Sweet, super affectionate & no boundaries boy

Sandy - posted on 05/31/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )




My son is the MOST affectionate and sweetest boy I've seen so it's hard to complain about this but he is 5.5 and has no understanding of boundaries. He wants to go to the bathroom with me (either for him or me), take showers with me, sleep with me, play with me. He's an only child and wants a sibling to play with which is not in the cards. He didnt sleep through the night until 22 months and I had no help so I had pretty bad post partum depression. That's gone but I feel like one night of him keeping me awake all night and I am losing it the next day. He'll wake me up for water, bathroom, nightmare or just because he's awake and wants to snuggle. I'm not allowed to sleep when he's awake. He will poke my body, put things on my face and keep talking until I respond. He won't do this to anyone else.

I'm starting a tough grad school in a couple weeks and seriously thinking of putting locks on our doors until he stops. I won't make it if this keeps up.

Please try to keep the comments helpful and supportive. I'm exhausted.


Ledia - posted on 06/01/2015




He sounds like a typical 5 year old, but you do have to start teaching him boundaries. Putting locks on your doors will do nothing but make him feel abandoned and lead to long nights of tears instead of snuggles. It won't teach him WHY you need personal time and space.

Get a wall clock with hands (not a digital display) for his room. Get the cheapest one you can find so that you can pop the front cover off. Then take a marker and color the hours between bedtime and wake time with a yellow marker/highlighter. When the short hand is in the yellow space, that is time to sleep. If he needs to get up for water or potty, that is okay, but he must take care of it himself because you will be sleeping. Leave a glass of water on his bedside table for him so that he doesn't have to wake you to help him. He's 5, so the potty shouldn't be an issue. The first month or so, expect him to try different ways to keep you awake with him at night, but if you are consistent he will eventually stop. Each time he tries to wake you up, gently tell him "It is sleep time right now, we will play together tomorrow."

Another reason that kids are clingy is that they just want some undivided attention. I know that as a single mom that is hard to do, you have a lot of stuff to do, and very little time to do it, especially with him grasping at your attention all the time. This leads to you feeling like you are always dealing with him, and him feeling like you are always dealing with other tasks and not him. Take 20 minutes every day (try to do it about the same time each day) to focus on nothing but him. No phone, no tv, no computer, just you and him. Let him pick what he wants to do with you, and just play with him. Once you do this for a while, he will learn that even though you are busy, you will make time for him every day, so he will be more willing to leave you alone while you tend to other tasks because he knows that he will get his time. During the first few weeks, he won't be confident that you will have time, so he'll still be clingy. When he wants to play with you and you are busy, remind him, "We will play together at [time], but right now I need to [tell him what you are busy with]" This lets him know that you remember that you need to spend time with him, and lets him know that you are not just ignoring him for no reason, you are actually tending to something important.

Let him help with some of your tasks. Yes, it will take longer at first, but once he learns it can actually save you a ton of time. He is 5, so he can help with simple tasks in the kitchen while you cook. He can move clothes from the washer to the drier. He can help fold clothes....they might not look great at first, but he'll improve. He can definitely put clothes on hangers, and put away his own clothes. He can spray windex and wipe down the bathrooms, mirrors, and windows--and kids actually enjoy doing this stuff. He is old enough now that while you should still be in there working with him, you won't be wasting a ton of time making sure he doesn't drink a chemical or spray something he shouldn't spray.

For the bathroom issue, explain that you help him because he is little, but as we get older we do these things by ourselves. Our bodies are private--that is why we wear clothes. Tell him that when you close the door to the bedroom or bathroom, he needs to knock and wait for you to open the door before entering, and that you will do the same for him. Once he sees your example, he will start to follow it.

Lastly, make sure he has some time to socialize and play with kids his age at least 3 or 4 times a week. If he is in daycare that shouldn't be a problem, but once he moves on to school, you need to make sure he has time for actual play with other kids--elementary school is mostly structured and leaves little time for socializing. Put him in extracurricular activities that promote socialization--baseball is good because they can chat on the bench, soccer is great because they usually have breaks and time after games. Avoid strict martial arts type activities where they are required to be still and quiet--those are great activities, just not great for socializing. Music and art classes are great too.


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Gena - posted on 05/31/2015




Does he get the chance during the day to let out energy? Does he take a calming bath before bedtime? I would also try telling him he is a big boy and can sleep in his big boy bed without you. You could read him a story before bedtime and let him choose a teddy to sleep with. About the toilet..i would also tell him he is big enough to go to the toilet on his own. Is he perhaps scared of something? Try talking to him to find out why he needs you all the time. Oh and I know how it I having an only child. Ours hasn't asked for a sibling yet. But we are getting a pet. So that our son can learn responsibility and have a pet friend. :)

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