12-24-2020 06:38 AM - last edited on 02-05-2021 11:29 AM by Hannah-RO
I am not sure if I am asking this question in the right place but here goes. I really need help guys. My fiance that I have been with for around a year now has a 9 year old daughter that absolutely adores and thinks the world of me. That's not my concern though. My concern with it is that she almost near obssesses over wanting to spend time with me. To the point of constantly bugging her mom (my fiance) asking her when am I going to be home from work. I enjoy that she doesn't dislike me but she always wants to spend almost every moment I have at home with me. She is my little shadow. That's cute and all but I am worried about how much actual physical contact she tries to have with me. Wanting to sit on my lap, wanting piggy back rides and so on. I could be wrong because I have never been in this situation but it just seems like its just way too much and possibly not healthy. I don't know if it's completely inoscent or if it's maybe more. I know that she enjoys that I give her attention but I am afraid its borderline inappropriate for her to want constant attention and even more then that, physical contact. Please help me understand what is going on and what I should do about it
12-24-2020 10:05 AM
Hi Moses. Thanks for reaching out.
A 9 year old child obsessing about a parent that she adores, is in fact, quite normal. The ongoing physical contact is also quite a normal response from a child to a parent. What im trying to reflect here by saying that, is that her obsession with you is not necessarily something of concern. However it can be perceived as somewhat unhealthy in that she might be developing a deeply secure attachment to you, which makes fallouts and difficult relationships in her future difficult to manage. Fixating on someone does not help to represent how relationships actually work in the world. So if you constantly enable the fixation over you, it might in some sense set her up for disappointment in her future relations. SO how do we manage this then? A common theme in psychology is called "the good enough mother", which essentially talks about how you don't have to be ever present to be a good parent - your general presence and love is enough to develop a healthy relationship style in her. I suppose a good way to go about this is to possibly speak with her (with the mother present) where you put some gentle boundaries in place (no sitting on laps for example). If she wants to why she cant engage in this way, you can talk about the nature of your relationship and what your role is for her (ie: "my role is to guide you, and intimacy is reserved for special partner relationships that you will experience when you are older). So to summarise Moses, don't worry too much about her behaviour, its relatively normal, just ensure you put boundaries in place to model healthy boundary setting within relationships and make sure that you do it in a way that doesn't talk explicitly about "the birds and the bees" or in a way that makes it seem that she has done something wrong. Use this as an opportunity to teach her gently about boundaries.
Otherwise Moses you could try to call mensline or speak to a psychologist if you are still concerned. Good luck with it, and thanks for reaching out!
12-25-2020 11:32 AM
I've never been in this kind of situation myself, and more information would help to answer this issue. Is her dad still in her life? Does she show behaviour problems?
If her dad isn't part of her life or he is and has kids with his new wife, then this family dynamic might've effected her mentally, she is filling in that void, she is looking for that father figure to be present in her life.