Why are kids clingy?

Happy Wednesday!

FYI: I go in depth on how to handle a clingy child in the free, live case study I am teaching at 2 PM EST today! Details below : )
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Earlier this week I did a Magic Words for Parents video, all about how terrifying it is for children when we do not “see” them.

In other words, when we invalidate their experience. When we tell them “there’s no such thing as ghosts,” or “stop crying, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

Today I want to combine that idea was something parents often confront: clingy kids.

– Kids who only want you, and no one else.
– Kids who cry when you leave daycare.
– Kids who cling to your leg when it’s time for you to say goodbye.
– Kids who insist that you stay with them as they fall asleep at night.

Why are kids clingy?

It’s a developmental thing, first and foremost.
We first see stranger anxiety in kids when they are around the age of learning to crawl/walk. Children’s growing brains do this because, now that they have the capacity to walk away, what’s to stop them from wandering away from the people who care for them?
It’s stranger anxiety that stops them.
Clinginess.

As kids get a bit older, we have the developing brain to thank again for clinginess – as their brains grow, so does their capacity for imagination.
Which brings the idea of monsters, fear of the dark, and other fears into our children’s minds.
(I am doing a live case study on this clingy behavior at 2 PM this afternoon! Click here to watch!)

How does not seeing our kids interact with clingy behavior?

Paradoxically, kids who feel invalidated can become more clingy, not less.

It’s like this:
1. Kiddo’s developing brain says “what’s in that closet? Maybe it’s a monster!”
2. Kiddo shows hesitation to enter bedroom.
3. Parent says “what’s the matter? There’s nothing to be afraid of here, it’s your room!”
4. Parent pulls kiddo into room.
5. Kiddo feels safe… As long as parent is in room.

That’s definitely one way to handle it – and (as I say a lot : ) it’s how I have previously handled it, until I learned the better way I outline below.

In the long run doing the above promotes clingy behavior.
In that scenario above, the child only feels safe when they are with us.

What if it went like this?
1. Kiddo’s developing brain says “what’s in that closet? It could be monsters!” They hesitate to enter their room.
2. Parent notices hesitation and says “you okay?”
3. Kiddo feels safe in saying “no, what about monsters?”
4. Parent says (something like) “oh, you’re worrying that maybe there are monsters in your room? You’re feeling afraid?” (Helping child express feelings with words.)
5. Kiddo nods and/or says “yes, I am afraid.”
6. Parent says “I remember feeling like that too. I will help you feel safe.”
“Let’s get you a flashlight/some zombie spray [which is what worked in our home] so you can be sure there are no monsters whenever you come into your room!”
7. Kiddo feels empowered to take on their fears.

When a parent handles this in this way, the child feels validated.
They also feel that they have tools to deal with their own fears.

So over time we see less clingy behavior – and most importantly, the child learns to confront fears on their own.

Come to the free, live case study I’m doing this afternoon!

Handle Your Clingy Child Case Study: LIVE today!

You’ll learn three ways to handle your child’s clingy behavior, so you can spend less of family time feeling like you have a kid attached to your leg, and more family time enjoying yourself and your kids!

I’m going live this afternoon, teaching three ways to handle a clingy child in today’s case study, which you can see live by clicking here at 2 PM EST today.

Got a question about your clingy child?
If you’ve got a question, hit reply to this email before 2 PM EST today and I will answer your question in the live case study!

Also: An amazing Leap Your deal to solve your toughest parenting conundrums in the Ninja Parenting Community!

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I don’t know why, I guess it’s just the rarity of it. An extra day every four years, it’s just kind of fun you know?

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Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/in the Magic Words for Parents/in NPC…

Thanks for reading!

Wishing you a wonderful parenting week,
Cheers!
Karen

What’s up on the podcast this week:
Parenting News Roundup! (And an update on the emergency surgery our teenager underwent last week):
https://weturnedoutokay.com/319

This week’s Magic Words for Parents:
How to terrify your child.

What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community:
An entire course on how to handle a clingy child… Which I created in response to members’ questions!
https://weturnedoutokay.com/forums/forum/training-courses/what-to-do-with-a-clingy-kid/

PS – 50% off the annual Ninja Parenting Community rate

NPC member BabyBrain worried about her daughter’s fear of being alone in any room in their new house – so, she asked for help.
And I created an entire course on handling your child’s clingy behavior.
This course is a drop in the bucket of all the resources available for you there, to help you enjoy family time more.

This Leap Year, take the leap – 50% off Annual NPC membership

Jump into the Ninja Parenting Community and start enjoying family life for real!
Click here for details, and to join at this amazing rate!

PPS – If you’re enjoying this Weekly Parenting Newsletter, click here so you can sign up to receive it in your inbox, or forward it to a friend who needs a parenting boost today.