Clinginess is a normal phase every child goes through. They usually show some kind of clinginess when they are toddler. This is understandable since younger children need extra attention and have the need to bond with their parents. However, this becomes a problem when they still have these traits when they are getting older.
Normally, children will let go of their clingy traits once they are around 7 when they start to get into primary school and start to develop connections with people other than their parents such as teachers and friends. However, every child is different and some children just aren’t ready to let go of their close bond with their parents.
Here’s some possible reasons as to why is my son so clingy and steps you can take to deal with it.
1. Physical Touch is Their Love Language
If your son is so clingy, there’s a possibility that it is just their love language. Everyone has different ways to express themselves and express their love. Among different love languages, physical touch is one of them. Children who have this love language may want to express their love through physical interaction making it look like an act of clinginess. You can talk to them nicely, expressing that you understand their love language and appreciate their way of expressing love. However, they also need to understand that they cannot do it all the time. Make sure you give them enough physical interaction such as hugs so they know that you love them.
2. Difficulties to Adapt with New Situations
You may notice if your son develops a clingy behavior when major changes happen in their life. Life changes such as moving to a new place can be something strange for children and they may experience some kind of fear to face it. This is why they get more clingy during these times. You can support them and give them the attention they need until they get used to the new situation.
3. Having Fears
Clinginess can also appear due to unsaid fears. Children may experience things that make them feel scared. Whether it is of strangers, entering new life stages, or having to perform in front of the public for the first time. You can take better attention to what happens around the time your son develops clinginess and examine the cause. Then you can take the necessary step to help your son understand that there is nothing to be afraid of.
4. Unpredictable Parents Schedule
Busy parents with unpredictable schedules can feel like a treat for children. They never know when their parents will leave them. To compensate for that, they will be more clingy when their parents are around because they want to make the most of it. They may also become even clingier when you tell them that you are about to leave. Especially if you often have long business trips. You can give them explanations as to why you have to leave. And don’t forget to give them a call when you’re away.
5. They Feel Bored
Clinginess can also be caused by boredom. Children may feel lonely to play all by themselves and they want company. As people who are closest to them, they may reach out to you first. You can overcome this by planning some kind of play date so they can play with their peers.
6. Having a Separation Anxiety Disorder
Clinginess can also indicate something more serious such as separation anxiety disorder. To get the diagnosis right, your son needs help from professionals to get an appropriate assessment. And if the assessment results indicate that your children have separation anxiety traits, you can discuss with the professionals to get advice for the right steps to take to help them.
7. Traumatic Events
Clinginess can also be an outcome of some traumatic events such as bad encounters with adults or the death of loved ones. This can be hard for everyone, even us as adults. This doesn’t have to be the loss of a family member. It can also be the death of a family pet, especially if your son has a special bond with them. To overcome this situation, you need to give your son some time to grieve. Give your support to go through these hard times and when they feel better, you’ll notice that they don’t get so clingy anymore.
8. They Lose Something They Love
Parallel to the previous point, losing things they love can also be hard. We are all familiar with children having strong attachment to things such as dolls or blankets. Sometimes, parents need to take the necessary action to get rid of those things due to some health reasons. And this can be hard for children because those things were part of their lives. You can give them explanations as to why they have to say goodbye to their favorite things so they can get familiar with healthy separations.
9. Parents Going Through a Divorce
Divorce is a hard process for everyone, especially children. It may be hard for them to understand the concept of their parents not being together. The stress experienced by the parents may also create some tension in the households making children feel uncomfortable. And because they may know that their parents will be separated, they feel the need to get closer and therefore, appear more clingy. This is when you need to take a breather and calm yourself first before reaching out to your son and explain why this separation is the best way to take.
10. Stepping Into New Milestone
Going to school for the first time, for example, is a huge challenge for kids. It is a new world they aren’t familiar with. It can make them feel anxious and therefore needing extra support that appears as clinginess. You can give them the support they need while also explaining that everything will be okay. Tell your son that they will meet with exciting friends as well as kind teachers at school and after a couple of days, hopefully they will already adapt with the new situation and be more confident and independent.
11. They Feel Things Deeply
Some children are naturally more sensitive than the others. For them, even minor changes can make them feel uncomfortable and cranky. For earlier stages of their life, you can provide them with extra support they need. However, it can be unhealthy if your son develops this behavior excessively. Therefore, you need to also give them the understanding that it is okay to feel, but not to overthink. You can also tell them to communicate their feelings so you can see things from their point of view.
12. Pick Up Challenges the Parents are Facing
Sometimes, clinginess can be an outcome of an empathy. When parents go through hard times whether it is in a relationship or financially, children can see and feel the stress too. They may become clingier not because they need extra attention, but instead, they know you need extra attention and support from them. Let them be the support you need as a way to appreciate their sympathy.
13. Lack of Parents-Children Quality Time
Living in this modern era requires some kind of sacrifice. And sadly, sometimes parents have to give up family time to keep up with the busy working hours. This can make children feel lonely and not getting the attention they need. This can result in them being more clingy towards parents. There is no better way to deal with this other than making time for them. No matter how busy you are, make time to play, go for walks together, or simply read them bedtime stories.
14. Being Sick
You may notice children being a little more clingy when they are feeling unwell. If you found your son being so clingy, you can ask them if there is something wrong or what makes them feel uncomfortable. Sometimes children do not always know how to explain the discomfort they feel and for that, you need to take the necessary steps to take them to see the doctor to get a proper examination.
15. They Need Your Attention
In majority of the cases, clingy behavior often means a cry for attention. This doesn’t always mean that you are not giving them enough attention. Some children has the tendency of needing more attention than others. Despite giving them the extra attention they need, you might as well teach them that not everything in this world is about themselves and they don’t always have to be the center of the universe.
16. Going Through a Physical Change
Just like social changes, physical changes can also feel uncomfortable. For younger children, this can be something like a new tooth, and for older children it cann be some changes they notice and makes them feel unconfident such as pimples. You can explain to them that changes are normal and by the end of the day, they will be okay.
17. They are Tired
If you keep asking yourself why is my son so clingy, the answer can be as simple as them being tired. Children have lots of activities that can drain their energies too. And some people need to recharge their energy by getting close to other people such as their parents. Therefore, they may become a little bit more clingy than usual. You can ask them what makes them feel tired and if there is a way you can help them.
18. They Feel Stressed
With all of the things going on in their life, children are prone to stress. And if they can’t communicate it clearly, it may result in clingy behavior. To help them cope with it, you can ask them what stresses them out and what you can do to help. Encourage them to talk about their feelings so they can learn to reduce their stress by sharing.
19. They Need Your Support
There are also times when children feel vulnerable and need extra support. This may happen during some kind of changes or when they have to face new challenges. This is very normal and you can be sure that it is just temporary. Be their number one supporter. Let them know that you are always there for them and they will know that they are fully supported and don’t have to worry.
20. They Feel Lonely
Clinginess can also be a sign of loneliness. This happens a lot to an only child. Especially if their school friends don’t live in the same area. Besides arranging playdates, you can also sign them up to some activities such as music or art classes so they can use their spare time being busy doing positive activities and gaining new friends along the way.
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How do I Stop My Son from Being so Clingy?
You can stop your child being so clingy by examining the causes first. By understanding the root problem, you will be able to take the necessary steps to solve it. Every cause has a different way to solve it. Keep in mind that every child is different so even the same treatment may result differently.
Can a Child be too Attached to Their Mother?
Yes, they can. Especially if they weren’t being introduced to healthy separation from a very young age. It can also be because they have a negative view of separation, for example being lied to and their parents leaving without telling them. It can develop trust issues and makes them even more attached because they don’t want to lose you. This can lead into something more serious and unhealthy if you don’t take the necessary steps.
What Causes Clingy Behavior?
There are so many answers to the question why I am so clingy and we already listed some of the possible reasons in this article. You can examine by taking a closer look at their behavior as well as corresponding events around it. If you are not sure as to what causes clingy behavior on your child, you might as well consult a professional for help.
Why Does My Child Only Want Mommy?
Maybe your child always wants mommy and refuses to be taken care of by anybody else because they feel such a strong bond with their mom. Having introduced interpersonal connections with others are crucial during their young ages. When they are not used to being with people other than their mom, they may feel mistrust others and only trust their mom. This behavior can be reduced by slowly introducing them to other caretakers.