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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
-- Also posted in ChildhoodYears... but might be more of Single-Parenting issue --

Single-Mom and 5yr old Son need to Separate a bit. Need some helpful wording
I'm a single-mom and my son is almost 6yrs old. We are such a loving house; we love to snuggle and kiss and wrestle. When I pick him up from his summer program.... he always says, Mom, I have to tell you... I LOVE YOU. And we just lunge in to a big hug together.
And it's awesome.
And that's just life for us. We are kinda glued together.

BUT, we need to separate a bit.
I could use some helpful wording on how to explain:

Kissing
That moms and kids have small, quick kisses.
And No kisses for kids at school, teachers, etc.
Big kisses are for adults, like moms and dads (which he doesn't have a dad in the picture or grandparents who kiss in front of him... so he doesn't know)
--- because he's tried to open-mouth kiss me recently.

Showering
It's just the time to separate. He's 80% awesome and not curious or poking, but there are times (like when he says in the Gym shower surrounded by other people.. "You're naked, hehe, I see your Gina".... so we nixed that this summer.
But he still asks if we can take a shower together like after we've been in the pool. And I hate to have an "opinion" about it... I just need to talk to him more, but having difficulty finding the right words.

Sleeping Together
I Love to sleep with my kiddo. He's not 6yrs old, we've co-slept for most of his life, even when XP was around for his first 2yrs old life. Co-sleeping is important to me, I think.
But Snuggling....
He just Can't Rub My Butt while we're in bed. It's too close. It's touching mommy's private parts.
And he knows Not to touch mommy's private parts, that those are mine and his are his. We have Definitely talked about it, over and over again... BUT it still happens.
And he doesn't sleep with me every night. We have a new house and he loves his new bed. But I still allow Friday nights for him to sleep with me. And still....

I've always thought that I wouldn't be weird about this kind of stuff. But my growing up in an immodest household (with 2 parents and 2 kids) is NOT the same with single-parent, only child. I need to set boundaries. And I'm working on it.

Any advice on wordings to help me through this?
TIA
 

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it sounds like you're on the right track, working the boundaries out for yourself and talking through them with him as it comes up. It sounds a lot like how it worked with us, though I have 2 so it wasn't quite the same. All kids need to learn boundaries and sometimes there's only one of us to teach them so it takes longer than having lots of modeling around.

You'll get there. Just keep setting the boundaries a bit farther out than needed so you can avoid getting triggered. And look for other things that serve the same purpose without whatever the inappropriate part is. I stopped lying with youngest at bedtime because he'd get too clingy, but he is always welcome to come snuggle in the morning - he gets the physical lovey time without making my skin crawl ;-)

I also stopped dressing around them for quite a while because it felt odd to me at some point. I've started doing it again, so either they're at better developmental point, or maybe I worked through some of my own inner stuff, who knows which
 

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One thing that has helped me with my son is to talk to him about what my role is with him. It's tricky to be responsible for showing him how to do everything. I have to show him how to take care of his body. I have to show him how to show love for other people. Also, I have to show him how to set boundaries with people about his body. The way to do that is for me to say what is not comfortable with my body.

I'm not only setting boundaries because I'm uncomfortable. I'm setting boundaries because respecting other people's boundaries is a skill he needs to learn. It's the same reason I made him learn to make polite requests and say thank you at home. Home is the laboratory for learning reciprocal politeness and respect, as well as playful, unconditional affection.

It's super hard because it's not an even deal? You are responsible for his body and so he takes for granted that he doesn't have privacy from you. But, he can have some, right? So maybe some of the framing of your stating your boundaries is an invitation for him to state his a little bit at a time, as he feels the need for more privacy.

(My kid at that age had a sort of a vision of a graph of how much more independent he was gradually becoming over time. Man I really miss him at 5. I wish I could have twelve kids, all him at different ages.)

I waited a really long time to transition my son out of my bed. He was so good at respecting my boundaries that it didn't bug me to have him there. At some absurdly late point, I talked him into taking on sleeping alone because that was going to be better for him. I think it's OK to do that a lot younger than I did it with my kid. It was harder for us because his dad left right around the time I wanted to start that process! He was sleeping in either my bed or his dad's bed for nearly three years of separation before he decided to transition to his own bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well you can tell I'm struggling with words... "boundaries" is exactly what I was missing. Not "separation", not like we're not living together, just setting boundaries. Now I can Google on that topic since clearly "separation" was giving me weird responses! Whew! That helped a lot right there!

I love the idea of setting boundaries not necessarily because of me (or not Only for me) but for the world; because it is respect. And probably our physical closeness at home has set the stage for some of his actions at school -- Crazy, loving wonderful to other kiddos, which often scares them because they don't want to be touched, especially by a stranger. And that, at least, I've been able to curb a bit.

He is learning about "privacy" in the potty at school and has been asking for it at home (rarely, but it comes up) and that seems like a great jumping off point... privacy for changing clothes, if I feel I need it or asking him if he wants it; privacy showering, etc.

All good stuff. Thank you!!
 

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If he's good at pottying on his own, you should try to encourage privacy at home. It doesn't necessarily have to be harsh, just don't be in there when he's going. Don't talk about why or anything. If he asks you to- just gently remind him that he's a big boy who can potty on his on and pottying is done privately. It may be better not to ask if he wants privacy or not- just expect him to have it and teach him that he should expect to have it.
 
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Good luck is all I can say! I am working on all this with my 6 year old. He is currently having an intense connection-separation phase (literally clinging to me one minute & then screaming he wants to be by himself the next). We have never had any real privacy in our household & that's ok with me. I just constantly have to remind him about the boundaries we do have (no licking, open mouth kisses, touching private areas, etc.). Sometimes I've found it helpful to explain why--that he needs to respect my wishes for my body. Sometimes he gets it, but he still has limited impulse control. I feel like a broken record but I keep on it. I hope he's learning both body integrity & what it means to be comfortable with one's own body, but I'm sure I'm doing it all wrong & will give him a complex! I think if you can focus on the things that genuinely make you uncomfortable, it will not feel like you're creating sudden & arbitrary boundaries. If co-sleeping still works, continue that & limit other bodily access. A couple previous posters hit the nail on the head--it's a confusing transition because you still must care for their growing bodies & privacy is somewhat a false construct as a result. But there many good reasons to set some boundaries. I find I can engage more authentically with my son when I ask him to respect my body in ways that really matter to me.
 
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