Open Discussion Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

Overly Attached Child

  • 1.  Overly Attached Child

    Posted 9 days ago
    I am looking for advise on an overly attached child. This particular friend(1) is very much attached to another friend(2) to the point that friend(1) doesn't know what to do if friend(2) is not a school that day. Friend(1) follows friend(2) around all day, everyday. Friend(2) gets frustrated sometimes because friend(2) likes to play with other children as well.

    I have tried to separate them so friend(1) is forced to be independent from friend(2), but they do enjoy playing together so I hate to always keep them separated. I have told friend(1) to make a choice before friend(2), Friend(1) will verbally make a choice but then wait around for friend(2). If friend(2) makes a different choice friend(1) will try to change their choice. If friend(2) chooses to play in a center that now becomes full, friend(1) will choose to sit alone doing nothing waiting for friend(2) or another friend to leave. I have had friend(1) skip snack because there weren't anymore chairs open next to friend(2). If friend(1) gets to school before friend(2), friend(1) just walks around the room until friend(2) gets there. This will continue all day if friend(2) doesn't come and if friend(2) leaves early. If I get friend(1)'s attention and doing something with me friend(1) is seeking for where friend(2) the whole time. Friend(1) does not get upset when friend(2) plays with other children, friend(1) just doesn't know what to do when friend(2) is not with them.

    It's important to note as well that this has not always been friend(1)'s behavior. They have been in a classroom together for almost a year and this attachment started just a few months ago. Nothing has changed in friend(1)'s home life that I am aware of. I will be having a conference with parent's next week and will be discussing this with them. Just wanting any advice, or references for this behavior before our talk.

    ------------------------------
    Natalie Davis
    Prosper TX
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Overly Attached Child

    Posted 8 days ago
    My initial thought is trust the children. There is a need being filled here. If there are emotional feelings when the one child is playing with someone else. Be with those feelings with the child. Sportscast what you see. The relationship will shift as it needs to and our job is to be there through it.

    ------------------------------
    Shannon Carr, M.A.T.
    RIE Associate
    Child Development Specialist & Owner of RISE
    St. Louis, MO
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Overly Attached Child

    Posted 8 days ago
    I would suggest working with the Friend Two when Friend One is busy with other things or people. She may need your help to learn how to enter play groups successfully. You do not mention the ages of the children and that is an important factor in understanding where they are developmentally in play. I would suggest also doing an observation of both children together and apart to understand more deeply what  might be happening for Friend Two.
    Some children are rejected by children when they try to enter play groups so you can "prime the pump" by identifying other children that are play leaders or have no problems entering play with other children. Then set up an imaginative play situations for the children and participate initially, step back as their play progresses.
    What you want all the children to know is that you have a loving and accepting classroom that has time and space for all types of children and all types of play and you are there to help them learn how to do that. Celebrate diversity in the classroom and demonstrate to the children through your actions how to act when conflicts arise or rejections take place. We call the children in each classroom "friends". That way the teacher can talk about how friends behave to one another. The work of Dan Gatrell, Ph.D. is excellent for understanding how children develop socially and emotionally and how to create a classroom that is inclusive and democratic. I also recommend the book Really Seeing Children from Child Care Information Exchange

    Chris
    Christine Webster, MA
    May Children's Center at Brazosport College
    christine.webster@brazosport.edu

    ------------------------------
    Christine Webster
    Director
    Brazosport College Children's Center
    LAKE JACKSON TX
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Overly Attached Child

    Posted 8 days ago
    Thanks for your advise and recommendations, I will research them further!

    To answer your question and maybe give a little more detail about the situation and interactions:
    Friend(1) just turned five and friend(2) is 4 years and 4 months. I have not seen any rejection from other friends during play, as friend(1) does play with other children but only when friend(2) is playing too. Without friend(2), friend(1) refuses to play with anyone. I will watch more closely though to make sure there's nothing I am missing. Friend(2) is for sure a play leader. Everyone loves to play with friend(2) and friend(2) loves to play with everyone, which is why friend(2) gets frustrated with friend(1) sometimes. Like I said before, friend(1) doesn't get upset when friend(2) plays with other children, friend(1) just wont do anything without friend(2).

    It just so happens that friend(2) is not here today, friend(1) has struggled all day deciding where to play and even just a spot to sit at the table. Friend(1) eventually finds a center that is empty, and leaves when another friend tries to join. Friend(1) also almost skipped a meal today because they didn't know where to sit. All of the chairs were open and the children slowly started to fill them. each time a child sat down I explained the seat choices to friend(1) until there was only one seat left. Even then, friend(1) still didn't know where to sit. It wasn't until the other children's plates began to empty did friend(1) decide to sit down. When friend(2) is here, friend(1) will just sit next to friend(2).

    ------------------------------
    Natalie Davis
    Prosper TX
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Overly Attached Child

    Posted 8 days ago
    I have several children that prefer to hang with certain friends in the classroom. I try to incorporate group activities to lessen the effects of always playing with each other. Is it unruly for them to be together? Do they fight? Sometimes you just have to pick your battles. When a friend isn't there one day, allow that child to have something special until they feel safe. When you do attendance, allow the child to say something like " I hope she feels better for school tomorrow." It's not a bad thing and sometimes we overreact to this as something wrong but it isn't if the relationship isn't causing issues. I have kids not eat snacks because their neighbors didn't want them.

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Alquist
    Teacher
    Concord First Academy
    Concord NC
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Overly Attached Child

    Posted 6 days ago

    Being overly attached can cause unhealthy relationships. Also, cause insecurity in the child or adult. It is understandable sometimes with a baby but as a child grows they should move into Independence



    ------------------------------
    Lee Garner
    Teacher/Tutor
    Garner Tutoring Service
    Calumet City IL
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Overly Attached Child

    Posted 6 days ago
    I'm concerned that Friend 2 appears to not trust her ability to make choices, which a limitation of her worthwhileness, control, and limitations in belonging. These are all important for happiness. I suggest some one-on-one time playing a make a choice game you devise. Gently help her pay attention to consequences of her choices noticing that mistakes help us learn.

    ------------------------------
    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------