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Why are people pressuring me to 'wean' my dd, 6, from my presence?

post #1 of 97
Thread Starter 
Why are people pressuring me to 'wean' my dd, 6, from my presence? I don't get this. I'd like to hear both sides of this if possible, so please reply if you are one who is being pressured or has been or someone who is pressuring someone else or has pressured someone else to leave there kid with other people.

Dd has went places with her dad probably a dozen times without me throughout her life. She has been left at home with dad when I have went places probably two dozen times. She has been watched by her aunt once when we were moving boxes at the house we were moving into so we were constantly popping in and out, her one grandma twice with me still in the same house but taking a break/nap with ds in a different room, and her other grandma she spent the night with once when ds was born.

As far as being left at activities and classes, no. And I am feeling a loss of choice and freedom as I am beginning to explore these oppurtunities for her. Brownie troop- They only want one parent helper there at a time, rotated. So I couldn't be there with her. Dance class- No parents allowed, except through a viewing window three times a year. I want to be there for her IF she wants or needs me. Just like I am at home. She does not want or need me constantly, she is 6. But I want to be there for if she does. I have not fostered this attachment with her to not be there if she wants me.

Sports- I get to stay, BUT, if dd decides she doesn't want to go to a practice here and there, she'll be penalized by not being allowed to play or being kicked off the team. I DO understand why, because they want the kids to be able to practice so they can WIN, right? Not so much what I'm looking for for my dd.

So, I'm okay with no activities for now. She is homeschooled, but socializes with loads of people of diverse ages in our neighborhood on a regular basis as well as family. We also do the library and park regularly and she is always chatting up adults and playing with other kids. I guess I'm just not sure why people, family and people we have met, neighbors and even near strangers seem to be pressuring us that she should be leaving me and she should be 'weaned' from me. What is up with this train of thought? Where is it coming from and where is it going?
post #2 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen View Post

As far as being left at activities and classes, no. And I am feeling a loss of choice and freedom as I am beginning to explore these oppurtunities for her. Brownie troop- They only want one parent helper there at a time, rotated. So I couldn't be there with her. Dance class- No parents allowed, except through a viewing window three times a year. I want to be there for her IF she wants or needs me. Just like I am at home. She does not want or need me constantly, she is 6. But I want to be there for if she does. I have not fostered this attachment with her to not be there if she wants me.
First, maybe you can tell us more about your thought process. Most kids are ready by age six to be dropped off at playdates or to be regularly left home with their dad while mom isn't at home. What is it that you think would happen if you aren't there when she wants you?

As far as why you are getting the reaction, I think it is because what you are choosing is pretty unusual (and I say that as a homeschooling parent who knows lots of APed kids). In particular the part about not being regularly left with her dad without you seems atypical. Most folks do find even their APed kids are ready for playdates or a class without mom by this age. I don't know your situation but is there something unusual about your daughter's needs or her attachment that breaks like this are difficult? What is she saying about being places without you? And, what will be your sign that she's independent enough for these experiences?
post #3 of 97
When my son was 6 he had probabley been away from me even less than your daughter. He had never been away from me over night (his sister was born at home). He prefered me to his dad (who is wonderful, but wasn't me!) I rarely left him with dad, because he preferred going with me and I was fine with that. We also homeschool.

Now he is 17 (just!) and has been very independant of me for years (boo hoo). He has stayed home while sister, dad, and I have gone away for several nights. He is fine going off with friends, staying with dad--whatever--and has been for years and years!

I think people are pressuring you because it makes them feel guilty to see how you treat your child. They don't want to be with their kid as much as you are with yours, and that arrouses feelings of inadequacy in them, feelings that their love for their child is not measuring up to yours. If I had a nickel for every time someone admitted to me that they just didn't enjoy being with their own child--it would have been a steady stream of taxable income.

Enjoy this time together, I really, really miss it now that it is almost past.
post #4 of 97
The only pressure I received on this was from my MIL to leave my dc at the children's Sabbath school and go to the adult church program which I did not do since we were visiting and did not know anyone in the room. I usually pick activities where no one cares if I stay to watch. I truly don't have a problem allowing my dc to go to something without me but they usually ask me to stay. My ds1 started going to some classes without me when he was 7. He still wanted either my dh or me with him when he first went but became more comfortable after a couple classes. He needs to know at least one person in the room before he feels comfortable and I understand that.
post #5 of 97
I'll be honest. If you refuse to sign your daughter up for age-appropriate activities because you don't get to stay and be with your daughter every. single. minute, you are doing her a grave disservice. You are teaching her that A. She is incapable of functioning without you, and B. She is not 'worthy' of being allowed to do what other girls her age are doing.

I really think you need to rethink your position. If she were pre-school age, that would be appropriate. Not so much with six.
post #6 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetfiend View Post

I think people are pressuring you because it makes them feel guilty to see how you treat your child. They don't want to be with their kid as much as you are with yours, and that arrouses feelings of inadequacy in them, feelings that their love for their child is not measuring up to yours. If I had a nickel for every time someone admitted to me that they just didn't enjoy being with their own child--it would have been a steady stream of taxable income.

.
Wow, that's a really negative view. While I'm sure that may be the case sometimes I'm guessing there are more often other motives behind it and that may include:

1. Some concern that mom isn't getting enough time to take care of herself or she is always putting herself last. If mom is hearing regular encouragment from others to take more time away I think it is worth really stepping back and looking at that. There are AP moms who develop a perfectionist thing where they begin to fear ever leaving their child because they believe attachment will be damaged or that something else bad will happen.

2. Concern that the child is missing out on activities she would enjoy - such as brownies, playdates, time with the other parent or a classes. If a child is locked out of activities their peers typically get to enjoy they may wonder what is wrong with them that their mom doesn't trust that they are capable to participate in these activities.

3. Concern that children need to be attached not just to their mothers but to a broader community of adults. If kids are never left it may be harder for them to develop confidence in their abilities to handle situations without mom and trust that there are other people who are caring and want to help.
post #7 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetfiend View Post
I think people are pressuring you because it makes them feel guilty to see how you treat your child. They don't want to be with their kid as much as you are with yours, and that arrouses feelings of inadequacy in them, feelings that their love for their child is not measuring up to yours. If I had a nickel for every time someone admitted to me that they just didn't enjoy being with their own child--it would have been a steady stream of taxable income.
: I doubt that very much.

I love being with my children, but I also love that they are indpendent beings and enjoy activites on their own without me.
post #8 of 97
My dd really wanted/needed to be with me LOTS. She did stay with Daddy quite a bit, though. Probably right around six, she did start being more independent without pushing. She was in dance class and I was on the other side of a door that sometimes was open, sometimes closed. She did like me to stay -- neither of us would have been happy if I had left the waiting room to go shopping or something. I liked watching her! -- she would turn to me and just beam with happiness. She needed me at the recital, though, so I stayed (even though it was against the "rules" -- she loved that and I could tell that it meant so much to her that I did that) She really did not usually like to be dropped off at a friends house. There was a next door neighbor, though, she would go over on her own to visit. We homeschooled, too, so we were difinitely together alot! My dd at 8 is now in soccer and gets very, very upset if I can't make a game. So I don't make other plans for soccer days! Other places she is so comfortable she doesn't even need me around at all. I wouldn't want her in Brownies by herself so young, personally. So many parents are very disrespectful to kids and also very coercive and I really like to make sure my kids are going to be treated with respect. Once I knew that she was comfortable, though, I would be okay with it. You will probably know when it is time to slowly let go and neither of you will even notice until you think about it retrospectively. IF she is trying to pull away a bit and you are not noticing, though, she will probably get gradually more insistant until you do! I do think that sometimes all Moms have to search their own motivations for behaviors -- not necessarily because our behaviors are wrong, but just because there are two people in that relationship (one of whom generally holds all of the power) and two people that have needs that need to be met.
post #9 of 97
Quote:
As far as being left at activities and classes, no. And I am feeling a loss of choice and freedom as I am beginning to explore these oppurtunities for her. Brownie troop- They only want one parent helper there at a time, rotated. So I couldn't be there with her. Dance class- No parents allowed, except through a viewing window three times a year. I want to be there for her IF she wants or needs me. Just like I am at home. She does not want or need me constantly, she is 6. But I want to be there for if she does. I have not fostered this attachment with her to not be there if she wants me.

Sports- I get to stay, BUT, if dd decides she doesn't want to go to a practice here and there, she'll be penalized by not being allowed to play or being kicked off the team. I DO understand why, because they want the kids to be able to practice so they can WIN, right? Not so much what I'm looking for for my dd.
My dd is 6 as well, the Brownie troop she is in is very small so I always stay for that. I wouldn't have a problem leaving my dd, but we are encouraged to stay and help out if need be. My dd even comes to the PTA meetings w/me (although the kids go to another room). My dd also takes dance and the parents are not allowed to stay unless it is their 1st time. Or feels a little uncomfortable, but usually after the 1st month or so, most if not all of the parents are outside of the room. And quite honestly, having parents sitting in the classroom can be pretty distracting. My dd was in a dance class last year at a community center and of course all the parents were there. They didn't really watch the girls, we were just in the same room. Towards the end of the class they took the girls to the actual dance studio and the parents sat outside, well the teachers said they did great - there were no distractions and they could actually see themselves in the mirrors and fix any problems they were having. If you have all the parents sitting around, you are blocking the girls from seeing what they are doing.

My dd did t-ball last year, and loved it, but she was one who felt the parents were still a distraction b/c some were yelling things out and stuff like that, which of course mayde some of the kids nervous or terribly self-consicious.

My dd is now in 1st grade and even though she is in public school, we are so close. Yes, I am w/her ALOT, more than some kids her age, and it does give her a sense of security, but I also have no problem stepping back and allowing her to explore on her own. I am still her favorite person to play with, and that is alright b/c I know there will come a time where she will prefer someone else over me. The time just has not come yet.
post #10 of 97
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
First, maybe you can tell us more about your thought process. Most kids are ready by age six to be dropped off at playdates or to be regularly left home with their dad while mom isn't at home. What is it that you think would happen if you aren't there when she wants you?

As far as why you are getting the reaction, I think it is because what you are choosing is pretty unusual (and I say that as a homeschooling parent who knows lots of APed kids). In particular the part about not being regularly left with her dad without you seems atypical. Most folks do find even their APed kids are ready for playdates or a class without mom by this age. I don't know your situation but is there something unusual about your daughter's needs or her attachment that breaks like this are difficult? What is she saying about being places without you? And, what will be your sign that she's independent enough for these experiences?
I don't think anything untoward would occur if I wasn't there and she was home with her dad and she wanted me. She has lived with her father from birth, she sees him every day and is comfortable with him fully. The reason why she hasn't been left with her dad more is simply because when he isn't working, we tend to do outings as a family. We like to do things together. Very rarely does one of the children not feel like going on outings and on errands. When that is the case they ask to stay home, and we accomodate that.

If she was left with someone she had just met, as in the case of the brownie troop or dance class, and I left, I do feel that she would essentially trapped into that situation until I arrive again. Yes quite possibly she would be fine and have fun and want to stay and not even think about me until she saw me again. However if she did want me or want to leave this place she has only been this once and I am not there because I have been told staying isn't an option, isn't even a choice, where does that leave her? Stuck with no out until the designated time when it is ok for the parent to come and get her. I am just not comfortable with that. I do not like feeling coerced into leaving my daughter. I want her to be able to do these fun things with the choice of me staying if she wants me too. I feel it severely limits her freedom of choice if I am not there. If I was attending a function and wanted to leave I could, without me there she couldn't.

She has not expressed interest in being left anywhere without me, except for wanting to stay home with dad those few times when I was running a quick errand. There is nothing unusual IMO about her attachment to me or her needs as I see them. I want her to have the choice of whether to stay or go, participate or not on her whim. I guess in others' opinions this is unusual. Just like in others' opinions going outside and watching my children, 4 and 6, play is unusual. You should hear the comments and see some of the looks I get for going out and watching my kids while they play in our neighborhood. I see kids 2 and up outisde with no adult and to me that seems unusual. But to everyone else in my neighborhood I am the strange on who watches the kids, lol.
I socialize with the kids and adults around us just like my kids do. The people I socialize with around here are not shy about making comments, though I do realize they are all nice people who are well meaning. I hear 'they need to know how to act without you there' 'when are they going to go to preschool/school?' 'cut the umbilical cord' 'let them go' 'you should have a break from them' type comments. I actually do happen to enjoy seeing my children at play outside. And I often am reading a book, sewing, crocheting, or just soaking in the sun nearby while they play. I am there if they meet a stranger and say hello and chat them up. I don't scare them about strangers, I am there to monitor their contact with people we don't know yet. They love to meet new people and are very freindly. If they want help climbing a tree, if ds needs help with a shoelace, or their bike chain falls off, etc. No big deal to me. I just don't see where the they should and they need to be without me thing is coming from. I can not grasp the reasoning behind it. I don't understand why some people act as though I am damaging my children in some way by staying in their presence. I mean what's so damaging about my presence anyway? :
post #11 of 97
My daughter was very attached to me also, but we did public school and even a year of Pre-school.

BUT, the best thing I ever did for her was to find her a "Thing". We tried soccer, we tried gymnastics, we tried Awana. The whole time we were trying these "things" she was in dance. I never thought I would be a dance Mom, so I kept looking for a new "thing". We tried volleyball, baton, and more gymnastics.

Turned out her "thing" is dance. She loves dance, she loves her dance friends, She loves her teachers at dance. Everything about dance has always excited her, she tap dances in stores, in line for lunch... she dances all the time.

I think every kid needs a "thing". A place to belong when they get older. A T-shirt that says they belong there.

My daughter is 14, and she is still a dancer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that this is her place. I love that they know her name, they ALL know her name. She has had the same teachers and friends for seven years, and I wouldn't trade a day of it.

I encourage you to try a few "things". You WILL be there if she needs you, you will just be on the other side of the door, but you are there. Watching her. I enjoyed watching her dance. I liked talking to the other dance moms while I waited for class to end. I encourage you to try soccer, dance, gymnastics, art, whatever she seems to love. I have always believed music is VERY important for all humans, but children moreso. You might try piano lessons, you CAN be there for piano lessons. Especially if you chose a teacher who teaches in her home. It is mindnumbingly boring for the parent. It's practically torture.

But, having a "thing" is fun. That sense of belonging to a group and accomplishing something for the team or group is a great feeling.
post #12 of 97
The dance class my dd goes to has a waiting area for the parents. So you are not even leaving the building. The classroom just opens and the parents are right there. Some parents leave and may run errands or something, but other parents stay for those little emergencies (child has to use the bathroom, or gets sick, etc.)
post #13 of 97
I'm not clear from reading your post whether or not your daughter wants to go to these activities, and whether or not she is comfortable going without you. We don't force our six-year-old to be separated from us, but if she wants to do something and she, her dad, and I are all comfortable with the people in charge, we let her go. She's never been away from us for more than a few hours at a time, and not on a frequent basis or anything; currently she enjoys going to a homeschooling girls' craft-group once a week for about two hours. She also enjoys her new Sunday School, though she wanted me with her for the first class, so I went; after that she was happy to go on her own. Recently she wanted to go to an overnight so we let her go, making sure both she and the hostess knew to call us if she got homesick; she had fun 'till bedtime, then hostess called and Daddy brought her home.

When my daughter was three, my husband or I accompanied her to childrens' church until she (and we) felt comfortable with the leaders; then we started going back to the sanctuary with the understanding that the leaders would let her come to us if she wanted us. This worked very well, and by about four she was consistently happy to go on her own, and generally stayed -- and sometimes even before four, just depending on her mood and who was in there. Of course, in any kind of new situation she still wants us with her 'till she feels comfortable, which seems odd to others but quite normal to my husband and me.

I feel for you and don't agree with the people who are pressuring you. We also got pressure from others to just leave our daughter in Sunday School, childrens' church, or play-group and let her cry and get used to it -- we were seen as rather strange for not being willing to do that. We got this pressure when our daughter was only three or four (some even thought we should be leaving her in the nursery as a toddler; there were a couple of times when she felt comfortable as a toddler and told my husband, "Daddy, you go down to church;" I think because Daddy tends to be less comforatble with her physical adventurousness and doesn't let her do as much -- but she never told ME to go when I was the one with her, which was usually the case).

How does your daughter feel? If she's happy with things as they are now, I wouldn't rush her; she's got plenty of time to branch out. If she
IS wanting to branch out, I'd start with maybe just one activity where you can be nearby and accessible if she wants to come to you. Just be prepared to weather the flack from others, and make it clear to the leader that she needs to allow your daughter to come to you if she asks.
post #14 of 97
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Joannarachel
I'll be honest. If you refuse to sign your daughter up for age-appropriate activities because you don't get to stay and be with your daughter every. single. minute, you are doing her a grave disservice. You are teaching her that A. She is incapable of functioning without you, and B. She is not 'worthy' of being allowed to do what other girls her age are doing.

I really think you need to rethink your position. If she were pre-school age, that would be appropriate. Not so much with six.
I appreciate your honest opinion. However, I do not feel that I am doing my daughter a disservice by her not being in dance class and being in a brownie troop. She is not cloistered away in some unsocializing prison cell of a family. She has she has more than a dozen friends she plays with in our neighborhood 3-5 days out of the week. They range from age two to age eight. SHe also chats up alot of our adult neighbors on a regular basis. I also Care for her cousins two days a week and they view it as a playdate. Her cousin is 7 and she is also her best friend : . Then there are also visits to family, parks, and the library. She is fine. She is socializing.

I do not feel that I am teaching her she is incapable of functioning without me, how is that exactly? Please explain. See it is always these vague comments of impending doom with no expalnation or reasoning given for the concern. That is why I started this thread. If there is a valid reason for your concern that I am teaching her she could not function without me, just by staying in her presence please explain. I truly don't see it.

Also I am teaching her she is not worthy of being allowed to do what other girls her age are doing? Please explain this as well. If these activities were something she actually expressed interest in and wanted to do and was asking for I would definitely make it happen for her. This is not the case. I was just poking around because I, not she, was wondering what things she could get into. It would be me saying hey dd wanna go do this? Sure mom. Okay. Take her and leave. Then what if she didn't want to stay? She would be in a room full of strangers in a place she's never been before and I wouldn't be there because I am not allowed to be there. She would be stuck there until the designated time when my presence would be allowed to come and get her. I am just not cool with that. I think I prefer to keep poking around until I come up something where my presence is an option, at least for the first few times, and as dd does want to go and stay, and understands that I will not be there to get her until x amount of time when I do leave and she actually is comfortable with that, understands, and agrees. I do not want to be coerced into leaving her the very first time she is attending a function with people she has never met at a place she has never been. How is that damaging?

Curious also, are you one of the people who feel that I should have been letting my kids go outside without me from the time they were two? My neighborhood is full of them. I rarely even see parents poking their heads out to check on kids. Do you really feel I am teaching them they are incapable of functioning without me just because I am in their presence when they are outside of our home?
post #15 of 97
I think it all depends on the child. Is your daughter interested in doing things without you? Does she want to go off and do things with other people, without you? If so, I'd say maybe it's time to let her. But if not, what's wrong with what you are doing?? I think there is no problem with being with your child constantly, as long as it works for both mom and child.

We got a lot of pressure to leave Owen and go on "dates", etc, when he was young. I really didnt want to - if we went on a date, Owen came along! My feeling was, he's a part of this family, so why not let him participate? And we didnt do any kind of babysitter or child care until he was 2.5 years old. Then we did start leaving him with a sitter - a close friend of mine - but only because HE was interested in doing stuff without us. He was ready, and wanted to. I followed his lead on this one.

Follow your DD's lead and your heart. Sounds like you are doing a great job of being a loving, available Mama.

Melanie
post #16 of 97
Thread Starter 
The dance class that I looked into because it is in our town, only a few minutes away, does not allow parents to stay at all. That is why I am no longer considering it. It seem silly to me to have a viewing area that is only open three designated times a year. While I appreciate that parnets may be a distraction if they are in the room and possibly even if they are veiwing from a different room from a window, I would think that they would be understanding that if it is the first time doing something like this the parent and child may want the parent to be present the first few times. They are not and they said no.
post #17 of 97
Hey there -

Just to clarify:
It sounds like your original question is less about your DD and you and more to do with other people's reactions - am i correct in saying the following:

Only you can know how your relationship is with your child - and it upsets you that other people feel they know what's "best"?

From your posts, your DD certainly sounds like she's doing fine in the social dept.

In my case, with my DS (who is only 4.5, so it's not a big issue - yet), the only time i personally would be concerned would be if my DS really wanted to do something benign like a class he enjoyed and that i'd heard from other people was kind and non-threatening and which i could observe when i wanted to, either from a distance or in the class, and I said "no" because i was afraid to leave him alone. Then i might need to rethink why i couldn't let him go do his thing when all signs pointed to it being a postive experience.

But otherwise - only you can know the true dynamics. I don't think you should "make" anyone socialize if they don't want to, just for the sake of the thing. Wait until your DC wants to move forward.
post #18 of 97
I took rather long on my first post; after I posted it I read the comments that had been made while I was writing. In your second post you made it clear your daughter IS happy with things as they are; I'd just keep following her lead as you have been doing so well all this time.
post #19 of 97
If that dance studio is that strict, I would definately find another one. At my dd's she has a girl in her class that has been doing ballet for 3 years and still cries for her mom every now and then and the teacher will come out and get the mother. It is great, b/c they recognize and honor the needs of the children. Especially during the beginning of the year when the kids are starting school and dance class and until they get used to the new schedule, it can be trying for everyone.

One of my pet peeves w/leaving children is at the dentist office though. I have it set up so that we have our appointments together and we are side-by-side.
post #20 of 97
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by uberwench
Just to clarify:
It sounds like your original question is less about your DD and you and more to do with other people's reactions - am i correct in saying the following:

Only you can know how your relationship is with your child - and it upsets you that other people feel they know what's "best"?
Yeah, something like that, . Honestly it really doesn't upset me, that would be a bit stronger of an emotion than it evokes. Sometimes I find it mildly annoying, depending on how the person is coming across. I really started this thread in hopes that I would find an inkling of understanding about where people are coming from when they do this, that's all. As I said I feel that they are probably meaning well, I just can not follow their train of thought on the matter, that's all.

I do know my dd best and if she was requesting to do things away from me I would definitely devote some time to find her a safe oppurtunity to do it in a way she would enjoy. As it is she is not, but I have started to look into things for her, so that she can, if she wants. I have only looked into two things so far, the brownie troop and the dance class. Neither one even had the option of me staying, I find that more than a bit coercive. This troop leader expressed concern that we would all be tripping over each other if parents chose to stay. Um, there are only 9 other girls in the troop, and I seriously doubt most of the parents would even request to stay. I will keep looking for something else. Possibly there is another brownie troop in our area that is more relaxed about parental participation. If not, maybe I will start one.
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