How do i deal with a clingy girl???

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jemmac, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Jemmac

    Jemmac New Member

    Help anyone please?have you any ideas about a clingy child 4yr old girl.She was born premiturally with her twin brother and am concerned about her speech and her development which is being seen to by Disabilities Services Australia and i am very concerned at her behaviour.I can't go anywhere alone she always follows me round like a lost puppy.I put her to bed and she won't stay there so i put a latch on it and she screams and carrys on and wakes up the rest of my kids.I go bed at night and during the night she comes in and sleeps with me.I put her back in her room but she still does it.I am at my wits end with her as she doesn't need to do this but i think she is traumatised after the split with my partner and the police arresting him for child abuse and domestic violence toward me so i think she might think that i am gunna leave also.It is so frustrating as i can't have a bath or go to the toilet or go out by myself to the doctor without a screaming match.Does anyone have any ideas on this subject as it would be gratefully appreciated.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know very little about services in Australia. What I CAN tell you is that kids who have problem births have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (autistic spectrum disorder) far more than other kids and that your daughter has some red flags for that. If it were my kid, I'd be looking for somebody who knows about autism (high functioning) to possibly look at her. It could be something else, but I'd take her to a neuropsychologist (however I hear there aren't many in Austrailia). Maybe our resident Austrailian will come along :) Welcome to the board.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You might get the attention of one of our Australian members on the General forum. She is really experienced with finding services for kids.

    The fear that you will leave her is probably partly behind the problems, but I think an evaluation is in order because it sounds like there is a lot going on.

    any signs/hints/concerns about sexual abuse? Whatever kind of child abuse it was probably also contributes to the problems.


  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I took the liberty of copying this and sending it to our resident Aussie Expert! MidwestMom and I both mentioned her, so I hope she can give you some advice.

  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, I'm here. You caught me just before bedtime! husband will nag but it's all in a good cause.

    I'm with MWM, you need to consider something on the autism spectrum as a possibility. But that doesn't help you right now...

    I went through clingy baby with difficult child 1, it was amazing. He'd cling like a koala, especially if there were other non-family around (such as at church, or visiting my sisters). I remember one day at church he sat and clung for the entire service, face almost buried in my shirt. he would have been about 3 at the time. After church someone came up and asked, "Isn't he feeling well?"
    I remember, he was shy with my mother too (his grandmother).

    difficult child 3 - not so shy - would go with a total stranger.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 - would go with a total stranger, especially if he had facial hair.

    But still, there were times with both of them.

    Some suggestions to tide you over - yes, I think the clinginess is highly significant. And you need to accept this about her for now. Don't force her to be apart, she's not ready. it could be hr history of abuse, it could be her fears, but for kids on the spectrum especially, they feel these things VERY strongly and you can't reason them out of it, nor can you force them (or discipline them) to be apart - all this will do is greatly increase her anxiety and make her worse.

    A suggestion - begin by letting her sleep in with you, first night. Tell her that next night (or maybe next week) she can sleep BESIDE your bed on the floor (put down some cushions for her, make up a nest). That way, her restlessness/your restlessness won't be a problem. Also, give her a t-shirt of yours, preferably sweaty, to cuddle in bed with her. Ask her to look after the shirt for you. If not the shirt - something else.

    I inadvertently did this with difficult child 3 as a baby - he was born in summer and the hormonal post-baby swings plus his gargantuan appetite (and my milk supply to match) meant that I carried a cloth nappy or hand towel with me, to mop up my sweat, any overflow of milk etc. I would put him down to sleep with this cloth tucked under his face (to catch any more overflows) then get a fresh towel. Next sleep - he got the next towel while the previous one went into the wash. But it had the smell of milk on it, plus my sweat smell. And all through his childhood, he has used towelling and the feel of it, to soothe his anxiety. He also uses salt water, especially sea water, to help calm himself (because he's noticed that he feels less anxious at the beach).

    The more you try to jolly her out of this anxiety, the more she is going to be afraid - her fear is so real it will be causing physical symptoms soon, if not already.

    Therapy may help - can you find a good child psychologist in your area? If you get your GP to do a Health Care Plan for her, Medicare will cover a bracket of therapy sessions for her. You need to get the name of a good psychologist first, I think. Talk to the doctor - see what he/she says. If you currently see a clinic-based doctor, you need to get yourself to a GP who you can see exclusively, not simply seeing whoever happens to be there that day. You need better continuity of care with one doctor, rather than lucky dip. You can still do that in some clinics, but it's harder to maintain.

    Also, keep your own records, write down everything you can think of re her history. The interesting stuff, the worrying stuff, the bits you think a counsellor or doctor would find important.

    Does she go to pre-school? And how is her brother? You can get support funding for her, but a diagnosis would help. It can take some time to get funding applications heard, approved etc, but now is the time, at the beginning of the school year.

    Have a look at the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on, see what you think. Does it ring any bells? Remember, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are often not what you expect. My autistic son, now 14, has always been very socially outgoing. But he had language delay, plus a lot of the other signs. Not all the signs, but enough.

    I don't often come to Early Childhood, my kids are all much older, but I do answer calls for help from fellow Aussies. Because I've definitely been there done that.

    There is a lot to the Aussie system that they don't tell you, the various authorities either assume you already know, or assume someone else has told you.

    If she really is as needy as she sounds, you could be eligible for Carer Payment or Carer Allowance (or whatever they're calling it this week). It's not a lot, but it can help. She would qualify better with a diagnosis, but this, as well as funding support in education setting, is needs-based. A diagnosis makes the need more obvious, but without it they just look at what you have to do for her, how much of your time is taken up with looking after her.

    You would need a pediatrician (or similar specialist) to support your application.

    I'm not sure how good the help is in Rocky, it should be good enough. It's a lovely place, it looked big enough when husband & I were there 25 years ago. However, we had a north Queensland member a few years ago who took her son to Brisbane for a multidisciplinary assessment. She's been out of our loop for a couple of years now, I'm hoping it's because she's doing well.

    You're probably in bed by now, I'll try and check in tomorrow, probably about lunchtime. meanwhile I know husband monitors my posts, if he spots a reply (or urgent scream for help) I know he will ring me from work and tell me to log in!

    Hang in there, it sounds like this is about as bad as she is going to get. Her crisis is now, it should be all on the improve from here, if the recent abuse is her trigger.

  6. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    These ladies are so wise! All I can offer is my support. I'm sorry that things are so tough right now. HOpe things improve soon and that she is feeling more confident and you get a little more peace.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Jemmac, I'm bumping this up so you can see it when you get back online. I'm hoping your absence isn't an indication of problems - I've been watching the news and I know the floods in Rockhampton are a concern. The first peak was less than expected, but the next flow from the floods upstream - I hope they're not causing you too much trouble.

    And still the rain falls!

    It's the last thing a clingy kid needs, is a natural disaster on top of everything else.

  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Jemmac, I agree with the others that you'll want to push for a thorough evaluation to make sure there's not more going on here. Anytime there are two major issues going on--such as anxiety and speech--our radar goes off that there is likely an underlying neurological cause.

    Does she line up toys in lines or formations?
    How does she handle questions--does she echo them back to you instead of answering?

    As for the clingyness, I dealt with this big time also, and you probably aren't going to like what I'm going to suggest. First and foremost, this girl needs to feel totally safe and secure in every way she possibily can before she can take forward steps. I would NOT lock her in her room--that can cause great trauma in an anxious child. I would let her sleep in the place that makes her feel most secure. If that's your room set her up a bed next to yours. Also you need to explore why she wants to sleep with you. I have a easy child daughter who always wanted to sleep with us not because she was anxious but because she's very touchy feely and she slept best with a warm body next to her. (Today she sleeps with 5 pillows and two baby dolls).

    Another way that you can make her feel safe is to use a baby monitor or walkie talkie. Teach her how to call you from another part of the house so she knows you don't disappear into a black hole when you go to another room.