How "normal" is it?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That vexed question again - how "normal" is it? Not that the label of normalcy really changes anything but it is interesting to know...
    So, how normal is it that my son is going through a period where he doesn't want to go to any childminder, but wants to stay with me all the time? School he always goes to VERY happily (hope that isn't famous last words) but anything other than that... He doesn't want to go to one childminder but I figured that was because she is overly harsh and punitive. But now he doesn't want to go to the other one either - and she is very "cuddly" and maternal. He clings on to me and says he just wants to stay at home, with me... The issue arises when I have work, but also when I have appointments or, simply, when I need time away from him to see friends or whatever. And I do need this time "away". Today there is no school and I had planned for him to go to the "cuddly" childminder. J has mounted a campaign of tears, clinging on to me in a very plaintive way (that almost has me giving in - but I am not going to) saying he wants to stay with me that of course makes me feel guilty about taking him...
    Despite all the tears and protests, I know when I get him there (if I get him there :) ), he will have a nice time and play with the other kids. But is this period of "clinging" and wanting to stay with me typical?
  2. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Like you said, it is always hard to sort through what's typical for their age and what's not, but what you describe seems not really alarming to me (specially if the childminder assures you he has a good time once you're gone). Maybe try to make it short and sweet. A little good bye routine and if you have set your mind that he needs to go (whatever your reason is), then don't give him to his crying. Otherwise, it really only teach him to cry long enough and hard enough. What would be worrysome to me is if can't stop crying for an hour or more once you're gone... maybe, ask the childminder to time the crying and then report to you. That's what I did when my boys started daycare. Then YOU can decide where you draw the line of normalcy. Isn't it hard not to over-analyze everything with a difficult child?! At one point, everything looks suspicious. And try to talk to him as of why he has to go, even if it is "just" for you to have some time for yourself. It is a very valid reason, explain maybe that you need that time to think about things, unwind and that helps you be a better mommy.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    This can go either way--I have a "neurotypical" daughter who didn't like parting from me, and actually would have had all the family together all the time if she'd had her way. Often it's just how a child is wired up, or a stage they are going through. Less frequently it's the start of what will develop into more serious anxiety issues. You'll know if it was the latter because it would escalate quickly and become very evident in non-separation issues.

    We live in a time and culture where the expectation is for children to be seperated from their mothers at very young ages for many of their waking hours, and usually away from home. Historically this is relatively new--marriages tended to be more lasting and mothers tended to at be home taking care of children and house. Preschool is a very modern invention--nobody went when I was a kid and when they did it was only for a few hours a few times a week. in my opinion, the upshot is that some kids truly are thrust out into the world for most of their waking hours well before they're ready for it. Most adapt and do well, some do not.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Actually, I do agree SRL... and I think it's nice, and natural, that my son should want to stay at home at four years of age (I don't suppose he will want that in ten years time so I should enjoy it while it lasts). And I do feel some guilt about leaving him and really take the point about modern expectations. But there are two issues - as a single parent, it is very intense and "full on" bringing up a child alone, as every single parent will know, and I do need some respite from that, and secondly the particular demands of a hyperactive boy increase that intensity. To be the best parent I can be to J I need time away to "rest and recuperate", that's the honest truth... If he were not happy at the childminder's and if it were not an opportunity for him to socialise with other children, I wouldn't do it though.
    I left him this morning and he did seem very upset, crying and clinging on to my jacket. When I left, though, I stood outside the door to listen and he stopped crying IMMEDIATELY! And began happily playing with the toys... So go figure.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I understand. It's not an option for you, but it's good to toss in for consideration while you're searching for cause-effect.

    No captive audience for the show! That should make you feel better about this, though.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, I picked him up in the afternoon and he was happy as Larry, as they say, beaming and clearly contented. Childminder said he had been good as gold and had played well with the other boy who was there today. So, I'm not sure what all the fuss in the morning is about other than that changes and transitions are difficult for him and he hasn't been to this childminder for a while as I haven't had a work project for a few weeks now. Like most (all?) adopted children, he does have some attachment problems - he used to be very insecurely attached, getting very distressed and upset whenever I left him, and this is SO much better now... So I am probably setting too high a standard for him anyway, I don't know.