My Son Is Very Attached to His Mother

09 March, 2021
Q My son Omar, aged three, is attached to his mother. We were all attached to our mothers, but not to this extent.

If she leaves him for a second he cries, he refuses to sleep in his room under the pretext of fear, refuses to play with other children, and prefers to stay near her.

During my wife’s studies, he used to go to a Muslim babysitter; she took good care of him and loved him, but every time he needed lots of convincing before accepting to go.

Omar is an intelligent child. We are worried about him. Twice a year we go to our country, Saudi Arabia.

The last time we were there, my wife’s sister had a baby girl. Up to that time, Omar was the only grandchild on my wife’s side, so now he has competition.

He loves to watch Islamic cartoons and has many toys, which he shares with any child who comes to visit, but he refuses to go to anyone unless accompanied by his mother.

Please forgive me for taking so much of your time, but I wanted to describe the case in details in order for you to have a clear picture of the situation; maybe you could help us. May Allah reward you for all your efforts.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•First, Omar needs your understanding and time. By this, I do not mean the length of time but the quality of the time you are giving him, like reading, playing, and outings to fill his time and develop his personality.

•Second, Omar now needs to go to a nursery school. He needs to interact with children of his own age, to live in their magical world, this is very important for the formation of character.

Third, and most importantly, we have to find a solution for his crying and screaming. Use the reward and punishment system. If he is good and does not cry, he gets a present. On the other hand, if he screams without a good reason, do not talk to him until he calms down.


As-salamu `alaykum. Dear Sir,

Do you know how the chick learns to fly? One month after the eggs hatch, the mother bird starts to teach the chick how to fly. In the beginning, she flies several times in front of the chick to show him how.

Then she takes the chick to the edge of the nest and demonstrates how to spread the wings, she then pushes the chick until it gains confidence and tries to fly.

The chick falls and then flutters up and down until it learns to keep its balance in the air. When she makes sure that it has learned, she leaves her chick to experience life and face its perils.

Give him time

Omar needs to learn how to fly—the human way. With humans, it is much more difficult and complicated than in the animal world, for the simple reason that the human being is a very different creature from the animal.

The human mother nurses her child for years; she not only takes care of the child’s immediate needs, but cultivates acceptable behavior, ethics, feelings, principles, and values, which make the human being a superior creature.

Omar is your only child; therefore, he demands all your attention and love, this is natural.

Being in a foreign country limits your social life; even with the presence of many friends, they do not substitute for the extended family of grandparents, aunts, and uncles, which is very important in the social development of a child. With the absence of the family, Omar has grown attached to both of you.

My Son Is Very Attached to His Mother - About Islam

Separation anxiety

In addition, due to his mother’s studies and therefore her absence, he has developed what we call separation anxiety, which is the fear of losing the mother.

When Omar is with the babysitter, he fears that he will not see his mother again. Or fears that maybe she will forget him.

In spite of his apparent calmness and his acceptance to go to the sitter, he suffers from the anxiety that manifests itself when he sees his mother. He does not want to let go of her again. And when she leaves, even for a second, he becomes hysterical.

Therefore, and we insist on repeating this to all parents, leaving your children at a very early age, before they mature emotionally and psychologically, may cause a state of insecurity and a lack of self-confidence.

Contrary to popular belief, sending your child early to nursery school will not make him or her a more social, fearless kind of a person.

I believe that the child who stays with the mother and gets enough of her attention, being spoiled by her and loved by her, will grow up stronger and more capable to interact with others.

Emotional and psychological growth needs time, as much time as it takes to grow physically. You cannot ask a six-month-old child to walk! Using the same analogy, you cannot expect a one-year-old child to accept being separated from his mother.

Be patience

Omar needs encouragement and needs to learn to fly alone out of his nest, and this need patience and composure.

First, Omar needs your understanding and time. By this, I do not mean the length of time but the quality of the time you are giving him, like reading, playing, and outings to fill his time and develop his personality.

Second, Omar now needs to go to a nursery school, no matter how good the sitter is, she cannot fulfill all his needs. He needs to interact with children of his own age, to live in their magical world, this is very important for the formation of character.

Third, and most importantly, we have to find a solution for his crying and screaming. We understand the motive, but we should not give in. You should show your unhappiness at this kind of behavior, especially if there is no apparent reason.


Check out this counseling video


Use the reward and punishment system. If he is good and does not cry, he gets a present. On the other hand, if he screams without a good reason, do not talk to him until he calms down. He should not use this policy to get what he wants.

Wishing you all the success with your precious children.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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