My daughter is six, and in first grade. She is very bright and normal in most ways. But she is constantly behaving in ways that show she is crying out for attention. My husband and I have always spent a lot of time with our kids (we have a 3 year old son as well), reading to them, going on outings or to the park, getting down on the floor and playing with them. She was in day care until this school year, but we have arranged our schedules so that my husband gets her on the bus in the morning and I am home when she gets home from school. Most school days we spend an hour or so having "alone" time before we have to pick up her brother from daycare. If the kids are playing together and her brother hurts himself and my husband or I pick him up to comfort him, she'll be furious that "he's getting all the attention". We even try to work with this by having one parent attend to each child, even though she's not hurt, but it's not good enough. (She has very little empathy for anyone.) She doesn't usually act jealous of her brother otherwise (because she likes his attention too!), and they get along really well. At gymnastics class or Brownies, she's always vying for the teachers' attention: "look at me!". She is also very afraid of being alone - will almost never play in her room by herself, and comes into our bedroom in the middle of the night about 4 of 7 nights "because it's not fair that you and dad get to sleep together and I have to be alone". She has always been like this, even as an infant.
We aren't doing a very good job of teaching her to be independent - is therapy advised for this or just better parenting skills?
It does not sound like therapy would be useful, but you might consider a consult with a pediatric mental health professional. This person can collaborate with you around parenting practices, scrutinizing what you are currently doing and advising you about possible adjustments or alterations.
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