My very attached 5 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 5 year old daughter has perpetual separation anxiety. In the house, she must be either with me or my Dh all the time. If I walk into a different room, she flips. She needs me or my Dh to get to sleep. She wants us to dress her. She wants us to be with her in the bathroom and wants to be with us when we're there. This isn't a stage. It has always been like this. Much of the time I tell myself that I'll miss this someday, but it does become frustrating at times when she wants to be in one room and I need to be in another.

Anyone else experience this for more than just a few months?
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#2 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 08:23 PM
 
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Have you read much about anxiety?

You are right that this persisting for more than a few weeks is a sign of concern. What you are describing are clear signs of anxiety problems.

A book you may find helpful is Freeing Your Child from Anxiety http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076...lance&n=283155
You want to be sure that you aren't unintentionally reinforcing her anxiety and this book will give you some tips about that.
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#3 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 08:32 PM
 
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my daugter to a tee about age 3.She is much better now.When my second was born she was 3 1/2 and things had to change.It took alot of mama nudging her forward.I would say things like you CAN do it.You will be fine...mommy is right in the next room.You are always safe in our house and mom or dad are always here!

She started preschool at 4 and I was very worried but she did great! Luckily we had a really nice female teacher she attached to.I stayed with her the first day and half of the second and the third day she mommy I don't need you

Linda
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#4 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 08:37 PM
 
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my 5 year old dd definitely has some seperation anxiety, and other anxieties...but not to that extreme.

She sometimes has a hard time going into preschool in the mornings...especially after a long break or if there is a substitute teacher. She is still fearful of strangers, although she is more okay with females than males. If she is approached by or even simply in the immediate presence of a man that she is not very familiar with (like dh, grandpa, dh's friends etc) she for will hide and sometimes totally flip out.

a quick example:
Last week she was in ballet class. The teacher let one of the girls grandfathers come in the room to video tape. About 5 seconds later the teacher brought Emily out to me...she was crying really hard and in total panic mode. Once the guy came out she went back in and was fine for the rest of the class. We have no idea where her fear of men came from since she has always been with me, my dh, my mom or MIL. We are going to see how she does in Kindergarten this fall...and if it is interfering with her daily life we are going to seek out some help.

I hope you can find some answers soon!

hugs to you and your little girl!
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#5 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the issue is that she never wants to be alone. She is fine at school. She is fine when we're out and about at the grocery, the library, at a grandparent's house. She just never wants to be alone.
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#6 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 09:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubyWild
I think the issue is that she never wants to be alone. She is fine at school. She is fine when we're out and about at the grocery, the library, at a grandparent's house. She just never wants to be alone.
But really at age five that is a problem. She should be able to dress herself, go to the bathroom by herself and you should be able to walk from room to room without her getting upset.
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#7 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 09:47 PM
 
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My ds is the same way, but he is willing to be alone for short periods if the TV is on (which he wouldn't do a year ago). Part of it is a sound sensitivity. He wants there to be noise (the tv) so he isn't surprised by a sudden noise (even just me saying something in a normal tone if it had been silent). And part of it is that he wants to be interacting with someone almost constantly. He will go from one part of the house to another by himself if someone is at the other location and I sing as he goes there.

My ds has always been like this, too, but he isn't very anxious. He is a lot better then he used to be as well. Like you said about your dd, he just doesn't want to be alone.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#8 of 15 Old 06-05-2006, 10:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom
My ds is the same way, but he is willing to be alone for short periods if the TV is on (which he wouldn't do a year ago). Part of it is a sound sensitivity. He wants there to be noise (the tv) so he isn't surprised by a sudden noise (even just me saying something in a normal tone if it had been silent). ...

My ds has always been like this, too, but he isn't very anxious. .
Can I ask how you know he isn't anxious? It is pretty atypical behavior for a child to feel uncomfortable being alone for a few minutes in their own home. Many times anxiety looks like something else and it can be tricky for parents to pick up.
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#9 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
Can I ask how you know he isn't anxious? It is pretty atypical behavior for a child to feel uncomfortable being alone for a few minutes in their own home. Many times anxiety looks like something else and it can be tricky for parents to pick up.
In my case, anxiety doesn't seem like the right description for what she is feeling, either. I mean, I know I called it separation anxiety, because that is the label used. I can't be certain that it isn't anxiety, but it feels more like a need to interact. On top of that, though, there are certain tasks that she can do but does not want to do. I am willing to look into the possibility of anxiety and deal with it from that way, but I'm not really sure that it's that.
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#10 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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can you describe what happens if you do leave her alone or if she is in a room on her own ?
this might give a better idea of what is actually going on for her and whether or not it is anxiety/separation anxiety issues ??
have you ever left her with someone else ? if so, what happened ?
are her speech and hearing all OK ??
can you give us some more information about what you think might be going on ........
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#11 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 03:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
Can I ask how you know he isn't anxious? It is pretty atypical behavior for a child to feel uncomfortable being alone for a few minutes in their own home. Many times anxiety looks like something else and it can be tricky for parents to pick up.
We don't live in a small cozy house. We live in one of those huge, drafty, houses that make strange noises. I feel it falls in the catagory of perfectly normal for an almost 5 yo to want to have me close at hand rather than wandering around a dark house trying to figure out which corner I am in.

He did go through a period of anxiety last fall, because of something specific, in which he had trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, cried a lot, wouldn't stay at home with dh while I went out, had a need to talk frequently about the traumatic event, etc. It took him about 3 months to return to normal. How he is now is how he has always been, but better due to being more mature. He is definitely sensitive but, again, I wouldn't call him anxious.

I really think it is all about a need to interact. I even see it with how he plays with things. He prefers the computer to tv, for instance. He prefers people to toys as well. Tv and toys are just something to look at when bored.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#12 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 04:33 PM
 
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[QUOTE=4evermom]

He did go through a period of anxiety last fall, because of something specific, in which he had trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, cried a lot, wouldn't stay at home with dh while I went out, had a need to talk frequently about the traumatic event, etc. It took him about 3 months to return to normal. How he is now is how he has always been, but better due to being more mature. He is definitely sensitive but, again, I wouldn't call him anxious.

/QUOTE]

The one thing this does indicate is a inborn tendency toward anxiety - as kids can experience the same events and one ends up with symptoms of anxiety and another one won't. If you haven't already done so it may be worth reading a bit about anxiety so you know how to interpret signs if they look different next time. Anxiety can be tricky in kids - sometimes it can look like hyperactivity or loneliness for example.
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#13 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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my son is almost 5 and won't go upstairs by himself and he won't go to the bathroom in the hall by himself. We live in row housing and have neighbors on 3 sides and he interprets all the bumps and noises as monsters (or pirates or dinosaurs or knights or dragons...). The building is old and it does have some pretty creepy sounds.

At bedtime we gave him a cd player and a bunch of cds. Now he listens to music or stories and now he doesn't hear people climbing stairs or whatever.
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#14 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 05:14 PM
 
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I really think this is very normal behaviour for five-year-olds. My ds (five in a couple of weeks) cannot be alone in a room either, and is very mama-oriented and almost clingy sometimes. He also runs over to his friend's house across the street and stays happily for hours and goes on playdates by himself happily and takes classes without me. I was talking to some friends with same-aged kids about it and they all said that their 5yos were doing the same thing to one degree or another.

It makes sense too, they are just beginning to really grasp the big life issues, (death, the idea of god or the infinite) and they seem so capable and grown-up when really they are still so young and should be able to depend on us when they need us.

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#15 of 15 Old 06-06-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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My dd is 4 1/2, and she's the same way. She's a very outgoing, confident person, but she hates being alone. The bathroom down the hall is too far away, and she wants me there. She will not go to sleep alone at night. I actually think the problem is her sociable nature- she can't stand the thought that dh and I are up without her.
It is tiring- I wish she'd pee alone, for crying out loud. I am confident that this will pass as she matures a little.
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