Single mothers have many parenting struggles. A single mom is always worried that the parent’s marital status has a major effect on the kids’ characters. A common single mommy struggle is the over attachment of the child to her, especially if he/she is a single child. To help single moms understand what they should and shouldn’t worry about, we interviewed Certified Positive Discipline Educator, Rana Hany.
“A mother can tell that her children are over-attached to her if they refuse the things all kids love in order to stay with their moms like playdates or entering a playing area without her.,” Hany explained. A clingy child always uses words like “I’m afraid you might leave me.”
The parenting expert noted that the child’s continuous need for physical contact with the mother is not a sign of unhealthy attachment. “Some kids love to hug their moms all the time especially if the father is absent as the mother becomes the safe zone of the child,” Hany further explained. Even the child’s need to share the same bed with his mother is not a sign of attachment and she can make him sleep in a separate room gradually.
Mother’s guilt can leave a child overly attached
A mother might be the reason why her child is clingy. A single mom usually feels guilty towards her child for being deprived of his father, whereas all the kids around her child are experiencing a father figure.
“This forces the mother unintentionally to exaggerate in giving her child attention and care. Her goal becomes pleasing the child and overprotecting him/her from any pain or grief he might feel.” This affects the independence of the child and whenever they have a problem, they easily go to the mom to take over without any willingness from the child’s side to take an action.
How can a mother boost her child’s independence?
“A single mom should deal with her child as a partner in life, not someone who lives under her wings.” She can ask them for help and listen to their opinions. This gives the child self-confidence and prevents them from feeling less than their peers because of the absence of the father figure.
Here are golden rules that can help single mothers:
- Keep a good father-child relationship: As possible as she could, a mother shouldn’t try to distort the father’s image in front of the child. If the father’s presence is out of her hands, the mother could make up for the male figure in the kid’s life with other relatives like his grandfather or uncle.
- Never do something for your child that they can do on their own: Every now and then, a mother can offer help; however, the child has to take responsibilities and chores according to their age. The mother’s role is to coach them to avoid dependency on her on the long run.
- Give them the lead in solving problems: A mother’s initiation to solve any problem her child faces, even a normal conflict with friends at school, lessens self-confidence. Instead, she should better listen to them, validate their feelings, and ask about the action they want to take to teach them how to react to different situations.
- Be firm and kind at the same time: Many mothers believe that being firm and refusing unhealthy attachment might put stress on the child; however, a mom can be strict in applying the rules and considerate with her child’s feelings. She has to talk to them openly and explain every rule she’s applying and how this can benefit them.
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