Some kids are runners or wanderers. Mine? They are not. They stick to me. As babies, they wanted to be held or carried in a baby carrier and never wanted to be put down in public places. They are far from baby age now, and yet, they still stick. My nearly 4 year old insists on holding my hand when we go out. In a new place, she parks herself on my lap until she’s 100% sure it’s safe to roam around. She sleeps next to me at night. If she wakes up and I’m not there, she’s pretty upset until she can find me. My 6 year old follows me around the house all day, sticking her nose into all of my business.
Am I worried?
Not one tiny bit.
It seems a little annoying at times. In a world where ‘independence‘ is pushed, I can see where parents get especially bothered by children who only want to be by their parent’s side all day long.
Slowly, as they’ve grew older, I’ve watched how adventurous they’ve become. Without any cajoling, bribing or training from me, their ‘mama radius‘ is expanding. I see how confident they’ve become without me forcing them to un-velcro themselves from me. In fact, when we’re it out, it’s rare that I even see or hear from the older one, she’s off running ahead or playing with the other kids.
But, I still remember the days she stuck to me like glue.
See, the velcro wears off. Luckily, I know that all this ‘stickiness‘ is a very healthy part of attachment and there is no need to teach independence or anything like that. It happens on its own. Actually, when we try and push independence, we can end up with the reverse affect. More clinginess. More insecurity, etc. It’s like the blossoming of a flower. You can’t force the flower to open… and look how beautiful the flower is when it finally opens on its own.
The context of a child’s world comes through the eyes and actions of the mother, or the person who is the primary carer. Kids are watching and learning in even the most seemingly insignificant of interactions. Kids are constantly looking to the parents for cues on how to react in situations and how to communicate with others. It’s only natural that they want to be near you.
And, young children are NOT meant to be independent. There’s hardly a single thing a new born baby can do for his or her self without the help of the parents. That ‘independence‘ develops very slowly in human babies. Um hello, 18 years old before you’re considered an adult is bizarrely slow development in the animal kingdom! Come to think of it, there are not many things in my own life that I like to do independently (except use the toilet, yeah, that would be nice). I usually enjoy things when I can do them with other people.
Just the other day, I was sitting down eating dinner and everyone left the table. I found that I got a little sad and told everyone to please come back!
I can imagine that’s how my kids feel when they want me around. Human beings are dependent on each other. We rely on each other for comfort and security, for togetherness and belongingness.
It’s not to say that you should never do anything away from you children. Oh no. There’s nothing wrong with going to work, going out and all that stuff. I just went away for four nights to do a silent meditation retreat and it was amazing! But, just to know that having a velcro child is normal, can bring peace to your mind. That actually, having a velcro child is a very good sign of having a healthy, emotionally attached child.
They won’t be clutching your skirt tails forever. Have you ever seen a teenager who wouldn’t leave the parent’s side??? I doubt it.
If your child develops severe anxiety when not around you, there could be some major underlying issues. It could be signs that your child does not feel safe with his or her carer, or it could mean that the child has some big emotions to work though. I high recommend reading the book, “Attachment Play” by Aletha Solter, she explains how you can help your child with intense fears.