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Does your way of parenting 'make' your child clingy?

(69 Posts)
spots Tue 20-Dec-05 13:16:52

Hi... DD at 19 months is being crushingly clingy. I spend all day with her most days and so she's comfortable and I hardly notice it. But when we hit a group of people, or worse, the weekend when DH is around and involved in activities, she has tantrums if someone else approaches her and everything has to be done with me, in front of me or on top of me!

Someone hit a raw nerve today at Toddlers by suggesting I could 'deal with it' by walking away and leaving her to get on with it. I wouldn't do this. It's not in my nature. But I don't think I have smothered her either. If she is happily getting on with something I will equally happily walk away.

But I had a niggling thought that I was being criticized. Do you think that parenting styles contribute to clinginess, or is it just the nature of the child?

Feistybird Tue 20-Dec-05 13:22:47

prob a bit of both. From your post you don't sound to me like you smother - but the age your dd is at, it classic clingy age IIRC.

Both my DDs are mummy's girls, always have been, simply because although I work, I just do the greater amount of childcare.

Bozza Tue 20-Dec-05 13:23:34

Yes is the answer to the thread title. It must do because she is!

However she is different to your DD. DD is happy to go to nursery 3 days a week, happy to be with her Dad, absolutely loves social occasions and is a real party animal but if we are at home, either alone, or with DS and/or DH around she is very clingy to me. Eg DH and DS will be in the living room with TV and toys available and DD will insist on standing on a chair next to me while I cook. She also follows me around from room to room and insists on being close to me in the room. Yet we were at a buffet at MIl's on Sunday and she was running around with the 3 other children and hardly noticing me unless her cousin or brother came for a cuddle.

Sooooo - I think it is a phase. There you are - thats helpful isn't it?

OComeOliveFaithfOil Tue 20-Dec-05 13:25:51

dd1 is quite clingy and cautious. But she is also a lovely sweet little girl and I try to think of it as part of her character.

Everyone is different.

It can get irritating when she is shadowing me all the time on outings but I would never just walk away and get her to 'deal with it', what on earth does that mean?

She is 3 now and started playgroup in September and still cries some days when she goes.

colditz Tue 20-Dec-05 13:27:07

i don't know, I am very intolerant of clinginess to me, and when ds went through it at about 11 months old, I just used to dump him on top of daddy and walk off into another room. I don't know if I did the right thing, or an awful thing TBh, but he isn't remotely clingy now, and hasn't been since 2 weeks after he started.

ISawFrannyandZooeyKissingSanta Tue 20-Dec-05 13:27:32

At this age you need to allow them to be clingy. In the long run meeting their needs now will enable them to be more confident and secure when they are older. It is annoying when people comment like this - makes you question everything you are doing. But forcing a child who is not yet ready to be independent, is mean IMO and achieves nothing good long term.

ISawFrannyandZooeyKissingSanta Tue 20-Dec-05 13:29:10

I don't think leaving a child with another adult that loves them is awful, colditz. I also find the clinginess physically annoying sometimes.

LizzylouDonkey Tue 20-Dec-05 13:30:46

DS (21mths) has been attending a nursery for two days per week for 1 year, he runs off when he gets there to play with his friends with barely a second glance. BUT when we both go to playgroup (which we've been going to for months) he likes to make sure he can always see me and always starts off on my lap before he ventures off to play. He is clingy to me and has phases when he is certainly even more so, but I assume that that is natural. Who on earth wouldn't want their offspring to feel most comfortable with their Mother? I certainly would never walk off when he was upset.
I know from some of my friends that they are actually envious of the cuddles and affection that DS gives to me.
Your daughter just sounds like she is sensitive and I really wouldn't worry!

colditz Tue 20-Dec-05 13:31:15

It was the demanding pick up/put me down/pick me up/put me down thing I couldn't handle. It used to knacker my back, he would never settle anywhere. Actually that probably doesn't even count as clinginess, it just happened that it was me he did it to.

ISawFrannyandZooeyKissingSanta Tue 20-Dec-05 13:32:45

Another thought - in some countries what we call 'clinginess' is the desired state for the relationship between mother and child and is seen as a compliment to the mother's parenting ability. Shame we tend to criticise it in this country.

spots Tue 20-Dec-05 13:38:23

FranneyandZooeyKSC, agree yes I feel definitely that she will be a lot more secure in the long termn if she knows I have 'proved' my own consistency early on. But it is 'physically annoying'. My mum;'s friend calls it 'claustrophobia of the knees!' if only it was just my knees that felt claustrophobic...

But there, I have always been a very physically close mother to her. We went from front carrier to backpack, always having conversations on walks etc., always together, breastfed for what seemed like ages though only 15 months I suppose, and here she is expected to trot around at a lonely height or ride in a buggy far away from any hint of cuddles. It's the physicality of it all that has changed, mainly. She is expected to get physically further away from me and she doesn't know how yet. What worries me is the immenent arrival of no. 2 in April..!

spots Tue 20-Dec-05 13:39:23

yes colditz picking up all the time def. the coal face of it!

Mergirl Tue 20-Dec-05 14:04:39

Spots-I think I have a similar style of parenting to you. Both ds and dd are/were carried in a sling/carrier, as far as possible, also we co-sleep, etc etc (attatchment parenting).

Ds is 2.3. At your dd age he was really clingy. Now he is very independent, and runs into p+t group without a second glance.

Can't leave him yet exc with known adults but am confident this phase will pass.

Dd also seems pretty "clingy" (at 6 months). I think thats fine. She knows I know how to meet her needs better than anyone else atm. Makes sense for her to stick with me.

Ditto my son now. His speech is not great, he is not used to large groups of kids, so of course he doesn't want me to leave him at nursery. So what? In a year or two, he probably will. Its not a race!

Have a friend who also attatchment parented, her dd was very clingy (she had to help at playgroup cos she wouldn't be left). At 7 now she's deeply independent. Also lovely towards her little sister-no jealousy at all.

I know the tempatation to give advice. My ds hardly tantrums and when he does I can snap him out of it. Its tempting to see that as good parenting, but its probably the luck of the draw. Maybe differences between your kids was behind her advice, iyswim.

DissLocated Tue 20-Dec-05 14:17:01

Hi Spots, my dd is 20 mo and is quite clingy. I can only leave her in places or with people she is familiar with. A friend of mine told me she left her ds (same age) at the gym creche the other day, there is no way i could do that with my dd, she'd scream the place down!

I think it's just her age and her character. I think if I give her lots of cuddles and support at this age, she'll gradually get more confident and get over it.

DD did have a phase of being a bit 'anti' dh and we cured that by giving them lots of time together without me, they have bonded really well now which is sweet.

Bozza Tue 20-Dec-05 14:20:59

Colditz - thats exactly how my DD is. Sometimes it really drives me to distraction. I have to strategise how to get the dirty laundry from the basket upstairs into the washing machine. And if DS comes anywhere near....

twirlingaroundthechristmastree Tue 20-Dec-05 14:27:28

It's natural for kids to be clingy at that age I would say - and in my opinion best to indulge it as far as possible if you want a confident, out-going 5 year old.

acnebride Tue 20-Dec-05 14:30:59

i was and am very non-attachment parent (ds in own room on day 3, p/t work at 10 months etc) simply doing what I could stand to do. ds was clingy at exactly the same age as yours. currently not very clingy at all. i think it's a good sign personally - you must be doing something right if they want to be with you!

thinking positively, perhaps the other mum found clinginess hard herself and was trying to help. but annoying comment, I'd agree.

sugarbaby Tue 20-Dec-05 16:09:51

my DS was very clingy at that age as well. I didn't do the co-sleeping bit (went into his own room at 9 wks) but I carried him in a sling and then a back carrier (not possible to use buggy with guide dog) and we chatted everywhere we went, and still do. As a baby I was never overly confident leaving him with anyone apart from DH and my mother (only with mother if absolutely necessary) and was heavily criticised for it. Now he goes to nursery and is totally happy there (he's 3 now), and although he occasionally still cries for his mummy, he's happy to go and play, but still happy to see me when I come to pick him up. Although clingyness can be very draining, especially at the time when mummy has to do absolutely everything, I think I prefer that to my friend's child who, at just 12 months, could be left with absolutely anyone and anywhere and didn't bat an eyelid.

I feel that I'm doing something right if my DS wants to be close to me.

santasweetdreamer Tue 20-Dec-05 16:34:19

Hi spots, both my ds's are/were clingy. I know my style of parenting was probably to blame, but like you I couldn't just walk away, it's not in me! I think you've got to be true to yourself and try not to take to heart what others say, I know it's difficult. my oldest son was the clingiest child ever and now at age 7 he's "too cool" to cling to me! So don't feel bad, you sound like you and your dd are doing fine.

crimbocrazydazy Tue 20-Dec-05 16:55:19

DS is far more clingy than DD ever was. He is three and half now but still insists on coming into bed with me every single night and it drives me crazy! If he just slept by my side it would be fine but he insists on being so close to me I just cannot breathe, let alone sleep, he also wraps his little legs and arms around me - I think thats to stop me from leaving him alone . DS jumps in and DP jumps out. Very annoying but unfortunately not much we can do as he shares a room with DD (5) and I don't want to wake her up too.

Bozza Tue 20-Dec-05 17:05:23

In my defence - DS was not nearly so clingy at this age. Strange that the second child should be.

Creole Tue 20-Dec-05 21:33:54

Sugarbaby - re your friend's 12 mth old, is that not a classic case of secure attachment as par Ainsworth's theory?

blueshoes Tue 20-Dec-05 21:43:24

In my dd's case, it was her clinginess (from day 1) which affected my parenting - rather than the other way around. I was dragged screaming and kicking into adopting attachment parenting ...

Chandra Tue 20-Dec-05 21:54:16

I have noticed that DS is quick to develop clinginess to whomever he spends more time in the day with. If he spends most of the day with his dad he doesn't want me anywhere near him at night, he only wants his daddy. Same happens if it's me who spends most of the day with him. I have noticed that he has become more clingy since I'm doing most of the childcare and was wondering where I have been gone wrong to cause such clinginess because, after all, when they cling to you, you can't help but see it as if they were slightly wary or worried abour the other people, or that may become shy which IMO is not particularly good (I was a shy kid and TBH, it's not a personal characteristic the owner secretly treasures, it's more like a social handicap).

I read in a book that shyness could be easily avoided in childhood by forcing the child to see that nothing will go wrong if he/she becomes more open to other people or join other kids. The book said that the way to deal with it was to ask the child to say hello and if he/she hid behind you and refused to be social that she should be sent to the naughty corner until she said hello. The point of it was to make the kid realise that being more sociable was not really that difficult. I have not found the heart to do something like that, I simply can't but... there might be an element of truth in it, DS becomes very clingy when there are more kids around however, if I say "No problem DS, if you don't want to stay we are leaving" he immediatly releases my hand and goes to play with the other children and has a great time so.... it may work. I think that it might be about not "nurturing" their fears IYWIM

Creole Tue 20-Dec-05 22:02:04

Chandra - great post. I do believe extreme clinginess is a sign of insecurity.

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