clingy child

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  • #33531 Report



    I’m looking for any advice or even just other parent’s experience with a clingy child.

    I’ve been a single mother since my son was born, he’s now five and in year 1 at school. He hates to be separated from me, which has made nursery and school painful, as he cries when I drop him off and tries to cling to me, I’ve tried all sorts of things to improve this, giving him something to have of mine during the day, practising saying goodbye with him at other times, nothing seems to make any real or lasting difference.

    He won’t go to any holiday clubs, he just cries too much, he won’t do swimming lessons cos I can’t be in the pool, recently I was the only parent who was unable to drop off at a birthday party (with all children from his class and the birthday girl is his best friend) and I had to join in the party games or he would have sat with me and not joined in.

    It is getting me down now, he’s always been clingy but I had hoped it would improve as he got older but it doesn’t seem to be. I have been encouraging him to go to a couple of after school clubs, just an hour straight from class so he doesn’t see me and get dropped off again, his best friend goes and at first he seemed to enjoy them, but last week he started crying about going in the morning making drop off harder than normal, and now this evening he’s started already crying about club tomorrow and said he doesn’t want to go to any clubs anymore. There’s no other reason that I’m aware of other than that if he had his way he would spend 24/7 by my side.

    I just don’t know what to do or why he is like this. I am struggling with working around school hours and school holidays are a disaster. I have had virtually no social life for the past 5 years. It’s really hard for me and I worry about him because he is missing out on so much because of it and becoming increasingly less confident.

    🙁 Obviously I also blame myself and wonder what I’ve done and whether he would be like this if it wasn’t just me and him!

    #33599 Report



    So sad to hear, I empathise.

    There could be many reasons you are facing these issues. If you are safe in the knowledge that your son is not being harmed at school and that the school have no concerns then accept that.

    Most often the issue is with ourselves. Our children sense when we are tired, or unhappy and since they can’t comprehend the exact feeling, they act out. It’s natural for children who have spent so much time one on one will feel uncomfortable when change occurs but this is part of live, developing and growing.

    So ensure you take time for yourself so that you are calm and collected on dropping off and collecting. Try instill a little independence in  your child when they are at home so that when separation is expectant, it’s an easier process.  Self care is the most important thing you can do today. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

    Other things to try is change the routine. Routine is positive in some respects, bedtime, bathing etc but negative in others. Routinely crying on drop offs is negative but in time children will grow out of this. Busy your child with other activities they can perform on their own as much as possible and rewarding children for good behaviour is positive. Never reward with food or sweets. Reward with quite time, love and attention.

    Good luck !


    #33608 Report

    Gingerbread Alex


    Just to add that you may also find it helpful to contact Family Lives for advice. You can find their contact details on their website here:

    I hope this helps.


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