I have had custody of my grandson since he was 15 months old. He loves his daddy, my son. My son works a lot and recently had a new baby.

For a while now, he will not let me out of his sight. If I go to bathroom, there he is. If I get up and walk into a different room, as soon as he notices me missing, he yells for me. It’s like that all day. I hear it at least 10 to 15 times a day. I sit on the couch and he sits right beside me.

I think maybe he feels abandoned by both of his parent who are both currently in drug treatment. I enrolled him in preschool and he went two days and did not want to go back. Next year he has to attend school. But I can’t go to a doctor. I love being with him but I think I may be harming him when he gets older.

He doesn’t want to do anything for himself but lately I have cracked down on that and am making him do things for himself. One doctor told me he may have ADHD. He is very very energetic. I’m so worried and have no one to ask advise but the doctor and he says he will grow out of it. But I tried to explain how serious it was but I don’t think he got the whole picture.

He is 4. And I’m 48. He is sitting by me now even as I type this. Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this situation? I can understand how he feels but I ensure him I’m not going anywhere ever. Maybe school will help when he starts.

  • 1
    Why didn't he wasn't to go to preschool? Did you try another one? And how does he interact when other kids are around, e.g. on a public playground?
    – Arsak
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 9:04
  • Hi . He had autonomy his mouth . Clipped tounge and 2 caps . Took him almost 2 weeks to sto waking up at night hurting . Then preschool was almost over . He started late in year . I decided that was what he needs . On play ground . He runs with all kids but gets rough and runs into them accidentally. . He starts soccer in April and preschool in September. His 4th birthday fell in December and he had to be 4. If I could do it again , I would of put him in daycare or other programs . I really need advice. Help
    – Jessie
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 20:30

3 Answers 3


It sounds tough, but I think you're doing the right thing. The preschool difficulty is not surprising, and very common; it goes away after a while, a week or two, in most cases. The first few days often have very severe separation anxiety, lessening over the next few as he gets used to the fact that you'll come back. There's a really good Daniel Tiger episode on the subject (don't remember which but it's one of the first ones I think) where he goes to school and the song is something like "Adults always come back".

Some of the individuality will probably come back over time. My oldest was sort of like you describe, hated to be alone, always needs someone to go to bed with him. He still does (at nearly 7) want that, but he now is okay if we don't - he just complains some. Your grandchild may have more severe issues due to his home situation, and you may want to see a counselor to get some help managing this; various forms of behavioral therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, for example) are sometimes useful for learning how to cope.


I would try it gradually. I am presuming you are UK because of the ages (starting school at 5)

I would try a nursery 1 morning a week, and make him stick with it. Maybe even make it an hour or 2 the first times (the nursery will still charge you for a whole session).

Ensure you do something he hates in that time so the nursery seems more fun. My son hated helping with housework, so this was my go to thing I was doing if I wanted him to go somewhere else.

Maybe keep it at this one morning for the rest of the year, or move it upto 1 whole day after a month or 2.

Explain to the nursery his history with his parents and a good nursery should understand.

But the internet is awash with advice for parents of clingy children, but the MOST important thing is consistency, and that doesn't mean "try it for a couple of days" but weeks, maybe even months.

If you are not in the UK I don't know what nursery's are called, but private companies that look after pre-school children on flexible hours as required by the parents. As they are not attached to a school they can be more flexible.


I don't know if this is a good enough answer for your situation and what you have tried so far.

Young children generally want grown-ups to be there. My son is 4.5 and even at the times he entertains himself he wants me to be there as audience and lackey. I can pick up his crayons off the floor while he glues bits of paper. Actually if more grown-ups are present, he wants all their attention and will get annoyed if for example I play with him while his dad sits behind the laptop.

The exception is when there are other kids to play with. The age difference shouldn't be too much and they should reasonably get along, but when he is with his cousin (a girl who just turned 6) they play all afternoon without requiring too much attention from grown-ups. This does not always 'just' work with kids we meet at the playground, so some effort to find another child to play with may be necessary.

Good luck, sad to read that the parents cannot be there for their kid.

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