Attachment anxiety in toddlers is normal, but it isn’t always easy to deal with as a parent. As a child, I was clingy with my mom and now, I suppose, that trait has been passed down to my daughter. It’s not like we’ve got a family secret recipe on, “How to make your baby clingy.”First of all, I didn’t think I could ever be a mom. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t think my body was capable of producing a human. In my 20s I had severe cervical dysplasia, which is basically cancer cells, and had to have an emergency cone biopsy. On top of this, I find out that I have a tilted uterus, which also makes it harder to conceive. So, my daughter is a surprising miracle because we didn’t plan it. Nor, did we think a one night “oops” would result in having our miracle child. But, guess what? It did!
Attachment Anxiety: Babies, Toddlers, or Children
Attachment anxiety happens to babies and toddlers that are very close to a chosen parent. Usually, it is the caregiver or parent that is watching the child the most. This means, most attachment anxiety situations are between the child and their mother. Not to say that a stay-at-home dad isn’t someone who is dealing with a child suffering from attachment anxiety.
Attachment anxiety happens to anyone and to any child. It’s a beautiful sign that tells you that your child has an extreme bond with you. But, it also means that you need to demonstrate a bit of tough love. If you want your child to function with other adults and become independent, tough love is the key. My toddler is 20 months old and now has begun to hit my husband’s face when he tries to put her to bed. That’s not cool. Hitting Daddy isn’t good. I didn’t teach her that, our daughter simply has a super strong bond with mommy and gets mad when she can’t be with me. Our little girl has attachment anxiety issues. Sometimes she wants mommy and no one else.
Attachment Anxiety: Clingy Toddlers Need Tough Love
This is why it’s so important to break away from your clingy toddler or child and let loved ones watch him/her. It’s important for you to take a break. Plus, it’s also important for the child to learn how to adjust without you. Attachment anxiety is not fun; it means that you’re super attached to your child and vice versa. This isn’t a bad thing, except understand that healthy boundaries are teachable and important. Let your child “cry it out” in the beginning and then adjust to new people. Ariabella may cry at first, but then she adjusts.
I’m sure your child may have issues at first, but it’s necessary for you to take a break. You, the parent who the child is attached to needs space every now and then. Seriously. For your sanity as a mom or a dad, please let someone else watch your child once in a while. Your child also needs to experience new people. I’m not saying thrust your child into strangers’ arms. You know what I mean. Married couples: Date nights, Single parents: Date nights/Hang out with friend nights…whatever the case.
Attachment Anxiety: You’re Not A Good or Bad Parent
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. But, we can strive towards perfection. We can strive towards at the very least, ensuring we are sane at the end of the day. This sometimes means that if you have a child with attachment anxiety, you use a little tough love, let them cry if they have to and they will. Get them used to being watched by someone other than yourself.
Attachment anxiety is something I suffered through when I was a toddler. Now I have a toddler that has attachment anxiety, also. I didn’t plan it this way, my little girl and I are just super close. We’ve got a strong bond. Maybe you have a strong bond with your awesome little prince or princess, and that’s okay. Just, make sure you understand that at some point, you’re going to need to break the attachment anxiety by letting them cry, giving them to the babysitter or relative. You need to be able to go out and enjoy life, too.
Every parent is a better one when they also take care of themselves.