8 answers

My Daughter- "Clingy" or "Attached"?

My daughter is 2 years 9 months old and I am pregnant with our second child, due just around my daughter's 3rd birthday. In the last month, my little girl has been extremely clingy (my interpretation) and needing me to be physically present almost all the time. She has also been rejecting her Daddy for no reason we can discern. Her rejection hurts his feelings and though he's super patient most of the time, sometimes he really feels shut out. Frankly, I'd much rather be sharing the burden.
Her neediness has also been an issue in a class for preschoolers she takes once a week at a local gym. She's quite strong, coordinated and able, but often hesitates and won't play on the course the way the other children do and stays on the side clinging to me. I try to give her tons and tons of praise when she does play and jump around (and she's really good!) but some days are a misery for us both. Her teacher and classmates are all really terrific so I don't think she's feeling pressure from them.
I'm pretty frustrated and of course am anticipating really hard times when the baby arrives. The fact that she will be a big sister "in a little while" is no secret to her, though she doesn't seem actively interested in it most of the time.

Any thoughts? Is this a phase? Just her nature? I'm willing to examine my own behavior here and take responsibility, but I just don't understand whats happening.
Thanks, everyone.

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My son (2) did was clingly when I was pregnant and then did a complete reversal when my daughter was born and latched onto my husband. He was angry with me and only wanted his dad for about a month. It is a huge deal to get a sibling when all the attention, love, praise was just yours your whole life. You are giving them the best gift ever though, even when it doesn't always feel that way. Good luck!

If it makes you feel any better my daughter did the exact same thing (I'm due in Oct and she'll be 3.5 when the baby is born). She did snap out of it, but it lasted a couple of months if I remember correctly. It was stressful and I missed my happy girl but it did absolutely turn around. Reflecting back on that time I honestly think some of my behavior attributed to it. I wasn't feeling like myself, didn't really have the energy to play with her the way I did before and so my behavior was a marked transition for her. My husband was totally the punching bag for her too which just added to the stress of the situation. Now, later in the pregnancy as the adjustment has passed (we'll see what happens when the baby's born) she has a whole new relationship with Daddy and he is on the minute he gets home to bedtime. Just give it time, all things are temporary with kids!

Since you can't change her feelings, you might as well focus on your own feelings. Make sure that you are projecting confidence in her and in yourself to make this big transition! And congratulations!

My son was 29 months when my daughter was born and he did the exact same thing during the last 2 months of my pregnancy. Daddy couldn't even be in the room when I read stories at bedtime without him freaking out. I think they sense that things are going to change, but they aren't really sure what that means to them. Becoming clingy and demanding is their way of controlling the situation. After baby was born he was still very difficult (and a little angry) for about 3-4 weeks, then accepting the new reality and was so much more independent. It is really exhausting having a clingy child at the end of your pregnancy, but just try to humor her the best you can and now she is just trying to figure out how her life is going to change. It was a welcome relief about 3 months after his sister was born when he chose to favor daddy for about a month. I got a nice break and some great bonding time with baby, and Daddy and son got to make up for some of the time they missed out on when he was being so difficult. Good luck.

I don't have any advice either, but my son is going through the same thing right now. #2 is due 2 weeks after his 3rd birthday, and while he's really interested in the baby and seems excited about becoming a big brother, he's back to being "clingy" when he seemed to venture out on his own a little more. I just attributed it to his sensing a big change was coming. I try to involve him in a lot of pregnancy info and pictures (he loves to look at sonogram pictures online), and my husband & I (and our families) have tried to be very open with him about what's happening. Part of me understands that he really has no clue about how things are going to change or what it really means that "Mommy's having a baby," but he was REALLY excited when he finally got to see "Baby Sister" move in my belly this morning! He kept asking me to do it again! haha

I think it's just a phase, and I hope her daddy doesn't take it personally :( Congratulations and good luck!! :)

A.,
My first daughter acted this way too around the same time during my pregnancy. In my experience it was a phase. I think she really sensed that something was changing and going to happen. I was worried that she would be mean and not care about her new baby sister. The tantrums got worse and lasted a few months. Once "her" baby came along she turned around and in to the BEST big sister and helper ever. I couldn't believe this was the same kid. She really shoced me.

So I have no real advice, but I know that it will get better with time. It is a big change for everyone in the family including her.

Best of luck,
C.
Helping moms work from home
www.AtHome4MyGirls.com

It is only natural that she might be feeling some anxiety with the new baby coming. Try not to get impatient with her and give her lots of hugs. She is also old enough to understand about not hurting her father's feelings. With girls you probably don't want overemphasize responsibility for others emotions, but still letting her know that she is hurting daddy's feelings is a good idea.

The more affectionate and reassuring you are to her, the less anxious she will be about sharing her mommy.

Hello A.,

My daughter is turning 3 in November (a fact that she reminds me of daily ... smile). She too is very very clingy to me right now and is very detatched with her father too. She will actaully tell him to "go away" when he tries to interact with her when she's with me. She would even rather stay home with me than go to the park with her Daddy ... (strange) I think it's a stage of their age and we just need to give them as much time, praise, attention as we can ... without us going insane. It is perfectly ok to need a break from her too. If you find youself needing a break away from her I would tell her that you need to go do ... (whatever) and that she is staying with her Daddy and they are going to have fun doing (talk with your husband about doing something she really likes). Even when she whines, cries, and hangs on to you... make sure that you go. She will have a good time with her Daddy, you get that time to yourself and she learns that sometimes we don't get what we want. (smile... the hard lesson of life).

Feel free to message me if you want some support. I am frustrated as well at times with this... but then there are times like when we cuddle up together to watch a movie or something and things just seem right. Hold on to these moments because I am thinking... they won't last that long.

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