Kids and Privacy
Morgan Dickerson, 3, likes to plant big, wet smooches on his mom. But not all the time: Some days, he squirms away and runs off, shouting, "No kisses!"
"When he first did it, I was hurt. But I guess we all need our personal space," says Karle Dickerson, of Pasadena, California. It's true. Morgan's protests are just a 3-year-old's way of saying, "Mom, I'd like a little privacy, please."
As much as your child wants to be close to you, it's normal—innate, in fact -- for him to also need some physical and emotional distance. (Just as you do sometimes!) "Private time allows children to create a separate identity from their parents, which in turn makes them more independent, self-reliant, and confident in their abilities," says Diane Ross Glazer, Ph.D., a child-development expert in Santa Monica, California.
Some kids like their privacy more than others. For instance, those who adapt slowly to new situations usually don't mind being alone as much as their easygoing peers. Boys, too, tend to keep to themselves more than girls -- but that could be because parents don't expect their sons to open up as much, and so they don't.
All kids need privacy at times, though, and determining how much and what kind can depend on your child's age: