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Attachment at nearly 4 and ways to reassure?

(5 Posts)
JoandMax Wed 19-Feb-14 07:26:00

Ds2 turns 4 next month and is a wonderful, cheeky, funny little boy. He goes to pre-school which he loves and is very settled and happy there.

However his attachment to me at all other times is very intense and always has been. He sleeps in our bed, has to be touching me at all times, gets very upset at anyone else doing anything else for him. He will happily play with his brother and DH as long as I'm in the room too. DH is endlessly patient with him in trying to help him feel more attached to him and although he is better its still hard work! If I leave the room to go to the loo he runs after me, if he needs help with his shoes unless its me there's meltdown.

He was a poorly tube fed baby so was with me pretty much 24/7 for the first 2 years so I'm sure this attachment comes from there. I had no option to leave him with other people, partly for his medical needs but also he'd get so upset we felt it wasn't fair when he was going through so much anyway.

I love him more than anything but it is a little suffocating at times, if we go out I have to stay with him in our bed until he's asleep, make sure I'm home for midnight (his usual first wakeup) and am often a bit on edge checking my phone for messages! DS1 is 5.6 and amazing and patient but I feel guilty at how much of my time and energy goes on his brother and I would so love to do things just with him without worrying about how DS2 is reacting........

Any tips on how to reassure him and help him be a little more independent?? I'm surprised how happy he is at pre-school so he can do it! I don't want to take a hard line with him and just think tough you can cry, he's cried enough when I couldn't do anything about it I don't have the emotional strength!

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Feb-14 07:40:53

He can do pre-school, which is good. Does he do full days or half days? If half days, could you try a couple of full days?

Could he stay at home with DH for a day while you took his brother out? Or even a morning? At nearly 4 he is old enough to have it explained that you need to go out but you'll be back later (give a time) and daddy will look after him till then.

Same with the evenings, say that you won't be there when he wakes up, but daddy will be, and you will be there in the morning. It's easier if you're not actually in the house. Does DH ever put him to bed? My DS coped more easily with DH going to him in the night if it had been DH that put him to bed.

I think you need to do baby steps, but also you need to remove yourself from the situation because if you are there and he knows, he won't accept anyone else and you will give in and go to him.

JoandMax Wed 19-Feb-14 07:46:41

He just does half days - not an option to do full days as its attached to the school and they only do the one session.

I do leave him with DH but there's a lot of tears and when I come back he is literally clinging to me for the next 24 hours!! DH does try to put him to bed but again he descends into hysteria in minutes. Its such a shame as they have a great time together when I'm there. We haven't actually tried both going up though, maybe that could work as a gradual retreat kind of thing?

There is a parents day next week though, maybe if DH went to that it could help? He is very happy in his pre-school environment so should be ok.

Parentingfailure Wed 19-Feb-14 08:48:03

I'm in a similar situation. Ds is 4, poorly for the first 2+ years of life with me being in hospital with him 24/7.
He's hysterical when I go to work, literally has to be peeled off me, sleeps with me, still breastfeeding.
I have no answers but you have my sympathy.

JoandMax Wed 19-Feb-14 12:34:44

Sorry you're in the same boat Parentingfailure (I hope you don't really think that of your username??) - its so hard isn't it?? I feel so frustrated with him sometimes then guilty............

I'm hoping with time it'll get better! Hope your DS is well now x

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