Why is my son so clingy? That question will pop up from moms who are generally so done and don’t know what to do with their kids. Clinginess is a normal phase every child goes through. They usually show some kind of clinginess when they are toddlers.
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 are some possible reasons why my son is 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 in Adapting to New Situations
You may notice if your son develops clingy behavior when major changes happen in their life. Life changes such as moving to a new place can be something strange for children.
For that reason, they may experience some kind of fear facing 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.
Nonetheless, if they fail to engage in new environments, like talking or playing with their peers or even their parents, you must be cautious. It may be a sign of sensory processing disorder, which may lead to cognitive or developmental delays.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
When it comes to sensory processing issues, experts cannot find the root of this disorder yet. According to a medical article, this is a neurological problem when the brain is unable to take and process information that comes in through the senses.
Children who are prone to this condition usually experience premature birth, are born with low weight, mom is stressed while bearing the child, and drugs and alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
Some of the common symptoms of sensory processing disorder are:
- They are clumsy and easily bump into things
- Difficult in connecting with people they talk or play with
- Sensitive to textures and/or lights
- Have a lack of control over their emotions
- Hard to focus on things
- They generally don’t like physical touches
3. Having Fears
Clinginess can also appear due to unsaid fears. Children may experience things that make them feel scared. Whether it is strangers, entering new life stages, or having to perform in front of the public for the first time.
You can pay 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 playing 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.
What fun activities to do with your kids?
We understand that kids love to play around with their friends. However, you can always be their company when they want to stay at home. In fact, engaging in convo and playing with your children can strengthen the parent-child bond. Here are some activities you can have with your sons to spend a weekend:
- If your son is a curious kid, you can prepare a science experiment to satisfy his curiosity.
- Create a DIY project, for instance, painting the pots for your garden.
- Play with LEGO! It helps hone your kid’s creativity, trains his hand-eye coordination, and focus.
- Set up a backyard treasure hunt! You can spread chocolates or other things they love to find.
- Painting can be a fun way to release stress. Ask your kids to participate by preparing various colors and a broad paper to splash shades on it.
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 on the right steps to take to help them.
What causes separation anxiety?
Environmental factors and genetics play big roles in developing separation anxiety disorder (SAD), especially in kids. As for the environmental aspect, it can be triggered by fear of abandonment because of the trauma they experience. Or perhaps, their parents apply overprotective parenting that may cause the kids to lack independence in doing things.
They can also notice parental behavior, such as when the mom feels anxious. In addition, imbalanced chemicals in their brains, specifically norepinephrine and serotonin, mostly lead to this issue.
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. They can be temperament as they can have what they cherish the most.
We are all familiar with children having a 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, show comfort-seeking behavior. This is when you need to take a breather and calm yourself first before reaching out to your son and explaining why this separation is the best way to take it.
At this hard time, the need for reassurance is rather high. You can assure him that everything will be okay despite the fact the parents are no longer together.
10. Stepping Into New Milestones
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 develop insecurity as it is the first time they are introduced to peer relationships and socialization.
Therefore, they need extra support, which 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 to the new situation and be more confident and independent.
11. They Feel Things Deeply
It’s normal that some children naturally have different personality traits than others, for example, being more sensitive. For them, even minor changes can make them feel uncomfortable and cranky.
For earlier stages of their life, you can provide them with the extra support they need. However, it can be unhealthy if your son develops this behavior excessively.
Therefore, you need also to 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 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. 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 get the attention they need. This can result in them being more clingy toward their 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 bedtime stories.
14. Being Sick
You may notice children being a little more clingy when they are feeling unwell. If you find 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 the majority of cases, clingy behavior often means a cry for attention. This doesn’t always mean that you are not giving them enough attention. Some children have the tendency to need 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 that 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 developmental stage can be something like a new tooth, and for older children, it can be some changes they notice that make them feel unconfident such as pimples. You can explain to them that changes are normal and that by the end of the day, they will be okay.
17. They are Tired
If you keep asking yourself why my son is 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 teach them about emotional regulation.
It will help them deal with the overwhelming feeling they even can’t even tell the root. 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 for some activities, such as music or art classes. Thus, they can use their spare time to be 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 from 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 of solving 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. This parent-child attachment 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 to 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 of why I am so clingy, and we have 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 what causes clingy behavior in 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 mistrustful of others and only trust their mom. This behavior can be reduced by slowly introducing them to other caretakers.
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