Dd hugs my friends a lot- should I worry?(10 Posts)
I know this sounds a bit mad but I'm worried about dd. She has always been affectionate towards other adults, sometimes close friend's of mine, but quite often people she knows, but not really close. We had a tough time when she was a toddler and I know I shut down a bit emotionally. Now I read about attachment issues and see over familiar behaviour as one of the signs. We are back on track as a family and in a sense I may be worrying about something I can do nothing about but interested in what others think.
I should add that sometimes she'll go and see a close friend of mine before me when she comes after school!
How old is she? Are there any other aspects of her behaviour that worry you?
She's five and a half. Used to be worried about over lively behaviour but she has really calmed down. Other people see her as charmingly affectionate. She chooses me in preference when sad or hurt but often goes to others in preference to me when all okay. Our relationship is hugely improved, after a lot of work, but o found it very difficult to be loving towards her when ds (2.8) was little.
It's very tempting to tell you that you're worrying for no reason, that children often do this and that the fact she turns to you for comfort is a really good sign. But I hate doing the trite-easy-reassurance bit; I don't know if your dd has an attachment problem, only you know the extent of the 'tough time' and only you are there to see the behaviour of your daughter.
You say you've read up on attachment issues so presumably you know that there is a lot you can do to mitigate their effects. You will get some good advice by searching the adoption threads here or posting under adoption threads (RipVanLilka and TheFirstMrsDeVere are particularly good value on this issue).
But attachment disorders are really serious stuff, so I would advise getting professional help.
My gut feeling is that there is a bit of a problem but not huge. However, I am prone to google diagnosis so need to exercise caution there. I was quite I'll during pg with ds and think I pushed dd away in order to deal with it. Have made huge efforts to get closer with her, starting off with hugging her when I didn't want to and saying positive stuff I didn't believe at the time. Now I feel genuinely affectionate towards her and think she is the best thing since sliced bread and my shouty over reactive behaviour is normalised (I do shout occasionally, but am generally calm rather than being on a short fuse all the time). I am pg now and feel so different towards her and the new baby-I want her there and feel quite sad about the idea of being away from her when baby born, albeit short. Thinking about it, it was me she was waving to in the assembly they did last week, and during a recent antenatal admission, she wanted to spend time with me. Little things suggest we're reasonably normal. It's just this long term over hugginess and more interest in other people's parents that concerns me. Eg, this morning another parent offered to take her into school and she was cross with me (dd not the other patent!) when i said i would. So I would say our relationship is on track-I am a little worried about scars it might have left.
Sorry-all a bit neurotic.
By the way Hester, I really appreciate the balanced approach - as you say all too easy to brush it to one side.
Yes, so without sounding over-reassuring can I also say that your guilt about what happened may be making everything seem worse. I have a dd the exact same age and she hates it if I tag along on her playdates. She always says, "But if you come I don't get to talk to the mum". (I know, I know: the last thing the other mum wants is a visiting child who thinks the point is for THEM to become friends!)
I also have a younger child who is adopted, who when she joined us (as a baby) used to work the room, going to strangers with her arms up, as if constantly on the lookout for her next mother . She does it less now, but I am constantly looking out for it and worrying about what it means, so I do understand how you feel.
You're right about the guilt. I think I am now in a place where I can look at things in a slightly more balanced way- have just looked at some websites and realised if we do have a problem it is only mild. And I think lots of the things I am doing are the right ones. Also, I'm well aware that being happy to go with others is a sign of secure attachment too! Just need to neither under nor over analyse! Guess it's all coming to the front of my mind because I want to do well with creating secure bonds as we have the next addition to our family. I really appreciate your input-all very sensible, calm but not trite.
Whatever struggles you've had in the past, Hormone, you sound like a really thoughtful and loving parent so I'm sure you will be picking up on any potential problems and handling them well.
Yesterday I did a search on my past threads - first thing I've done this - and saw a thread I started a couple of years ago about dd1, about how aggressive and anti-social she was, that people were suggesting she was autistic, and I was just in pieces thinking she would never be 'normal'. Lots of kind posters made suggestions, some of them agreeing that she did sound as though AS may be an issue.
You know, within a year those problems had all but resolved. dd1 is still a bit sensitive and complicated, but has made a great start at school and gets on well with the other children (quote from her teacher: "I can't lie to you, she is a drama queen. But to put it in perspective, so are 50% of the girls in her class.") At the time I posted, I wasn't being OTT: dd1 was very strange, her pre-school teachers were concerned about how she would adapt to school, my mother was suggesting getting her statemented... I was right to be concerned, because I didn't know which way things would go.
In the same way, you are absolutely right to be concerned at any possible signs of problems, and to educate yourself about how to respond to them. In a couple of years, this may turn out to have been a complete blip, or may be early warning of a long-term issue. That's the way it often is in parenting, isn't it?
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