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Old May 1st, 2014, 11:25 AM   1
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Help with clingy 4 yr old - wont go to Dad


I have posted this in Toddler/Pre School but thought I should post it here too as she's almost 5 and will be at school really soon, not too sure which section I belong in. Hoping to get as much advice as possible xxx

Hi ladies

Appoligies in advance for what I am sure is going to be a super long post. This has been going on for years and it needs sorting out now, me and hubby really are at the end of our tether.

Chloe is super clingy with me. I am totally ok with that as I was very clingy with my mum. I used to sit outside the loo while she went for a wee, I would sleep with her nightie and always spent a lot of time with her when I was younger
I love that she is very attached to me and we have a great relationship. Its meant me and hubby have never been able to have an evening out, I can't leave her with Grandparents to go out or she will cry and cry but I really don't mind, I've always thought it will get easier as time goes on.

The only place I can leave her where she won't cry is nursery. Thats been a constant thing since she was 6 months old and I returned to work so she knows it well and its a bit of a second home for her. Other than that she will freak out if separated from me.

I only ever leave her with her Daddy but she still freaks out. Its so upsetting to see and he's becoming more and more down about it all. It really upsets him and he is trying so hard.
He's worried what people think. They way she behaves its as if he's kidnapping her and we both are genuinely worried someone might call Social Services or something.

Examples of situations (just to give you some insight) are:

- Last week we were in town (me, hubby and the kids). I needed to pop into my office to see my manager quickly so hubby took the kids home via the playground. Chloe was sobbing as I left, only stopped crying about 10 mins later.

- On Tuesday I couldn't take Chloe to her Science Club as I had an op on my toe and couldn't walk. Hubby took her but she screamed and cried going out the door, cried all the way to the library, cried for the first 10 mins of the class until he had to take her out and bring her home as she was making herself sick.

- Anytime I need to go shoppping, even if its just to the little shop a few minutes away and I leave her at home with her Dad she will cry and cry while I leave and for maybe 10 mins after.

- If Dad picks her up from nursery she will freak and cry for me. She will cry the entire 20 minute walk home.

There are many many more of these and honestly this has been going on for years!

At home her attitude towards him seems to be getting worse too. She will move away from him when he sits next to her, won't ever hug him unless he practically begs her, whines or screeches if he tries to tickle her etc.

I can 100% say he has never done anything wrong towards her. He's an amazing Dad and loves her to bits! He's getting so incredibly upset with all of this and its really taking its toll on us both. Its truly been going on for years and we have always just tried to ride it out, hoping it will improve with time.
We never shouted or punished her as we thought that might make it worse so I have always just gently encouraged her towards her Dad, with no luck

They do have some great moments together. She loves his tickle fights and says he is more fun than me at shower time cos he lets her splash and play and I am boring.
I have found myself being more grumpy and strict just so she see's Dad as the more fun and cool one. He will usually give in to treats where I am more of a meany and say no. But still it makes no difference.

Sorry for the crazy long post. I am just so desperate for help now, I was in tears last night. I couldn't get to nursery to pick Chloe up so my hubby went and she freaked out again.

She is an amazing girl, so clever and bright, always polite, cheerful and full of smiles. We love her to bits but are truly lost at what to do

Thanks xxx

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Old May 5th, 2014, 13:35 PM   2
Mum (Mom)
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First- big hugs

That has to be a frustrating situation at times for you both. For you because you feel you can't leave without her getting upset- and same for your OH.

I think it's common for most kids to go through stages they gravitate towards one parent or the other- but being she's always clung more to you, and it's been going on for years... obviously not a stage!

I don't have any great help- I did read an article on ways to help with seperation anxiety with kids/parents. I know it's more so for when they are in that stage- but I can imagine it might still help you and LO too? Least it's worth a shot. I wish I knew the article-- sorry. I would also recommend checking out books too- there are in-home excercises you can do with LO to help them learn to be on their own without you and more secure etc...

Another thought- it could be this is just how she is and something you'll all have to slowly learn to alliviate in time-- Not sure how else to explain it. I only mention it cause my SD was diagnosed with seperation anxiety at a young age (due to circumstances to do with her Bio-mom- so obviously a different situation)- but not the "stage" most kids go through. And it was something she's struggled with a long time- but we got her therapy- and we found ways to help alleviate it when possible etc... She is pretty much fine about it all now (she's 16)- but when she was younger it was tough. She didn't even like staying at friends houses that much- and so we had more sleep overs at our place etc .... just things we had to work through as they come up as she developed and grew.

Just a thought. Obviously you know your LO best.

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Old May 6th, 2014, 01:31 AM   3
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Can you find something to do, on a regular basis (weekly or more often) where ONLY he goes with her? Seems like dad is only the stand in when you absolutely cant. He needs something fun that she LOVES to see daddy can be just as fun as mom.

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Old May 7th, 2014, 08:00 AM   4
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Originally Posted by JASMAK View Post
Can you find something to do, on a regular basis (weekly or more often) where ONLY he goes with her? Seems like dad is only the stand in when you absolutely cant. He needs something fun that she LOVES to see daddy can be just as fun as mom.
Your right I guess. Its been hard as Dad works crazy hours and we never know when his day off will be until very last minute. Its hard to plan anything and he sometimes can go a week or more without really seeing us as he leaves before we wake and comes in once we are asleep.

He's going to start picking her up from nursery more often if he can get out of work and taking her to the park on his day off so they can play together. We are going to work really hard on him spending more alone time with her in the hope it might help.


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