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Clingy 3 year old

(6 Posts)
tryhard Wed 02-Nov-16 18:26:21

DD2 will be 3 in a month and to be fair has had a lot of recent change, she's started pre-school a few mornings a week and is recently potty trained. She just constantly wants me and I don't know how to handle it, my eldest wasnt like this. She won't walk on the school run, wants me to carry her, won't go to DH at all, constantly says she wants me, wants to go home, misses me etc. We're never apart expect from pre-school cos I'm a SAHM with no local support, she loves school but did refuse to go in recently for just one session. I feel like a terrible Mom cos she seems so insecure, yet I've done nothing differently to how I handled my eldest at this age.

I'm posting this under parenting cos I just don't know what to do - my instinct is to not force separation with pre-school, to stay with her etc but I'm finding it completely exhausting, I feel like I just can't give anymore and I feel like giving her 100% of my time still isn't enough.

tryhard Thu 03-Nov-16 07:45:27


abbsismyhero Thu 03-Nov-16 10:58:20

Just be firm and calm a clear consistent love you quick cuddle and leave

Little treats for no tears

I wouldn't hang around its better to let the staff deal with it

Willothewhip Thu 03-Nov-16 21:22:57

Hi OP, I have just been through this exact scenario myself and am out the other side. It is exhausting and frustrating and you have my sympathies.

This is not about anything that you have done or not done as a parent as you can see from your experience with DD1; it is to do with the temperament of your DD2. My DD is also sensitive and very attached to me to the exclusion of everyone else, including DH. I am also a SAHM.

There are two ways to tackle the preschool issue. The first is to do what a PP suggests and leave the teachers to it. This is called 'flooding'. I really wouldn't recommend this for your DD as it will be very traumatic for her (and you).

The other way is gradual desensitisation. You sit in the classroom for a few weeks and them slowly start to go out for breaks once you start to see that she is coping in the environment. You start with a 5 min break and gradually move it up to 10 mins, 15 mins etc. This is all about her learning to trust the teachers. All she has known is you and she feels unsafe without you present. This has worked beautifully for us but it has taken time and there has been the odd regression along the way. My DD now happily skips into preschool and I'm really glad I stuck with it.

Your DD is still very young and still feels the need for your presence very deeply, but you will come out the other side and her clinginess will lessen if you don't force the separation. Please feel free to PM me with any questions, or for support if you want to.

tryhard Fri 04-Nov-16 07:53:15

Thank you both. The irony is I started her st pre-school early cos she was desperate to start (wants to do anything her sister does!) and has been completely fine other than the last session where she point blank refused to stay. She doesn't get her free hours till she's 3 in Jan so I don't know whether to stop the sessions for now and try again when she's 3? Or is that a bit silly for the sake of 1 session when she's been going fine the rest of the time?
Also I don't know whether to push things like constantly wanting me, not DH; for example, she wants to be carried everywhere, which is killing my back, she she won't go to DH and if I put her down she just screams hysterically. It's like she needs to be closer than close all the time and I feel like I can't give anymore 😰

Willothewhip Sat 05-Nov-16 05:22:56

I would be tempted to take her out of preschool and try to get things feeling more secure for her. It will take the pressure off you both. My DD was also desperate to get to preschool but hadn't reckoned on me not being there with her. Trying to push her to separate from me led to all the behaviours you have described (wanting to be carried, rejecting DH, hysterical crying etc.). It was traumatic for her and exhausting/claustrophobic for me. I've come to the conclusion that she has to 'feel' right about being without me and no amount of adult rationality makes any difference!

The fact that she's only been with you and that you've not had any other support - so she's not used to trusting anyone else is identical to my situation and I believe it has amplified the problem.

You will get through this, don't worry. She won't be clinging to you forever. The more support you can give her the better but also make some time for yourself too. If you can find a way to leave her for short stints with your DH it will give you a breather and give her a chance to bond more with her Dad. If she's anything like my DD she won't like this to begin with but she will be fine and it's a good first step for everyone.

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