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Child Is Too Attached
Q. My nephew lives with his father (my brother) and my aunt Monday through Friday, and with his mother on weekends. My aunt takes care of him for my brother. When she tries to leave him with me, he cries. He's very attached to her and prefers her even to his own parents. If he cries, she won't leave him with any family member, even for a moment. I don't think this is good for him. What do you think?
A. Your aunt is probably doing a great job taking care of your brother's child, so I don't want to be too critical of her. I don't know your nephew's age, but very young children often cry when a parent or caretaker leaves. They usually stop within a few minutes if the person leaving doesn't come back to their cries and the new person caring for them is loving and kind.
Learning to separate is good for children and part of normal maturation. It's wonderful that your nephew loves your aunt so much, and I'm sure she's very conscientious and loving. Perhaps this letter will help her to know it's all right for her to leave his side so that he can learn to trust others who also care about him.
For a free newsletter about raising preschoolers, send a large, self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094, or go to www.sylviarimm.com for more parenting information.
Sad Future For Abused Grandchild
Q. Please tell me what psychological impact you believe the following situation will have on our 3-year-old grandson. His mother drinks and does drugs in front of him. They recently lived with us for 6 months, and she stayed out nights and slept all day, leaving him to wander the house in dangerous situations, feeding him candy, cookies or just milk all day because she was passed out and could barely get out of bed.
Since Christmas, when he witnessed his maternal grandma beat his mother, he has begun hitting, kicking and punching nearly every adult he meets.
A. If you're accurately describing this poor child's environment, it is unlikely he'll grow up to be normal unless things change. You should again report the problem to children's services. Drugs and alcohol seriously distort reality, and no doubt this mother will continue to run away until found.
Sometimes druggies "hit bottom," get help and change their paths. If this mother does, a preschooler who's had such terrible care can also recover, although recovery will take time and secure love. If the child is temporarily taken away from his mother, it may awaken a new sense of responsibility in her. This child needs rescue, and the child's mother needs serious alcohol and drug rehabilitation, in addition to general and parenting counseling.
For free newsletters about grandparenting do's and don'ts, preventing violence, or principles of parenting, send a large, self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094, or read "Grandparenting Do's and Don'ts" at www.sylviarimm.com.
Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the author of many books on parenting. More information on raising kids is available at www.sylviarimm.com. Please send questions to: Sylvia B. Rimm on Raising Kids, P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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