Babies do grow and mature and at some point parents will have to slowly begin to let go unless they want their children to grow up being clingy and timid. Every day parents should teach their babies to make their way in the world in a hundred little ways.
One-year-old babies are contrary creatures. Some days they scream if you step out of the room for a minute. On other days they are quite content exploring the world, leaving you to do your chores uninterrupted. This Jekyll and Hyde syndrome is the result of the constant push and pull between the child's awareness of her dependence on her parents and her early bids for independence. By the time she is one, your baby realises that parents are not mere slaves who cater to her every whim. They are her safety net, the people who watch out for her and protect her from the unknown in the big bad world.
Parents have to walk a tightrope at this stage. They have to maintain a delicate balance between making sure that the child feels and putting her feet on the road to independence. Parents tread a fine line
between being overprotective and unduly harsh. There is no tried and tested formula that can guide parents in this respect. It differs from parent to parent and child to child. Here are a few tips to help you
achieve this balance:
Don't sneak out of the house. Your child may be okay once you've gone, but when you return, she will probably stick to you like glue, terrified that you will abandon her again. She will be alert for the slightest indication that you may get up and leave. This will make her feel insecure. You could sneak out once in a while, but don't make a habit of disappearing. It's okay if you quietly sneak out after she's gone off to sleep.
Do not exhibit hesitation or guilt when you have to go out leaving your child alone at home. Children are very sensitive and will pick up on your hesitation immediately, making them feel that their fear is justified.
Take your child with you wherever you can. Don't worry that she may grow up to be clingy. She will outgrow this phase once she enters her teens and realises that it's much more fun to hang out with friends! In
addition, children grow up to be solitary, introverted and clingy if they are not exposed to many people. It has been observed that children who are used to being around different people right from a young age tend to be more independent and outgoing. Thus children who are brought up with love, care and are showered with attention from parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and siblings, grow up to be confident, friendly and secure.
Play games like Hide and Seek with your child. Disappear for a few minutes before reappearing. You could keep lengthening the time of your disappearance.In this manner, your child will feel that every time you disappear, you will return.
Call your child from outside at least once. Your child will feel good at having spoken to you.
Some schools of thought are of the opinion that babies should be placed in their separate rooms as early as possible, and if they start crying, they should be ignored. This may be hard, but proponents of this thought argue that in the long run it's best for your child, as she learns to cope on her own without relying on parental support. Of course, you can't leave your newborn baby to cry herself to sleep - your child should be more than a year old before you decide to harden your heart and take this step. This will teach her to become self-reliant and independent at a younger age. Well, this may be true. After all, your baby will not cry forever, and somewhere deep within her conscience she will learn that she has no one to turn to but herself. But then don't expect your baby to develop a strong bond with you if you're not there when she needs you. The best thing to do would be to pick up your baby and console her whenever you can. There are going to be plenty of times when you won't be around to hold her and make her feel better (which is okay - don't feel guilty about not being there to wipe every tear that falls from her eyes), so on those few occasions when you are around, hold her tight.
If you want your baby to grow up into a confident, outgoing person, be there for her. The more you meet your child's needs now, the more secure she will be in the future.