lo is only 2.5, but we have had challenges with extended frequent nighttime wakings and resurgences of "separation anxiety" at various points. one thing i've found to be important in situations like these is my own mental and emotional state about his dependence/independence needs. i have found that when i am very sure of what my lo is developmentally capable of, he can sense it and it seems to help him take the steps, gradually. also, for me, when lo shows such strong reactivity, it creates more anxiety in me about it. i begin to question my own sense of what is, my own intuition as his mother, rather than maintaining a sense of calm confidence that "he's ok. he's capable. he's ready for this small step (even though he may not know it yet, i can hold that for him"). i've found that when i can stay centered and clear about what he needs and is ready for, his anxiety lessens. a child developing secure attachment needs a strong, secure base to return to.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

They won't let me stay in the room with him... I already asked (not that it would be practical for more than a week or two since all my babysitters work at that time and i have the other 2)  There's really no place I can stay with the other two on the grounds, although I could probably see if my dh can hook me up with some sort of tv/computer thing to sit them in the car with for the hour and a half class - so we'd at least be in the parking lot (i dont think thats fair for the other 2, nor do i like giving them too much screen time...but for a few times it would be ok).

 

He was doing so well... he was in a sports program all last year that I dropped him off at and left...  no problems...  and we get to the occasional library day where he goes off into another area of the library and i stay behind (on the premises, but not in sight) ...  sigh... 

post #7 of 20

This book might really resonate with your son and help him feel a little better about being apart. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-String-Patrice-Karst/dp/0875167349/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318988424&sr=8-1

 

Tjej

post #8 of 20

This post has been removed due to privacy reasons.


Edited by rainbow_mandala - 11/15/12 at 11:30pm
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbow_mandala View Post

I didn't say anything about blame--just saying that it could very well have been daycare that made him extra sensitive when it comes to attachment.  It couldn't be helped and it might not even be the cause, just thought I'd share my perspective.  

 

 

 

Nor did I say you said anything about blame. I said you had constructive suggestions. The OP said that some other people in her life were suggesting it was her decision to homeschool that was to blame. I completely disagree.

 

If a child is truly anxious and has the kind of true separation anxiety that she's describing (though I will say what I experienced with my dd1 was probably worse) it doesn't have anything to do with any outside situation (homeschool, daycare, etc). If the child is the anxious sort to begin with they may react in a pronounced anxious fashion to a situation that wouldn't faze a more resilient child. This is because this is how the child is innately — not because of anything having to do with the situation barring abuse, of course. If all the children who were homeschooled (perhaps by these parents or maybe not) or all the children who went to a particular daycare, or to the CDC class had this kind of severe sep anxiety then you might want to look at what is going on in the situation closely and make sure that something is not awry. However when only one child has this kind of severe sep anxiety, it's most likely the child's personality and not anything anyone else (parent, daycare provider, teacher) has done. There are some things that can be done to help the child, but it's unlikely that anything the parents or care providers have done is the cause. 

 

My dd1 was born extra sensitive and anxious. DH and I are not anxious people by nature. DD2 is not anxious and will often take greater chances than dd1 will even though she's 3 yrs younger. DD1s anxious tendencies are just part of who she is. I think it's our job as parents to help her learn to deal with them, but I don't think that there's anything we have done, or any situations we have put her in, that have made her that way.
 

 

post #10 of 20

My first child, was an extremely attached child up until about 6.5/7 years old. Then she just started growing out of it.

 

I think some kids are just wired that way. I think I was a bit this way too, I just spent lots of nights cowering in fear in my room alone, sucked my thumb until 7 and was forced by a dental appliance not too, wet the bed until 6, and wrestled with bouts of nightmares and insomnia as an older child and teen to compensate. I believe that it is a true need, one that needs to be met before they will grow out of it.

 

Although it is not easy, I think you need to continue to encourage his Independence like you have been by giving him opportunities to be so, but still be there to meet the need for attachment has it comes up. He will out grow it.

 

If your gut is telling you it's something more, I don't see why seeking out professional guidance would be a bad thing. Just keep an open mind about who you seek help from, not everyone will be a good fit for your child and family culture.

post #11 of 20

This post has been removed due to privacy reasons.


Edited by rainbow_mandala - 11/15/12 at 11:30pm
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Nor did I say you said anything about blame.



Rainbow, I think you misread  what I said again, quoted above. I said, I didn't say YOU said anything about blame. I'm fully aware that I told her not to blame herself, esp since I wrote it in all caps. I think you had a lot of good suggestions in your initial post about taking a step ladder approach, as well.

 

I stand by my assertion that unless there is abuse involved, in a NORMAL daycare, CDC, any other situation, if a child experiences a lot of sep anxiety it is almost always due to the child's personality. The situation is not causing the anxiety. Other kids aren't anxious. If there's abuse/bullying going on that can certainly cause anxiety, but the OP has not described anything like that. It's not the child's fault, either, but it's just the way some kids are wired. I never said it wasn't related to something that happened to them. The anxious kids are anxious because NORMAL things happen to them, like getting dropped off at class or school. Some kids really just have a hard time with things that other more resilient children don't have trouble with. 

 

 

 

Quote: AbbieB
I think some kids are just wired that way. I think I was a bit this way too, I just spent lots of nights cowering in fear in my room alone, sucked my thumb until 7 and was forced by a dental appliance not too, wet the bed until 6, and wrestled with bouts of nightmares and insomnia as an older child and teen to compensate. I believe that it is a true need, one that needs to be met before they will grow out of it.

 

I agree that some kids are just wired that way. The professional psychologists that I have consulted have agreed, also.

post #13 of 20

This post has been removed due to privacy reasons.


Edited by rainbow_mandala - 11/15/12 at 11:29pm
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbow_mandala View Post

f I had to guess, I'd say it was probably daycare when he was a baby...he may have become really upset when you left and you weren't there to console him.  Thus, this is probably an old wound that hasn't been healed. 



I like the rest of your advice, but this is not helpful and, although not specifically blaming, certainly likely to induce guilt in an already distraught mother.

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys... This is very helpful.  And its nice to see that not everyone is blaming homeschooling.  I honestly think its just something that he will grow out of -- just on his timetable, not mine or the school systems, or the church's.  BUT, i also don't want him being years older than the other kids making his 1st communion either...  He CAN do this.  He HAS done stuff like it... I don't think its stretching him too much. 

 

SO...more specific question for ya.  We get to ccd and I walk him to his room and into his seat.  I say goodbye and walk away (some days he walks by himself,others he grabs my arm and pushes me in front of him).  He sits for a sec, then bolts after me...  how would you handle it? 

 

(And, i love the book recommendation.  I ordered it and can't wait to get it so we can read it together!!)

post #16 of 20

This post has been removed due to privacy reasons.


Edited by rainbow_mandala - 11/15/12 at 11:29pm
post #17 of 20
Originally Posted by happy1nluv View Post

He had ccd today.  We're catholic -- and our church does not allow homeschooling 1st or 2nd grade -- they're sacrament years.  He can only miss a certain number of times...today was the 3rd class...and he ran out and would NOT stay.  Tears/crying...running out and away (and he KNOWS NOT to run in parking lots).  The first class, I stayed on church grounds, but not in his room and not where he could see.  He came out asking to go back.  Second class, I dropped him off and he was fine...again couldn't wait to go back...we skipped a week, and then today was a disaster.  His teacher (he has 2) came out to try and get him to go back in... she finally just went in alone.


My parents are blaming homeschooling...  saying I'm not letting him get over it.  I just don't know what to do anymore... I like homeschooling, but I don't want it to hurt him...  and he will eventually go to school and I'd rather not be dropping off a screaming child at age 8 or 9 or whenever he goes... and my husband is starting to believe my parents (that its homeschoolings fault). 

 

Blaming homeschooling is just silly  -- my state doesn't have universal pre-k, so there are a lot of children who don't start school until 5.5-6yo; according to your ILs I guess they should all have extreme separation anxiety headscratch.gif, and telling someone to "just get over it" will not result in it magically going away. My older child (started K at 5.5) would drop me like a hot potato at 3yo, but he still has anxiety, it just appears in different situations.

 

I would start looking for a therapist now, I don't see a reason to wait to get help on this.

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

tjej - i just got that book today and read it right away... i think its AWESOME!!!  I haven't had a chance to read it to my 6 year old yet -- he came down sick this morning...  but, GREAT suggestion!! :)

 

There's been lots of great suggestions and lots to think about... I know its kind of like asking a biased audience since there's a strong homeschooling population - or at least more tolerant of hsers than the general population here... but, after getting beat up by my family about hs'ing... its great to hear that no one thinks it could be linked at all (love my family, but they're very in-your-face about things... and my father more so, since he had a brain issue some years back and it affected whatever part of the brain controls tact, not that he ever had a ton) ...   I'll definitely share how next tues goes...  (my family means well -- but they're a lil close minded...it comes from a place of love, so i try and overlook their tenaciousness on occasion and teach my kids extra hard about tolerance and new ideas)

 

:)

post #19 of 20

I'm glad you like it.  It is one my kids really understood and appreciate.  Even today, we had some kids over and the little girl started to cry for her mom.  My DS brought out the book and asked to read it.  I'm pretty sure he wanted to reassure her. :)

 

Stark

post #20 of 20

ITA with this other that homeschool has nothing to do with it.  He may need some therapy, I don't think that level of attachment sounds normal.  Maybe it's in the range of normal and he will grow out of it, but if I were you, to be sure, I'd take him to see someone to get a good idea of what is going on.  

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