I am stumped. I need help, but I need specific help.
The boy, 4 ½, is very, very attached to me. Very. Now, I am not talking about the difficulty he had while I was gone for a week. I think that is quite reasonable. I’m talking about the way he freaks out about me going anywhere without him and him going anywhere without me. Anywhere. Or almost.
Today this problem smacked me in the face again. TheQueenofHearts invited him to go to McDonald’s for lunch, just the two of them, because with her job and the theater they don’t see each other very often anymore. Since McDonald’s is (apparently) the BEST place on earth, he was quite agreeable. She even told him they would play on the little playground there, even though it is hot and very humid today. He was excited to go. We loaded up in the truck and I drove them over there. TheQoH got him out and headed toward the door and he completely lost it when he realized that I was not coming. LOST IT.
I parked, went to talk to him and in the end, we came home. He wanted me to stay, but I refused.
I don’t know how to encourage him to be away from me. I am always honest with him (I never leave without telling him or telling him how long I’ll be gone.) He won’t even go to get some candy with Chief! If I’m not going too, he doesn’t go!
I am looking for your ideas to help him with this… ideas to encourage him to willingly be apart from me for short periods of time without any fuss (I do go to the store occasionally without him, but it requires a lot of fuss and a lot of objection on his part. He does do better if he’s the one staying home rather than the one going somewhere, though.) I know that I could just force him, but that doesn’t work for me. I’ve not done my mothering that way yet and I don’t plan to start now. I don’t want to ignore how he feels (even though I don’t understand it!) but rather I want to find ways to encourage him to grow out of it. I don’t mind being patient with him and helping him be more confident or whatever it is that he needs and I don’t mind bringing him to most places I go. However, sometimes I really just want to run to the grocery store alone and sometimes other people who love him (particularly family!) want to do things with him ~ and I think it is time to start moving in that direction.
I don’t know… maybe it’s just residual consequences from my trip to see Garinion. Maybe he just needs more time. OR maybe it’s starting to become a problem.
If you have tips on how to help a little guy be more comfortable being left with people who love him, (other than his mother) that do not include a “tough” approach (forcing him when he’s melting down, etc.) I would appreciate it.
And here I thought after being in this business for 25 years I’d “mastered” it all. Silly me.