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Separation anxiety

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by lucchese, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. lucchese

    lucchese New commenter

    I wrote a post a month or so ago about the difficult phase my son was going through with him just having started to walk and me being knackered due to pregnancy. He is now almost 18 months and is experiencing particularly pronounced separation anxiety for me. The last few nights I haven't been able to leave the room before he falls asleep (which takes forever) as he is terrified when I get up to go and the same happens at naptime, whereas previously he had had a fairly long period of dropping off contentedly by himself. In the daytime he is such hard work, I have to play with him constantly, it isn't even enough to be in the same room, he is continually saying 'mamma'. He pushes his daddy away when we show each other any affection, too. When I try and leave the room to do something in the kitchen he follows me and attaches himself to my leg. In short, I am very drained by all this as getting bigger with pregnancy, lack of energy etc and need a bit of space even just to do the things I need to to look after LO.
    Any thoughts on what I could do to try and cope or do I just have to weather this until it calms down a bit (hopefully before baby number 2 makes an appearance - can't see how I will be able to breastfeed etc with things as they are at the moment)? I have tried to spend as much time playing with him and giving him as much attention as possible, instead of ignoring him, but this is draining me and also I'm not even sure if it makes it worse and I should be tougher on him. Up until about 3 months ago, he was always happy to play by himself and do his own thing really well so it's all a bit of a shock to the system.
  2. Hi Lucchese
    Could he be ill or teething? My daughter is just 18months and was very clingy about a month ago - right before she went down with chicken pox. She also went through a phase of being distraught when I put her down at night - or waking crying in the night and if I went in to re-settle her, she'd start screaming again when I left. I eventually realised it just made it worse if I kept going in so I had to sit tight and let her cry for a good 10 mins, then go in, soothe by rubbing her back and leave and then leave her crying again for 10 mins (very difficult but she would settle quicker this way than if I kept picking her up and then try to put her down again.
    I also find playing with her for a bit (building a tower, looking at a book etc) and then going away to do something for 5 mins works better than expecting her to get involved in things herself. If all else fails, I open up our "tupperware" drawer (the kitchen drawer that's full of her plastic bowls, cups, tupperware boxes etc and let her play with this while I make tea.
    When things seem really bad - I keep trying to remind myself that just like all the other difficult stages (when she wouldn't sleep through the night, when she wouldn't take a bottle at all etc etc) "this too will pass, this too will pass!"
    Hope things get better soon,
    Katy x
  3. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    My son went through a similar phase at about 18 months too, and unfortunately he had to go to a different childminder as his own had to have a hysterectomy and couldn't look after him. I'd drop him off and he'd sob his heart out and cling to me, and as soon as i went to pick him up he'd run to me and hug me and cry. It was awful, it broke my heart to leave him every time.
    I reckon it only lasted a few weeks though, maybe about 5 or 6, and he was back to normal after that.
    I was pregnant too then, about 4 months, so i understand how hard it is!
  4. lucchese

    lucchese New commenter

    He might be teething. He is now starting to get really unsettled during the night and wake really early, which he did last time some teeth came through. I have only just got him down for the night now, and really hope he stays asleep as this evening has been hellish and my OH is away. We've had a week of this now, getting progressively worse.... Really hope it passes soon.

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