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How to survive clinginess?

486 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Laurel
My 22-month-old is going through a phase of needing seemingly CONSTANT attention. He's always needed a great deal of attention, but this is even above and beyond what's "normal" for him. When I say clingy, I don't mean shy-clingy where he's afraid to leave my immediate presence. It's not about being afraid to leave mama, it's more about just wanting an audience or partner in everything he does.

It doesn't seem to matter how enjoyable, novel, or exciting the activity is that he's engaged in--if I leave, even just to go across the room and do something else, he's right there with me. I go out of my way trying to come up with new and fun things for him to do just to get a few minutes' peace, and he'll be really into whatever it is as long as I"m right there next to him, but as soon as I get up he's gone too, even if what I'm doing is definitely far less "fun" than what he was doing. He wants to be held and carried all the time. The latest (and the thing that's about to put me over the edge) is that he wants to sit on our laps for every meal! I have been able to get him to compromise by pulling his chair right next to mine so he can sit close but at this point I think if I have to eat every meal with a child on my lap I will go insane!

When I bathe or shower, he's not only right there in the bathroom with me (which is fine) but he's got to be hanging out next to the tub talking to me, playing with toys in the tub (even though I set up lots of fun toys just a few feet away).

He is saying lots of new words, and the new thing with that is that now he actually has the language to communicate that he wants me near. His favorites are: ca'y (carry me), pay (play with me), and sit (sit by me). If I am next to him but focusing on anything but him, I will hear "mama mama mama mama" until I pay attention to him. Or, he will be climbing on me, jumping on me, and if he's really frustrated, hitting or biting me.

This is a child who already gets a great deal of attention. He's my only child and we do everything together. He "helps" me with all my chores (whether I want him to or not!
) I"m not asking for extended time by myself (I try to get that during nap time), but just to be able to do something for 5 minutes without a monkey crawling up my back.

Anybody been there? How normal is this? I feel like it's probably normal, but I worry. My dh keeps telling me, "Well, he's attached...that's what you wanted." But I worry that maybe he acts this way because he insecure about his attachment to me. I don't really think it's about me though. If there are other children around or we are at someone else's house where there are really fun, new things to do, he will go and play just fine. It's just at home that he is like this. I think he is just an extrovert who needs *someone* with him at all times. But it sure ishard on mom!
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my dd is younger but i totally understand except shes not verbal
no advice sorry just understanding
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Both of my boys did this and then it was over. Almost like they're on the verge of some big development and they have to cling until they're over 'the hump.'

But, it did drive me insane. I just put them in the backpack and went about my life. I mean, it was 24/7 for a while there. But, I didn't interact that much, just carried.
The sitting on my lap drove me nuts, too. After a few days, I couldn't deal so I decided he could sit on my lap but NOT eat. So, I'd put his plate at his spot. He'd climb over to me and try to drag his food over and I'd very simply say no, he could sit on me but had to eat in his spot. Worked pretty quickly. I htink your son is old enough to understand--this was around 18 mos for us.

I'd suggest keeping up the playgroups even if he won't actively play w/the other kids. I have playgroup w/a bunch of friends and it's as much for my benefit as the kids. And, I'd suggest letting dh take him for an hour or so everynight. Maybe he could backpack or stroller him to the playground where he won't notice your absence.

PS: FOr the meal issue, I fed them total junky favorites for those meals when I wanted him to sit on his own. SO, he'd look at me and then he'd look at his tater tots....
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My DS, 20 months, is a lot like this too. After we spent a week with my mother, she told me she doesn't know how I do it, heh. It IS exhausting. The bath thing made me laugh cos it sounds so familiar.

I think a lot of it is about individual personality, YK? But most kids have phases when they're more clingy than normal. Maybe he's having a developmental spurt -- you mentioned he is getting lots of new words. Sometimes they need extra attention during things like that.
Joey did this too! I interpreted it as boredom, and the only cure was a messy artproject (UG) or playing outside. then he would leave me be!
hang in there, cause you know that HE will!
Hey Katiemare, I noticed your sig--my little boy was adopted!

Art projects are what I've been trying to use to distract him. We've been doing lots of fingerpainting and he loves it. But he'll only do it if I"m right there watching. The minute I try to leave, he's gone too. I don't get it. Thanks everyone for helping me feel like "this too shall pass"!
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