ACCORDING to psychologists, a child's development may be stunted when a parent is overly clingy and anxious about being separated from the child.
"There is a lot of evidence that shows [this]," clinical psychologist Dr Karen Richards said. "What healthy children need is to feel that their parents want them to go off and explore, to learn and to experience new things. But then they can always come back to the base, and the base is the parent. That's the normal, healthy approach."
She said this involves taking your toddler to school and allowing him/her to go off and learn to play, be independent and develop self-confidence, with you in the background.
But if the child senses anxiety and concerns from the parent, the child might feel there is something wrong in the environment and that there is something they need to be frightened of or cautious about because mommy/daddy is always cautious, nervous and worried.
"So as a part of helping the child to develop socially, physically, academically, you want the child to become more independent. Therefore, allow them to explore the boundaries of their talents, skills, etc," Dr Richards said.
"It's very necessary that they become independent because that's how they get confidence and self-esteem...Over time, the parents who are very clingy and very anxious about being separated from their children, those kids feel guilty for going out and having fun, they feel guilty about playing football, guilty for being free of responsibilities. You don't want to raise a child who feels guilty because the child sees that mom or dad is distressed by me doing all these 'child' things,'" she said.
"If a parent ties a child's shoe lace every day, how does he learn to tie a shoe lace? So you will never develop confidence in that small task, in that small skill."
If mom and dad are always hovering over the children they are unconsciously sending a message that everything around them is insecure and dangerous. It will cause them:
*to feel that their environment is somehow dangerous and threatening.
* To have low self-esteem and confidence
* To feel that they are not able to navigate their environment securely on their own;
* and it will stifle their development.