Parenting is never easy, but parenting a clingy child during this pandemic is the hardest. Governments worldwide have lifted the lockdowns. But parents, particularly of younger kids, prefer to stay under self-imposed home confinement. The decision safeguards our physical health but is taking a toll on the mental state of everyone in the house, including the kids. A clingy child covid has created, can be seen in every house. Most kids haven’t seen their friends from the past few months — and they’re clinging to everyone around to feel secure.
This is Overwhelming for All of Us
The truth be told, we’re all going a bit insane. My daughter and husband are snapping at each other quite often these days. Sometimes it turns into cute banters and other times it gets on my nerves. My daughter is complaining of us not spending enough time with her. And I am complaining of having to spend too much time with the family.
“I can’t take it any longer”. “I am doing it all wrong.” These are the few things a friend of mine said. Her one-year-old has turned into a clingy child and she blames her parenting for it. But the clingy child covid has produced, is a contemporary problem and not a parenting issue.
Why and When a Child Becomes Clingy
Our children are going through a surfeit of emotions in these times of isolation. They are missing their friends, teachers, and school. They are incredibly lonely. Young children, right from their infancy, learn about their surroundings through senses. They can’t use dialogue to understand and express everything. But they can observe the tension in the house. If the parents are undergoing extreme stress, the children can pick it up too.
With all the negativity around and the lack of social interaction, kids are feeling insecure. The parents are their safe-haven. They want to be comforted and look for physical proximity to feel secured. Clinginess is their way to cope up with the uncertainty and changes in life.
Parents Role in Helping a Clingy Child
Loneliness is a highly underrated and misapprehended emotion. The only time people care about someone’s loneliness is when they want him/her to marry, isn’t it? And then you are on your own.
However, we can’t leave our little ones on their own. They need love, care, and compassion. In these unprecedented times parenting a clingy child is a greater challenge as we parents too want some alone time.
However, we can’t leave our little ones on their own. They have to be dealt with love and compassion. In these unprecedented times parenting a clingy child is a greater challenge as each one of us is craving alone time.
We are the only support these young ones have got. They need extra CARE these days: Calmness, Attention, Respect, and Empathy
Whenever we see a child throwing a tantrum or wailing for no reason, our instant reaction is to yell “No! Don’t! Stop!” What an egg and chicken situation. We display our impatience and misbehavior to deal with our kids’ edginess and misconduct. You see the problem there? We are making things worse for us by unintentionally triggering a greater tantrum. The answer to this problem is calmness.
Though it’s easier said than done, this is the only way out for a sane and peaceful life. Instead of bursting out into anger, hold them, and reassure them of your presence. Model calmness yourself; don’t get agitated by all that is happening around in the world. Show confidence and do not follow a negative demeanor in the house.
A – Attention
Children look out to their parents for comfort and safety. They are craving for more attention because you are all they have got presently. You need to be more considerate of their needs.
Suppose you are on an important call and your kid wants to be held up; please don’t ignore her/him. People understand, or if they don’t, your partner does. Ask the other parent to cater to the child’s needs. Try to avoid overlapping calls between you and your partner to prevent any accidents. In case you are the sole caretaker of the child, well then you have to make the OTHERS understand!
The gravest mistake that parents have been making from time immemorial is not respecting their children’s emotions. The notion that “bachcho ki life mast hai, inhe kis baat ki tension” (kids have a good life with no worries and stress) is still prevalent. This simple thought results in us ignoring what are kids are going through.
These are little humans with immature brains. Their feelings need acknowledgment and respect. Tell them it’s okay to feel the way they do and that the entire world is going through a myriad of emotions. At the same time, ensure to teach the little one to manage the feelings better.
They need your empathy and you need theirs. If you are successful in paying attention and respect to their needs and emotions, you are already on the path of empathy. You now understand what they are experiencing. If you can feel that from their point of reference, you indeed are empathizing with them.
But everything can’t be about kids, isn’t it? Parents too are struggling to stay sound. And it’s good to inculcate empathetic values from a young age. So it’s better to tell your kids about the difficulties that you are facing (You very well know where to draw the line). Inform them that you too need some alone time, and while you are always there for them, you don’t appreciate a clingy child 24*7. Also tell them how the shouting, crying and tantrums hurt you. Watch your tone and your words; don’t sound complaining, rather convey the messages in a friendly manner.
Let’s Fight it Together
Remember, this is just a phase, and it will go. A clingy child today does not mean a dependent child for the years to come. These times are hard and sticking together is crucial. And following the CARE method above will help them sail through this period and grow up into mentally strong kids.
I am making the most of this time to emotionally connect with my daughter, and with the inner-self. How are you dealing with the stress these days? What is working best for your family? Do let me know in the comments.