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What level of clingyness is normal?

(6 Posts)
PseudoBadger Thu 09-May-13 21:43:38

DS is 27 months. He's always liked to have me close and I have complied; I've never left him crying if unavoidable, we've co-slept for the second half of the night for the past year I'm lazy and i BF until about 2 weeks ago.
For the last few months if we are in the house together I literally have to be in his eyesight otherwise he says over and over 'mummy gone, mummy gone' - even if I've gone round the corner to the fridge for example. He's ok if I leave him at the childminders though....
However this past week has been terrible, culminating last night, when I got up (having just settled him in our bed) and left him with daddy so I could go to the toilet. He was inconsolable and so distressed that I had left him sad
I'm finding it tough - help!

MerryMarigold Fri 10-May-13 08:03:19

PFB syndrome?! grin

He is now at the age where he is testing boundaries and how far he can go with you, which is possibly what he is doing. He probably goes without fuss to childminder because he knows there is no getting out of it, however much fuss he makes. Don't give in on the small stuff, because if you are planning a second child it will really affect him negatively to have had so much of you.

PseudoBadger Fri 10-May-13 09:11:38

I don't think I said that I give in - I still go to the fridge, the toilet, sit on the sofa - he just screams and cries when I do grin
so in the 5 months before I have DC2 how shall I deal with it?

rrreow Fri 10-May-13 10:45:38

I wouldn't call my DS overly clingy, but he definitely likes me to be close and will cry if I leave the room (he'll follow me if he can without crying, but sometimes when he can't or isn't allowed he'll cry). My DS is 24mo and we're expecting DS2 in a months' time!

What I do when I need to go do something is I get down to his level, make eyecontact and then explain in simple terms what I'm going to do "Mummy is going to cook dinner now" or "Mummy is going for a wee". I usually have to repeat that several times (interspersed with "You don't like it when mummy goes downstairs" etc, so he feels heard) and then he'll start to calm down. Then I encourage him to wave at me and/or go do something else "Why don't you go play with your teaset/puzzle etc" which he's usually happy to do.

This situation usually arises when there is someone else in the room (e.g. DH or my S-I-L who looks after him during the day while we work from home) but it seems to just be the 'being left' that triggers him and requires dealing with sensitively. I wouldn't leave him in the room without the option to follow me if there wasn't anyone else there.

If your DS can actually follow you but still decides to throw a wobbly, how about giving him a choice beforehand "Mummy is going to the toilet, would you like to stay here and play with your toys or come with me?" and then just go and let him make the decision. I don't think there's anything wrong with him experiencing his feelings, as long as he knows what's going on.

meandtheboys Fri 10-May-13 13:06:01

I think it is normal to still be clingy at this age. DS1 followed me everywhere (literally everywhere, I often had to pee with him on my lap) til he was 3. He would cry if I went upstairs and left him on the other side of the stairgate even if DH was with him. He just liked to be with me constantly. Actually,he's 5 now and he still prefers to be very close to me, likes me to put him to bed, lays with his head snuggled up to me when on the sofa. He doesn't still cry when I leave the room but 9 times out of 10 he still trots after me talking endlessly but I love it! DS2 is the same but more so with DH. He's 16 months and sobs bitterly when DH comes home if he doesn't pick him up straight away. He cries when DH goes out the room. Thankfully he prefers DH to put him to bed which means DS1 gets me to himself! Works out quite well for the time being! No advice as such. I'd just keep reassuring him that mummy does always come back and try and let him be with you as much as possible. I love my 5 year old shadow grin .

MerryMarigold Fri 10-May-13 23:02:05

I wasn't saying you give in to the small stuff. Just advising you not to. I think with a new baby on the way, I would really be encouraging his other relationships with his dad, grandparents? etc. I put my ds1 into a playschool at that age for a few hours a week so he could get used to not having me all the time, but it sounds like he has a childminder so is used to that to some extent.

Perhaps he somehow knows he is 'losing' you a bit to the new baby. Has it affected what you can do with him already? Do talk a lot about the baby with him, especially in a couple of months.

Do not underestimate the effect sharing you with a sibling will have. Of course, you can't do everything to prevent the damage, but you can make it easier on him by doing all you can to gradually wean him to a point where he isn't so clingy, and also after the baby is born, to make special and exclusive time for your ds1 (bedtime is definitely a good one).

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