Q: My five-year-old, adopted transracially as an infant, has developed a habit of asking me, loudly, “Are you my mommy?” when we’re out at the store or elsewhere in public. I always assure him that, yes, I am his mommy forever, but I wonder why he does this. Is it for the benefit of those listening?
A: At your son’s age, children begin to understand that there’s a world outside their family and their home, and often feel torn between entering this world and staying close to their parents. He may be expressing a form of separation anxiety that becomes acute in large stores or public places. Your son is expressing his love for you and how important you are to him, while at the same time he begins to explore the idea of separating from you. Continue to reassure him that you love him and will be his mom forever, and support his curiosity and independence.
Also, keep in mind that you may be more sensitive than he to others overhearing your conversation.