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3 year old son EXTREMELY jealous and clingy
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3 year old son EXTREMELY jealous and clingy

My three year old son displays some very jealous characteristics.  He is fine at sharing with other children and playing with other children.  But his jealousy problem lies with me.  He will throw fits if I am trying to do school work/ house work. Or if i get a phone call.  I give him plenty of attention, but he wants every second of my day to be put on him.  I don't understand. It has gotten to the point that if I go use the bathroom I have to lock the door, because he is beating on the door within two seconds.  Also, he does not like anyone else paying attention to me (i.e. my ex- husband who is also his father, or my boyfriend who i have been dating for quite  a while)...he will hit, bite, and scream if i have a conversation with either of them.  I don't mean to sound so irrational, but this stuff is really happening. And i don't know what to do.  
The jealousy coincides with the clingyness.  He has to be under me all of the time...he doesn't want to play by himself. He always wants to sleep in my bed, and when i sit on the couch he thinks he has to sit on top of my lap rather than next to me.  
Please help. Because it is really taking a toll on my nerves.  I love my son, and I want this problem to stop before it becomes a BIGGER problem.
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19 Comments Post a Comment
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13167_tn?1327197724
What percentage of your day (in hours,  minutes,  whatever) do you spend sitting with just him - coloring,  or playing games,  or playing playdough or pushing him in a swing,  just the two of you,  doing nothing else except paying attention just to him?

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Avatar_f_tn
I work from 5 am to 3pm....when I pick him up from daycare at 3:30 we will usually go to the park (if the weather permits), or go get something to eat together.  Then we go home (usually there by 4:45) and we will get his coloring books out (he likes to draw alot) and I color half the picture, he colors the other half. I like to read to him a lot (dr seuss is his favorite books). And sometimes we will watch a movie together.  I make time for my school work at about 6:30 (when I have something due which isn't everyday.  I am done with that at about 7:30. But i only do that three days a week.  
I try to put in atleast five-six hours a day of mommy/son time.  But we are both in bed by 8:30/9:00 every night.
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Avatar_f_tn
he is fine when it is just me and him....
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13167_tn?1327197724
It's hard to say.  I guess Idunno either!!  

Some kids are really clingy and dependent and possessive,  and some kids aren't.

I think you need to rethink your timeline.  I don't think it's posssible that you spend every single minute (actually 1/2 hour more than every single minute) attending exclusively to him from the time you pick him up at 3:30 to the time you go to bed.  

When do you do the housework,  the boyfriend time,  the phone time,  the exhusband time,  etc.,  that he objects so strongly  to?    

The thing is,  no child needs 5 1/2 hours of exclusive attention during the day.  They do need to know that when they come running up to you with a need,  you're there to do it right then,  and they need some amount of exclusive one on one time.  Nothing near 5 1/2 hours,  though.

I would guess you either
1.  have a child who has very excessive need to control his environment OR
2.  you're not really thinking through how much devoted,  loving attention you give him that isn't distracted by other things - even by emotional energy

Sorry,  I dunno.  I think it's one of those two things.  

Prayers and best wishes you can somehow work this out - this can't be fun for either of you.



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173939_tn?1333221450
Already having a teenager in the house gives a whole new perspective, Anxiousmomtobe. In that sense I wanted to add, Idunno, that whenever I am starting to get antsy about not getting my work done, I step back, focus on the bare necessities and remind myself that in 2 or 3 years my son might not even want to be seen with me anymore. It is such a short phase in relation. I tackle the overtime I have to put in for my job some time between midnight and morning while he is asleep.
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164559_tn?1233711618
Typical three year old stuff.  He will most likely outgrow this stage and go on to something equally annoying and worrisome.

He obviously doesn't want to share you.  I would make sure to spend one on one time, but don't let him call the shots.  If you need to do schoolwork, expect him to entertain himself.  He should be able to do that.

I have a three year old.  He was a huge surprise, I started my own company and six weeks later found out he was on the way.  (Too much celebrating with my hubby).  I now have my office at home.  He goes to daycare part time but is also in the house with me while I am working.  He has learned to not interrupt when I am on the phone.  I often have to do paperwork late at night, but I must take client calls as they come.  If I am pushed I set the timer and tell him that when the timer goes off he and I will do something special together.  Thank goodness he still naps that is when I power work.

Anyhow, he will grow up soon enough, I have a 15.5 year old daughter who basically lives for her friends.  She does family time only because I require it.  And not too long ago she was my little shadow always underfoot.

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173939_tn?1333221450
Right on, RockRose. I am sure either 1. or 2. is the cause.
Idunno, my 4-year-old son displays the same behaviour even though he seems like a very independant character otherwise. I play with him between 6 an 9 p.m. each day and did a test: it does not make any difference whether I play a few hours more or less with him, he follows me like a shadow. He does get 100% of my undivided attention. I had been told he might realize he has only me as I am raising him on my own but I doubt that could be the cause. Rather, he has been an incredible control "freak" since toddlerhood and although he is kind and knows how to share, at daycare and on playgrounds he always has a group of "fans" following his command. I may have contributed by giving him too much attention...but a huge part may truly be genetics. He is like a little version of my dad who also only felt secure if he could run the show. If you need a short-term solution, it helps a lot to arrange play dates. I get a lot more done on the side if my son plays with a neighbor. Good luck. I know it can get very exhausting despite all the love.
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13167_tn?1327197724
I have to agree with Anxious and Trial - many children do outgrow this.  Again,  it's hard to see a picture of what's going on with just a brief description on a bulletin board,  but your situation sounds extreme.  I too have teenagers,  and have watched a generation of children grow up with them (from the neighborhood,  preschool,  mothers-day-out),  etc.,  and now they're graduating high school.  A lot of children who are whiney and needy and demanding grow into really wonderful teenagers.

Your description of your son sounds  a lot like one of my best friend's boys,  who is now a senior in high school.  He was extremely possessive of his mother,  extremely demanding that she pay attention to only him.  He also (is this coincidence?) had a "fan club" at preschool,  and later in middle school,  he actually had girls who wore shirts saying they were his fan club.  Wow.  He is very athletic,  can do anything physical very well,  he's a beautiful child.  He has OCD and BiPolar.  

I only bring up this story because your story doesn't sound like the average demanding three year old,  it sounds like you're really describing a child who is outside the bounds of typical.  If you continue to see him becoming more and more demanding,  having him evaluated would be a good thing.

On a lighter note,  if you're just tired and he's whiney,  that's pretty normal.

Best wishes -
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173939_tn?1333221450
Haha, fan club shirts...thanks for that story. I guess the best is still to come...I had my first suspicion when we went to the zoo for the first time and found my 18 month old ignoring the animals but flirting with all the girls that could make sense of his toddler language. For now I am taking it with humour but OCD will likely be what makes him spin that way.
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173939_tn?1333221450
Thanks, RockRose, it might actually be that simple...yes, his report cards always point out what a happy and bright little boy he is. Well, I just wish the same to Idunno. Best wishes to both of you.
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13167_tn?1327197724
Trial - it sounds like your son is very,  very social.  Flirting with all the giris is maybe a good thing.  ;D

You'll have to wait and see.  The child I am describing wasn't happy - your son sounds like a very happy little  soul.  

Best wishes -
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61536_tn?1340701763
It sounds like he is afraid of losing you.  When did it start?  If he lives with you (since your divorce) he may feel as if he "lost" his dad and is now terrified of losing you.  I think the best thing to do, if you're already spending a lot of time together, is schedule some time apart.  At first, just very short bits of time.  Run to the store for milk, then come right back.  Make each trip a little longer (not frequent, twice a week is fine, slowly).  This way he learns that you always come back, and it isn't his clinging for dear life that keeps you with him.  Verbal reassurance that you will always be there for him is also good.

Now I don't know you or the entire situation, so I'm only going based off of impressions.  I hope that helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
Kids are naturally jealous, it has to be "worked" out of them. My 17 month old is the same, doesn't like anyone else but me, however, shes getting older and can understand more and talk alittle so she has started to be alittle more independant. I pregnant and due in 3 months, I hope she gets over it soon, cause shell cry if Im around and not holding/playing with her. Gosh forbid my husband try to put her to sleep or hug me though..haHa she throws a huge tantrum..Anyways, my son was 3 when I divorced the first time, his dad pretty much abandend him and he was very lost.  He was my buddy and we went everywhere, and I would tell him that I wasn't going anywhere and that I would always be around for him. I had to put him into daycare and that helped actually, he became more independant and was secure knowing I would return. So its like babysteps, yes, your son wants to be with you his whole life, but you know its best that he won't be like that forever. When your cleaning, ask him to help, give him a damp rag or let him push the vaccuum, when your on the phone remind him that it is rude and impolite to speak while your on the phone so color the half of page and mommy will come and finish when your off the phone. Stop the hitting and biting by putting him in a time out corner and explain that he cant do that its mean and it hurts. Locking the bathroom door is a great start. Finally peace huh? haha. Sometimes when you give kids to much attention, they become dependant of it and they want to be the only ones that get it. By know you should be able to talk to him and tell him that he needs to go play with his toys while you take a shower or spend some time with your boyfriend or go to the store or whatever else you need time for and if he throws a fit, at least you can hear him and thats reassurance, and if you get him used to depending on himself to do things, it will just help when he really goes to school and is away from you all day. At first, you are going to constantly tell him that you will be there for him, that your never going to leave, and that you need to do some things without him cause if you get what you need to do quickly, you can have more time to take him to the park or something along those lines. Once he understands that, he will start to be more independant and you will have more time to do what you need to do and more quality time with him. Good luck..
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Avatar_n_tn
i have a son turning 11 in august, he is very possessive and clingy, wont sleep anywhere except next to me, its getting me down, he is a bully to anyone that comes near me and we are a big family, i have grandchildren his age.
he gets very angry , he fights, pushes the other kids away, wont let them sit on a seat, even if its no where near him or me, my ex husband has severe jealousy problems to the point of stalking me and the control issues are the same in my son, i need help, im at my wits end.
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Avatar_f_tn
We are talking about a little person who is really only 36 months old. Developmentally it is very normal for children this age to idolise one of their parents. Also remember what they say about needs, the moment your needs are met, you don't need it anymore. Its easy to get caught up in a push pull relationship, the more they pull and cling, the more you push for independence and the more dependent they will be. Just go with the flow, chase him around and tell him you want to hug him and not let him go and he will probably tell you to go away. Also enjoy it while it lasts because one day he will not want a bar of you.  
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Avatar_m_tn
My 3 year old niece has the same behaviors. They are actually getting worse. She even gets upset when her dad tries to give her attention ( good attention). She only wants mommy. She has a  twin brother who does not have any of these behaviors. There is something seriously wrong with this. Her mom is having her evaluated. I would advise that you do the same thing. Mental health problems can start early. She has absolutely no problems when her mom is not there. She is an angel. When she gets possessive with her mom, she looks "crazy". Hope you find the help you need.
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Avatar_m_tn
My 3 year old niece has the same behaviors. They are actually getting worse. She even gets upset when her dad tries to give her attention ( good attention). She only wants mommy. She has a  twin brother who does not have any of these behaviors. There is something seriously wrong with this. Her mom is having her evaluated. I would advise that you do the same thing. Mental health problems can start early. She has absolutely no problems when her mom is not there. She is an angel. When she gets possessive with her mom, she looks "crazy". Hope you find the help you need.
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Avatar_m_tn
ive got the same problem,my foster daughter is jellous of my kids,if i am on phone.if i go to toilet shes to come as i cant lock door,shes to hhave a bath with me,does her upmost to shout and sing as loud as she can if im on phone,sits nearly on me,i turn round and nearly go over the top of her shes that close,i feel i have no life with her,if i tell her to go in the house and watch  cartoons shel cry scream,and take hissy fits,il send her to her room,for a bit off peace,shel wreck her room,ill put her in hall way for time out ,she rips my wallpaper of.so i feel theres nothing i can do.only shout at her constantly,i could take her out,but then im praising what she s doing,so i dont
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Avatar_m_tn
ive got the same problem,my foster daughter is jellous of my kids,if i am on phone.if i go to toilet shes to come as i cant lock door,shes to hhave a bath with me,does her upmost to shout and sing as loud as she can if im on phone,sits nearly on me,i turn round and nearly go over the top of her shes that close,i feel i have no life with her,if i tell her to go in the house and watch  cartoons shel cry scream,and take hissy fits,il send her to her room,for a bit off peace,shel wreck her room,ill put her in hall way for time out ,she rips my wallpaper of.so i feel theres nothing i can do.only shout at her constantly,i could take her out,but then im praising what she s doing,so i dont
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