Need some motherly advice on this issue

Jennifer - posted on 05/24/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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this might be sort of a vent, but I hope there are others like me out there..



my 20m old is getting worse by the day with wanting to be tied to me night and day. she can't be away from me without screaming for me, even when i leave her with my hubby. About a month ago she started realizing when we go to grandmas that she will be left alone in her care and she clings to me like glue and when i can slip out,my mom tells me she cried for an hour. I love all the love and attention, but some days it is just too much for me to handle and i have a lot of patience but that is dwindling down.



Now she won't sit her her chair to eat, she had to sit in my lap. she has to sleep with me or she wakes every 2 hours howling for me. Is this terrible 2s or something else? I don't have the heart to let her cry it out for bed time, the last time I tried this, she climbed out of her crib at almost 14 months, so she is very determined to find a way to me. i have sat in the rocking chair in her room and she wants to lay in my lap. I love love love the snuggles, but I am afraid that she will never be functional without me. I am a SAHM BTW..



I feel trapped most of the time and feel bad for those that take care of her. I do disciple her if things get out of control, by putting her in the naughty corner or do a time out in public places. But I feel that she doesn't get it all the time, that mommy is mad at her bad behavior. I know that she is testing and acting out, but I don't want to give her negative attention all the time so I ignore her a lot of the time and I think that is why it might be getting worse. HELP PLEASE! any helpful advice is welcome.

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Carolyn - posted on 05/26/2010

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Sometimes, it is harder as a mom to let go, than it is for the child. Sounds like she's going through a phase, but you need to get boundaries reset. My son went through something similar when I switched him to a toddler bed. He had to fall asleep in my lap or he would scream. After about a week I'd had enough. I started putting him in bed, leaving the room, and closing his door. I let him scream for about 10 minutes, then I would go in and comfort him until he stopped crying, then leave again. I did this over and over until he fell asleep. It took a while, but he eventually stopped throwing fits. You might start with meal time. Set your boundaries and be consistent.

Annie - posted on 06/03/2010

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I think sometimes kids get that way because they sense your fear. Maybe you have created a little monster by having anxiety about leaving her with people yourself. If you have fears about leaving her, this will be reflected back to you 10 fold via your toddler. The hard part is undoing it. The rule of thumb is, her reaction will get worse before it gets better, and your job will be to show no signs of anxiety at all. She will see that you have nothing to fear and neither should she. Smile, say "love you! Have fun!" and head out the door. The end. Don't turn around to make sure she's going to be okay. Don't try to calm her and coddle her. This assures her that her fears are valid and they're not. If you're leaving her with someone you trust, there should be no reason for you or your daughter to freak out. Model a no big deal attitude about it a couple of times and she will think "hmmm, my mom isn't freaking out, maybe I really will survive." Just stay upbeat even if your kid is freaking out and get the heck out of there. Even if she cries the first couple of times for an hour. She'll live. You have to teach her that other adults besides you are trustworthy and the only way to do that is for her to experience discomfort a couple of times. Go get your hair done and leave her with your husband! You deserve it. Good luck.

Kate - posted on 06/01/2010

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I have a DS who is the same! However I do get some time to myself because he happily will go to daycare. We started this routine when he was about 12 months and he feels safe, secure and understood. Daycare is also more exciting than being with me. He now waves goodbye and goes and plays. This didn't happen overnight - it took a while. He also has his friends there which makes a huge difference to his happiness. When he is at home with me, he is within touching distance. If I try and make him play alone he just gets really upset so we do things together (bake cupcakes, clean the house, read stories). Helping your daughter build connections with other people (maybe there is something scary at Grandmas? try the library or playgroups?) will help you both. Definitely don't ignore her - she understands more than she can talk. You are doing a great job - she obviously thinks so!!! Keep up the good work responding to her the way you have been but be nice to yourself too and negotiate some time on your own. You will feel more relaxed after some 'self time' and better able to cope with the intensity.

Katrin - posted on 06/01/2010

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I am in a very similar situation, I am a SAHM and DD is going through a similar phase, except I'm also 8 months pregnant, and I really can't hold her all the time anymore! I've been trying to distract her when she wants up all the time (e.g., how about we hold hands and run over to your puzzles). Her crib is still next to our bed, but she is always waking and saying "up" and sometimes starts screaming/trying to climb out if I don't take her into our bed. Currently I ask her to give me a hug and a kiss, and then I tell her it is time for night-night and if she lays down she can have mommy's hand, then I hold her hand through the crib for a few minutes and usually she will let go on her own as she gets ready to fall asleep. Sometimes she doesn't go for this and will still stand in her crib and cry. I feel a bit bad, because then I threaten her with the one thing she doesn't want ("Do you want mommy to go bye bye so you can go to sleep?") But since she REALLY doesn't want me to leave she will then lie down and stop crying and let me hold her hand. The other thing I do is try to give her lots of warning when I am going away so she has time for the transition, and I will leave her for very short trips (e.g., 30 seconds, "mommy is going upstairs to get a diaper and I'll be right back"), so she understands when I say I am coming back that I actually am. Good luck!

Julie - posted on 05/29/2010

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My son has just started to get clingy with me. He hangs off my legs when i'm walking round the house. If he is really clingy i'll just spend 10 minutes playing with him and he normally relaxes and will just play on his own. We also let him shut the door on me when he is at nannys house and its become a bit of a game as he now tells me to leave. Its hard but you need to stay as calm as you can otherwise they just get more anxious. Ive been told its only a phase so hopefully things will settle for you soon. Good luck

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Christina - posted on 06/07/2010

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my son is pretty attached to me too... he has to cuddle with me for about 20 minutes when we get home after I pick him up from daycare or he is just not happy. I almost always have to be the one to put him to sleep too. He movd back into our bed after he was sick, and I hadn't gotten him back into his before he started getting attached. Now I'm afraid it will be practically impossible to get him back into mine because he has to "feel" me next to him.

I understand your frustrations, but I'm not sure what to suggest as I haven't been able to figure this one out either. I'm sure it's just a phase, and I'm trying to be patient until it passes. Sometimes I really need that "me" time, and that's when Daddy steps in so I can get away for awhile, even if it's just a trip to the store or something. My son might get a little upset, but once his Daddy takes him outside and goes for a walk with him around the block he forgets about Mommy, at least temporarily. :)

Amanda - posted on 06/07/2010

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One of the things that you might want to try is setting up a play corner with toys at home so that way you can spend time with her there until she gets used to it. Then you may be able to set up time for you to do things while she plays there. One of the things that has worked for me is setting up time to play with my son and then setting up time for him to play or watch his shows while I clean or do homework. I am currently in college and almost done. It has been a challenge for me but I have managed. Good Luck!

Sarah - posted on 06/06/2010

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Have you tried wearing her? My 21 month old (and 30lb) son does that from time to time, but (luckily) not that often. I'm also a SAHM so when he's having a clingy day I put him in his mei tai carrier. It leaves me with both hands free so I can still get things done and eventually he just chills out and is ready to play again...or he falls asleep. :)
good luck!

Chalary - posted on 06/06/2010

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My 20 month old daughter is going thru that but not with me. Her dad. He's the only one allowed to put her to bed, brush her teeth, comfort her when she falls or gets hurt...sometimes he gets frustrated with it as well and what I do to help him is, I go to her and do something that she loves with her. Book read, dancing...that seems to help dad out a bit. So, maybe your other can do the same for you to give you a break.

Vickci - posted on 06/06/2010

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Sounds seriously like your daughter is having some serious separation anxiety. My advise, talk to your pediatrician and see if they can recommend you to a child psychologist to give you infrormation on how to handle this kind of thing. I will tell you now though, it will get worse before it gets better.

Stephanie - posted on 06/06/2010

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Hi, my daughter is 21 months old and her grandmother (my mother) watches her when I go to work and she would cry and get upset because she was not coming with me. Now part of the goodbye routine is she walks me to the door with her grandmother. Then she watches me leave in the car and we blow each other kisses. For some reason it helps her to see that I'm leaving in the car. Some days she doesn't cry or if she does it's not for very long then she becomes preoccupied with something else. Above is alot of awesome advise. Just thought add a little extra. My issue is transitioning her to sleep on her own in her own bed. I may just wait till she turns two, which is by the end of summer. Good luck!

Adrian - posted on 06/05/2010

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I'm a SAHM as well, and my son just turned 21months. He started this separation anxiety thing as well, but not to that extent. I read an article in a parenting magazine when he was about 17months about getting them to sleep in their own room/bed and it said that from 17-24 months they go through a clingy phase. That they are becoming sooo independent that they are actually afraid of that independence and get clingy.

We let my son go to grandma's every saturday to spend the nite to give me a break and give her time with him. There are times when he screams when they leave, but I just tell him I love him and will see him soon, give or blow him kisses and let them go. When I first see him again I give him extra love and attention and tell him "see, Mommy's here" or "I told you Mommy would come back" in a soothing voice to reassure him that I will always come back.

Also, when he's playing and I leave the room to do something & he notices and gets upset I don't run to him. I call to him that Mommy will be right there, so he knows I didn't leave but that he doesn't get his way!

We will be putting him in his own bed this summer for a few reasons, 1) the phase is supposedly over by 2yrs which is Sept. for us, 2) my older 3 boys will be out of school, so if he cries at nite it won't affect their school, they can sleep in if we have a rough nite, & 3) my husband is military and leaves for school for 7 weeks, so it won't interrupt his sleep and cause him to be tired for work.

Not everyone has these options, so I wish you luck and hope it all works out for you. Definitely set boundaries with meals and go from there, start slowly, so you don't overwhelm her or yourself (cause she will feel and react to your tension). One step and one day at a time and constant reassurance throughout that Mommy is still here, but needs to eat or whatever also.

Delilah - posted on 06/04/2010

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My son also wants to be right under me when we are at home, I was hospitalize for a few days and he couldnt come see me, I was missing him and he was missing me. For about two weeks I couldnt drive, so he stayed home with me, and it was like he wouldnt let me go. He wanted to be right under me. Luckly my sister stays down the street from me and she would take him to her house for a little bit, I also took him swimming and let him "float" on his own. It was like the more I kept him busy the less he wanted to be right under me, he still wanted to have me in his sight, but I was able to move around with out having him attached to me. About the sleeping thing, it was very hard for me to just lay there and hear him cry at night, but my husband made me stay in the bed, after awhile she will get use to it, at first I would lay by him on the floor and wait for him to go to sleep, then other times I would leave the tv and lights on and just wait til he falls a sleep. Trust me once it happens you will LOVE IT, its just hard to do it over and over until she does...

Amanda - posted on 06/04/2010

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20 mo babies dont have the words to put to whats frustrating them, so being there for them for them and helping them figure out what it is that is bothering them...works wonders. Ignoring her is not the ideal. It just makes it worse. Because maybe she really wants or needs something and your not meeting her needs the way that she needs you to. As far as sleeping....lay down in your bed with her and turn off all lights and TV's and she should go to sleep fairly quickly. She will eventually move out of your bed...but forcing a child to move into another room when they are not ready...is hard on the whole family.
Good luck...
mama to 4

Kate - posted on 06/03/2010

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have you tried putting her in one room and leaving for a very short amount of time -like 30 secs then keep coming back and going for a little longer the next time and so on? so then she realises that when you leave its not for ever and you will come back. We did this with our daughter at bed times as she was used to being allowed to fall asleep on my lap and it worked really well! it can be hard to make yourself stay away for the allotted time but you have to put yourself through it as the situations only going to get worse the longer its left. good luck!

Brittany - posted on 06/01/2010

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Try being honest and quick with your good byes. "I love you and I'll see you soon". Then a kiss and out the door. Also, try physically putting her in your mother's arms when you leave as opposed to putting her down to play right away. This seems to help my daughter adjust easier. It seems like she feels the comfort of being held. It's hard, but stick with it. Find a "bye bye" routine and do it every time. It will get better. And it is just a normal phase.

Tammy - posted on 06/01/2010

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My 20mo old went through a period of separation anxiety a couple of months ago and after a bit of research, I learned that it's a normal phase of development around this age. Stick with your regular routine, offer some extra reassurance when you think it's needed, and remember that you aren't the only one going through this with your little ones. My little guy passed through this stage in a few weeks. Good luck : )

Gennifer - posted on 06/01/2010

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My son acts this way too!! I thought I was the only one with my baby joined at the hip! He throws things when he doesn't get his way or he'll even hit himself in the head and I don't know what to do about that! I'm a first time mom and when he does things like that I find myself caving in and just giving him what he wants and I really shouldn't do that because it only gets worse the next time! He's even getting to the point to where he'll hit me! I need some advice as well!

Cynthia - posted on 06/01/2010

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Im goin through kind of the same problem! My son goes everywhere i go! He always wants to be with me! I can't go to the bathroom because he tries breaking down the door & screaming! When its time to go to sleep he has to feel me touching him or he has to see me laing in my bed going to sleep too. Idk how he can hear me when i move from my bed because after he falls asleep i get up to go watch tv or use the bathroom & somehow he hears me & wakes up crying! He's getting used to staying with my granma now (his babysitter) but before he would scream his lungs out. I try the same thing the person above me does ^ I tell my son i'm going to be right back & he says ok & calms down.

Donna - posted on 05/30/2010

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my son is 20months and if i been out all day in work he gets crazy when he sees me, u got to be stong try and not give her attention for screaming for ur attiontion , i play ith my 20moth for a little while that seems to calm him down this is my 3rd child, i have let him cry in his cot for 5minits alough it was horrible i find he is getting better, u have 2 put your self first and try leaving her for half hour a daywithn yor mam or partner then go from there hope this is helpful

Danielle - posted on 05/29/2010

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I find that when my son gets clingy I am very encouraging to him to be excited (and hopefully distracted) I try to be very positive and we blow kisses back and forth until he is happy then I go. Hope this helps and things get easier for you soon :)

Elena - posted on 05/29/2010

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I'm totally feeling your pain. My husband stays at home with our daughter, and I feel like I'm always leaving her. I think we just have to let her cry sometimes.

[deleted account]

My son does a similar thing but I'm not a SAHM so I know it must be much harder for you! I love him so much but Carolyn is right, boundaries are the most helpful thing so far. It helped when I stopped letting him bring me things when dad was here. If he wants a book read to him dad has to do that I get a chance to say no and I shouldn't feel bad because it's so very important that he knows his dad is there for him too. I don't know that anything will make it easy but if you don't take some time for you it will get harder so be sure to keep yourself healthy and sane cause that will make you the best mom! I wish you much luck (and patience).

Laura - posted on 05/27/2010

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My 20 month old son has started clinging to me too whenever I am home. He must be sitting on my lap or be carried at all times! At least touching. I work full time and my husband is the SAHD. My son wants to nurse every hour or more when I'm there and wakes up 2-3 times a night to nurse (he sleeps right next to me, so I don't exactly have to get up for it). I think they just go through these stages, my daughter was clingy for awhile too. I think it must be even more pronounced for SAHM, because the child has even more opportunity to cling to mom. Maybe it happens with dads too? Neither of mine clung to dad, even though he was always the one caring for them.

Tassia - posted on 05/26/2010

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My daughter had really bad seperation anxiety when I started working when she was 9/10 months. It has gotten better, (one year later) she would cry only three or four times a week instead of 5 days. however i would drop her off at day care and when it's time to leave say a quick good bye with kisses and hugs. In February I had a second child and stayed home for three months. Now they have a nanny and it's easier for her being at home in her own house she does not cry as much when I leave. I never leave them unless I am going to work I go no where else without them. If we are in the house and I leave the room even if her dad is there she would cry if she can't go into the next room with me. Thankfully she has great eating and sleeping schedules, that is not a prolem because that has always been consistant, she eats only in the high chair now the booster seat and she sleeps only in her bed. I don't mind her always wanting to be with me because I always want to be with her. Now that she has a little sister it is easier for her dad to get her to take a walk with him only or sometimes give her a bath. Because she knows I need to pay allot of attention to the baby she don't have me all to herself so she will allow someone else to pay her some attention now.

Luna - posted on 05/26/2010

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I wish it was like that for me, unfortunately we have a simillar problem with my son and my mother, he loves Grandma so much that when she's around no-one else exists which is very hurtful at times, especially when he falls over or hurts himself and goes running straight to Grandma for cuddles, pushing me out of the way in sheer determination to get to her. She doesn't understand and encourages it too which just makes me feel worse :-/ I'm hoping its just a phase and he'll grow out of it... I wish I had advice for you! Sorry!

Jael - posted on 05/25/2010

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It sounds like she is just having separation anxiety for some reason and I know this can be very hard even though my daughter never want through it too bad when she did it was hard on me. I can only say you should find a way to help her understand that you'll always come back for her no matter where you are, if it's in the other room or at grandmas or otherwise you will always come back for her and she doesn't have to worry. She is scared for some reason and that must be terrible for her. If only it were easier to communicate with kids at this age you could simply ask her why she got so scared when you were away from her. I am sorry you are going through this and wish you the best!

Kelli - posted on 05/25/2010

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IMO, you need to find a way to destress yourself, even if it's just for a few minutes. She is just at that age where she wants to connect to the things she loves most, and be thankful that it's you! This is just a phase that she is going through, and it will pass with time. Discipline is probably not the best answer to this one. Cuddle her and comfort her and slowly over time, she will realize that she can become a little more independent. Good luck! :)

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