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pls tell me my kid will outgrow this clinginess

977 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Fianna
DS is 4.5 and is still unwilling to have me leave him even in situations that are pretty darn familiar. I don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't feel ready for, but the social pressure on me to let him "tough it out" is incredible. Somebody tell me he'll outgrow this at his own pace! Like, before he's college age! Argh!

Some background: He is basically at home with me full time, but we have done some experimentation in separation. First, he has a very familiar and beloved babysitter, and he's cool, usually, about me leaving the house when she's there with him. Second, we have tried leaving him at church school, but that was a horrible disaster (no surprise, since the adults there are virtual strangers), so we "caved" and I ended up being one of the teachers there so that church would not become a battleground in the separation issue.

And, finally, we have tried preschool. He started back in September, and I gave him the most gradual transition in the school's history, staying with him for a couple weeks, then being in the next room or hallway, etc., not actually leaving the building w/o telling him for a month -- thought that would give him enough time to bond with the teacher and feel comfortable. Ha! When it came time to "separate" it was a horrible screaming scene. We stuck with it for a month, but he never was okay with it. I look back on the experience, and it just makes me sick to my stomach -- I hated every minute of it, trying to look sympathetic but confident in him while peeling him off my body so I could leave and go home and cry. What a nightmare!

Today, I thought I'd get myself some peace and quiet so I could catch up on paperwork, so I arranged to have his beloved babysitter go with him to the local science museum, which he loves and knows well. When we got there, he freaked out and wouldn't let go of my leg. So we all drove home together, and he's now playing outside with the babysitter.

I know my neighbors, family, and several friends (and, depending on the day, my DH, too) think I'm insane and have created this situation by passing on my fears to him. But I swear I think he's just a super cautious kid and that at least 75% of this is him simply not being ready yet.

Anyone have similar experiences? Did your cautious child eventually outgrow this?
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He'll outgrow this.
Soon he'll be a teenager & won't want to hang out with you at all
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$%^&-----I wrote a "book" and then deleted it!!!!
.. so here goes again.
I really think i understand what you're going thru. My son, now 6, began kIndergarten at 4.5 (waldorf) and up till then was with me most of the time and very attatched. He is a smart and sensitive boy and his sensitivity is what always gets me. On the first day the hesitation from him began and there were even tears if i remember correctly. I am an obsessor and so, as each day came and his fears seemed to grow, so did mine, even tho I THOUGHT I was okay with him going. The teachers told me he was fine after he cried a bit and even had fun with the other children. Each day we drove a long drive to school and he complained and fussed and I tried my hardest to reassure him, to tell him this is what he needs to do, on and on, and he could FEEl/sense my insecurities ---- I know that now. When I gave him to the teacher (because he wouldnt walk in on his own feet, and would cry,) I was sssoooo conflicted. This seemed to go against aping. "how could I do this? not honoring his feelings this way???" on the day he wouldnt come out of the back of the van I took a break from it all and temporarily "threw in the towel". We met with the teachers. I came here (MDC) for answers. We decided that since he seemed fine once he was there and over his fears/tears we would continue but with a different approach. now, Dad would take him in, making the separation at home and not going thru the interplay of both our emotions for the long drive. This seemed to work, It took only a week and he was going out the door on his own feet, Dad would distract him better along the way and he didnt cling to dad like he did to me.
It took a little time but I honestly think that all the factors in our case were lined up to make an attatched, sensitive, hesitant child cling to what was comfortable instead of leaping into a new situation. so, mom (me) was the nest and the wind beneath this little birds wings was dad.
today was his last day of kindergarten (two years at waldorf) And I cant Believe it. There will be more flights for this little bird.
I hope something here helps. It's your decision. listen to your child and your heart AND your head. This is intuition.

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Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I'm glad things worked out for your son at the Waldorf. We tried having my DH take DS to his preschool, too -- worked somewhat better, although the worst tears just took place at home instead of at school (where he cried, too, when dad dropped him off). Things were going a little better when we took a month off, as a family, to travel to another city to adopt his baby sister, and then winter holidays kicked in. When we tried to have him go back to school in January, it was like starting from square one. And by then he had developed some kind of phobia about public "nudity" -- which meant he would not take his shoes off at school (that kept him from participating in certain activities) and he would not use the bathroom there, either. He wet his pants and teacher forced his wet things off -- totally, totally traumatic. It was all completely over the top for him, and though we tried to let him "get back on the horse" another day or two, we then called off the whole experiment. What a nightmare!

It's been so nice having my little (big) bean back at home with me. So nice, in fact, that I'm thinking about homeschooling him as of 2005, when he'd be old enough for Kindergarten. But we'll try a preschool co-op in September (a place that is okay with parents being around), and I've made my peace with totally going at his pace and dropping out again if he doesn't like it.

I like what you said about intuition being heart + head. My heart says let him go at his pace. My head says . . . I'm not sure what my head says. I think it says that homeschool could be a fabulous experience for our entire family as long as I find a way to get enough time for myself. But my intellect (and heart) aren't immune to the judgements of others, and it's hard listening to the neighbors, the folks at church school, etc. implying that I'm dysfunctional for not kicking DS out of the nest.
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T. Elena: It sounds like you are taking steps in the right direction, Which of course is foreward- doing Something, trying this or that and having faith it will work out--- because IT DOES

The thing that sticks us the hardest a lot is those "well-meaning" (ha
) folks who think they know whats best for you and your child. Everyone has an opinion and if they can get you to believe theirs is best it validates them and what they've done. The reason I think so much of this goes on is mostly because NONE of us REALLY KNOW! This is the biggest mystery and the Largest section in book stores these days---- Parenting, childhood, How- to- raise the smartest most together kid, Blah blah blah.
Oh i love books and love to figure it out too, but the truth is much of it is out of our control. We can only do our best. so, following your heart and head certainly is difficult when all these outside beliefs are seeming to question our parenting. Everyone wants to fix your problem and "help" you. Rarely, do they just listen.
I know it will all work out for you, and in the meantime give yourself credit for caring soooo much for your little/big guy!
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Laura, Thank you for your words of kindness -- you're a sweetie. I know what you mean about the well-meaning folk who want to "help" me fix my "problem" child (or my own "problem" behavior). Not too long ago I found myself talking to a very compassionate, well-meaning person, who works in the education field. We were hanging out in the infant room at my church, and I found her digging for "reasons" why my child isn't ready to let go yet. She had a number of theories that went along this sort of line: "Maybe you had an unusually hard time separating from him early on because of his severe food allergy. I've heard of that." And blah blah blah. I found myself going into that defensive mode, yet again, without even thinking. But of course I felt defensive! Everyone treats the situation as pathological when I seem to insist on seeing it as the natural path of my unique and sensitive (and attached) little boy, a path he needs to continue following until he's ready, in his own time, to let go.

Little sweetie. I love him so much it makes my heart want to burst.
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yes, The pervasive mold the child , cookie-cutter style concept. and here we are mothers just ready to eat up that guilt since so much of it is on us, right??? Darn it. This can really be a Pain!
This is the childs path and this is mine and somewhere they will cross and somewhere they will merge and this is the Dance. That sounds good, huh?
anyway, I feel for ya mama, you are doing just fine. you are a loving and caring and intuitive woman and you'r child is lucky to have you, im sure.
Oh, I am sending you such big hugs right now! My 5-yr-old was diagnosed with selective mutism at age 3. She is the most reserved child I've ever seen. When she was a baby, it was fantastic. She looked like the AP poster child because she would sit in the sling, calm and quiet, all day. Everywhere we went--LLL meetings, API meetings, out shopping--people commented on what a great baby she was and what a great mom I was. Fast forward to age two when I was hosting API meetings in my home twice a month. The other kids would be running around my house playing with all of her toys while she sat quietly next to me. She literally had to be touching me, and if it was three hours or more before the first person arrived and the last left, she literally was touching me the entire time. By age three, even though she had been talking to me and dh in full sentences before age two, she still hadn't spoke to many family members, those she saw several times a week. No one who saw her at API or LLL meetings had ever heard her speak either. So I asked her pediatrician, a very wonderful man, at her 3-yr-visit. He is the one who suggested the selective mutism diagnosis, which is an anxiety disorder. I read everything I could get my hands on about it. Even though I was literally sick to my stomach over there being something "wrong" with my baby girl, I was relieved to find support and to know that simply letting her take things at her own pace and accepting her for who she is was the best way to go. Literally a week after her 3rd birthday, after I had done hours of reading about SM, we decided to go to my sister's house to swim. I told Julia and she was thrilled. Then she got this little worried look on her face and said, "Mama, do I have to talk to Aunt Margaret?" I got down on her level and said, "No, sweetheart, you don't have to talk to anyone if you don't want to." She launched herself into my arms, let out this huge sigh, and said, "Oh thank you , Mama!" I nearly cried.

I related my long story only to make the point that some children are prone to anxiety, prone to separate issues that most children aren't. I truly believe that pushing them to "overcome" these issues before they can really do it simply pushes them backwards and increases their anxiety. Little steps forward are the key. Julia talked to my dad and my sister right after she turned four. One day she simply decided to do it. No fanfare, no threats, no bribes. She just did it. And she has taken steps forward, albeit slowly, ever since. She still is my very shy child. She still literally wants to touch me some days if we are out in public, and she is five years old. She is both terrified and excited about starting school this fall. And we certainly have had to deal with our share of unwanted advice and pressure to just leave her and let her "get over it". Trust that inner voice. I've never regretted it when I have listened to my own. It is SO hard. Believe me, I know. And it's probably even harder in your case because for some idiotic reason our culture expects boys to be tough and independent--makes me ill. Hang in there and know that by validating and accepting your son's feelings, you are giving him the love and space and time to deal with them himself. PLEASE feel free to PM me anytime if you need to talk.
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