19 answers

When Is It Too Much Affection?

I split up with my boyfriend of 11 years with very good reason. It wasn't a hasty decision and it feels like a divorce but without the attorneys and the paperwork. At the age of 45 he wants to be free without any resposibilities (moved out a year ago), and still have me as his girlfriend with easy access to his son. So at the age of 42, I decided to end my relationship with him and move on with my life. We have an 18 month old son (my miracle baby). I've noticed that I've been showering my son with extra affection because he's all that I have. His father comes often to visit him, and I miss our relationship (I still love him very much). But deep down, I know it will never work. My question to you is - am I smothering the child? I read something once that after you split up with your partner, the tansfer of your emotions to your children may not be healthy for them. And I do want my son to find his independence. When we go out, he seems kind of clingy. Am I making sense? These days, I'm sad, confused and lonely but I'm doing my best at being a single mom. Any advise you can give me will be very helpful.

What can I do next?

More Answers

I suppose your in your position it would be easy to smother you son, but you are the only one that will know that. And all children go through a clingy phase. They call it separation anxiety. Some early on and for a short period. Others will go through it later for longer periods.

AS long as you act like a parent and make sure your son understands boundaries, rules, and there is such a word as no..I wouldn't worry about loving him too much.

But I will tell you that I don't believe a parent really, really loves a child unless they set boundaries, limits, and provide discipline. Being a parent means raising a child to be a well rounded, stable, hardworking, confident, adult. Being a parent means more than just loving your child. If you think about your relationship with your son and you feel you are preparing your son in the best way you know how....then I think you are fine.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi B.,

I am going to agree with a lot of what people are posting and I also think that when you are going through a tough time, you can never hear enough people tell you that you are doing the right thing and you (all) will be better in the long run. The fact that you have the ability to think through your own pain to worry about your son's future development shows me that you are a great Mom and your son is very lucky. He is young enough that the clingy behavior may just be developmental, but he may also be getting emotional cues from you that something is "not right." Just keep encouraging him to have his own time and let him know Mommy will be "right here" or "right back" and follow through with that. Take help and support from those around you. Enjoy your son and all the ways he makes your thankful to be his Mom. You are a very strong person and I commend you for it!

2 moms found this helpful

B. sorry to hear about your situation. I think at your sons age you cannot "love" him too much. Its not possible. He is still so little and during this transition time in both of your lives he probably sould use the extra affection. 18months is about when some children begin to get clingy and have anxiety when mom or dad leaves the child with a sitter so that clingy-ness may just correlate with this time in your life and really have nothing to do with the breakup. Good Luck stay strong. It sounds like you're a good loving mother.

1 mom found this helpful

I am gonna start by saying only you know your child, as long as you are still able to say "NO" to your child when needed you are doing good. The issue of to much happens when parents start letting their child get away with to much. I followed those rules of spoil the child and still be able to say no and my daugther is now turing 8 she is such a wonderful child to be around and is above avreg. in school. You just have to follow your motherly instints and know your child and what you are able to allow and not allow and you will be fine. I am on my forth now and i didnt follow that with my frist when me and his dad split up, and he didnt turn out so well for awhile and i learned from that. Starting with my second that is what i did and things have been just fine. Just never not trust yourself, you are the only one who knows your child and what is best for him, it sounds like you are doing a fine job, and just need to give yourslef a chance to breath....Good job mom........J.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, I read a few of the Mom's posts and I agree with the fact that you can never give too much love and affection!!! Plus at this age you can get away with it, and they will give it back sometimes... Ha!!! But you really need to do something for yourself to make YOU happy. Because if you are not, then the baby will sense that. YOU DESERVE it!!! Someone made great suggestions..a Mom's group, or make up your own bunco night once a month, and take turns hosting, or whatever. The BEST of luck to you! You are a GREAT Mom!

1 mom found this helpful

Hey B,

I am impressed with your insight and willingness to look at your own behavior. I would recommend finding other ways to get your emotional needs met. I know that it can be hard to set up a support system when there is so much going on but I think it would be worth it. Maybe getting involved in a church, a mom's group, see a therapist, a single mom's group, volunteer somewhere.... places where you can get those needs met outside of your son. He is lucky to have you for a mom because I can tell that you think of his needs before your own because you even are raising this question. Your needs need to be met, too so see what other sources you can find. Being a single mom can be a lonely road without others around who can be there for you. Take care and I wish you the best.

K

1 mom found this helpful

Pat yourself on the back for being a great mommy. Time heals all wounds. If getting that extra hug or 2 makes you feel better by all means do it . Just don't let your ex in and out of your life, it can happen very easily if you say you still love him .. Be strong and keep your head up. You sould like a good person who deserves the whole package. Good Luck ps clingy + mommy = love

1 mom found this helpful

I think you can never give a child too much love and affection. I think the difference is when you don't want them to leave your side, or they don't want to leave your side. Then it's not affection but clinging, like you said. I don't think that comes from too much love and affection but doing things for the child and also making him or her afraid of what's out in the world.

I don't think you're doing anything wrong by giving him extra snuggles, just so long as you keep his routine in. When it's time for bed, he goes to sleep in his own bed, etc.

And remember when he gets older you are his MOM, not his friend. I've seen that mistake when the child is "all you have" and it does mess up the child.

Good luck! And you made a good decision and I commend you for it.

1 mom found this helpful

No, it doesn't sound like a problem to me.

I think what people warn about is inappropriate sharing with older kids, like when people have their child become their "best friend" and confidant because they're lonely, or sleep with older children so the bed isn't empty. Boundaries (child/adult) are important. But I believe in all the hugs and affection in the world!

1 mom found this helpful

B.,
Your son is only 1 1/2 years old. No, you can not possibly give him too much effection.
Now, if when he turns 6, you're still smothering him, then there's a problem.
But, you might want to try and talk to a counselor about your saddness, to help you get over this break-up.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would say you are doing fine. He is only 18 months and this is a big change for him. It is great his dad still stays in the picture and it sounds like you still get along-though maybe not as he would like. :) Anyway, as long as you continue to realize that your son does need to develop his independence and you don't encourage him to be clingy, then he should be fine. My neighbor has a cousin who's friend divorced and she totally doted on her kids, but she went overboard and the youngest refuses to leave her side or do anything on his own. She did not encourage him to do things and would not let anyone near him emotionally.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the other moms that no one can have too much affection. Better loved a lot than not at all. They can go to therapy someday if they feel like you are overprotective or something.And I'm not kidding. In this day and age with all the neglect, pat yourself on the back for making the right decision and don't worry about overdoing it on the hugs and love stuff. They eventually go to school, get friends and your acceptance of him at this time will pave the way for his trusting relationships. Do not worry, just enjoy your baby. I'll bet soon enough there will be someone special who would love to share in both your lives.

1 mom found this helpful

It is normal to transfer your emotions onto your son, but you are right that it could affect him. He is also at that age of Seperation Anxiety & it does peak around 18 months. I am concerned about you. I have a few Homeopathic Remedies in mind for you that will help you cope & deal with your emotions so you can move on. This will make you happier & not let you transfer any unhealthy emotional burden onto your son. It might help you to seek out some CranioSacral therapy to help your emotions. Keep in mind that if you do not deal with your emotional heart, it will lead to physical symptoms/ disease. Homeopathy will prevent this from happening. Call my office at ###-###-#### to make an appointment.
Dr.A.

1 mom found this helpful

18 months is typical for a child to have seperation anxiety. And good for you to get on with your life - give yourself time to get over him.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B. -

I really admire your strength to do the right, yet difficult thing. There's a quote from the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs where she says "it's ok to love your dog, just don't LOVE your dog." Look at your affection objectively. If you think you are giving too much, you may be and that's probably because you are lonely. Try reaching out to friends, family, other moms, who can fill your cup. That way, you aren't depending on your son for all of your affection.

Kids can get clingy especially if he doesn't get a lot of socialization. Try library story time, Little Gym etc, or play dates. Best of luck to you as you move through this period. - M.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job taking care of your son and making him feel well loved after this big life change. Some children are clingy at this age, and he may need extra affection during this time. Keep nurturing him as you are, but make a strong effort to take care of YOU. Try to get into some hobbies, clubs, groups, exercise classes, book clubs, etc., anything that you are interested in so you can have some time for you to heal and grow. Your child is your life, and always will be, but make sure you have some time to grow on your own. Your friends and family will be a great place to start, and they will be understanding of your needs and feelings right now, given that you are healing from a painful situation.

1 mom found this helpful

B. K.,

I divorced my husband of nearly 10 years about five years ago. (also for good reason!) I felt so guilty that my two boys' dad wasn't around anymore because of me that I too smothered them with affection. I don't think the affection alone was so bad but I also allowed them too many freedoms. I was lax on their bed times, lax on allowing them to do their chores, being accountable etc. They got away with everything! I was overcompensating I think and it didn't do a thing to help them.

Now, five years later, they are 11 and 7 and they are slobs! They are lazy and expect to have everything handed to them without working for it. I have created total monsters.

The difference: my ex-husband is not around very much while yours is, and your baby is still very young. Too much affection is not bad but we still have to raise responsible and independent children. Somethings they have to learn and earn for themselves. Learn from my mistakes. A. M.

1 mom found this helpful

B.,

I don't think at 18 months old you can smother your son with too much affection.. If he was 13... maybe. Enjoy him, thank God for blessing you with a miracle. May you have MANY sunggling moments.

1 mom found this helpful

I came very close to becoming a single mom last summer, and I feel for you. Just do the best you can!

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