Monday, July 11, 2005

Separation Anxiety

Almost all kids go through it - that phase when the seem to think they can't live without Mommy and Daddy. BabyCenter has this to say:
Wasn't it delicious when your infant preferred you to anyone else on the planet? Now that your baby is bigger, though, and he falls apart when you head to the bathroom without him, his attachment seems downright obsessive.
Jesse gets that way a lot in these recent weeks. Sometimes family and friends offer to carry him, he'd grab on to Mae and I, clenching his tiny little fingers on our clothes until his little knuckles turn white as he clung on for dear life. It's so heartbreaking to see.

Sometimes we want to just let him work it out on his one. On one hand, we'd like for him to learn to be a little more independent and perhaps even a little more sociable. Yet on the other hand, I'd hate for him to think we're abandoning him. Parenting books advice giving the baby a transitional object to help him cope with the separation. So far nothing's worked.

One time we left Jesse with my mom and my brother Jeff. As they took him Jesse cried huge droplets of tears that flooded his tiny little face. And as they took him farther and father away from us, he reached out his tiny hand to me, as if to say, "Save me, Daddy!" My heart broke into smithereens. Tears welled up in my eyes that day. And would continue to do so every time I picture him like that - even right now as I write this. *sigh*

I guess daddies get Separation Anxieties too.


  1. Awwww...James...that is so touching. Don't worry, Jesse will not be so clingy soon. Maybe send him to some playschool so he can make new friends. My sister sends her son to baby gym and he loves it. He used to be shy and cry everytime we leave him but now he is ok :)

  2. When my parents dump me to the babysisters, I don't think I was like that. Maybe that's why I am not close to my parents as I get older and why I am so independent. *grins*
    But, still..... Jesse is maybe a little too small to get used of being "abandoned" yet. Try by leaving him alone in the room or what first. :)

  3. err my hubby who is a frequent traveller will usually just explain to boiboi when he's leaving and where is he going. then tell him when he is coming. initially he will cry like hell but after a few rounds of telling him he's going to work, it seems to be working. well maybe bcos hubby has been doing this way when boiboi was still inside mummy's tum kekekeke...
    no problem when mummy is leaving though... lucky he only clings on to hubby more *phew*

  4. i dont have kids, but i've seen it alot, when a friend carries the toddler, and parents tease the kids saying "bye!" pretending to walk away. i think its terrible to think how it affects the kids psychologically at that age. even if it is a "joke"...

  5. The first time I left my two year kids at the nursery for just 3 hours, they were terrified and totally miserable, even though they've been there many times before on warm-up visits. I came home and cried and cried and cried, a mother's heart totally devastated with the image of her child's tear stricken betrayed face.
    They are now very happy, secure, loving, sociable, confident nine year olds with plenty of friends and lots of love for and from mummy and daddy.
    But the memory of that day has never left me and never will. It continues to haunt me till this very day.
    If I could turn back time, I would NEVER do it again.

  6. The two kids at my house are perfectly ok. Probably they have been left by their parents at my house for far too long. They don't even miss their parents. Kinda sad, really.

  7. Awww...poor little Jesse and poor you too, James. Don't worry, this phase will soon pass. You and Mae are great parents so just keep reassuring Jesse that you will come back for him and keep your promise. Soon he'll understand. That's what I do with Emily. Every time I leave her (even if it's a super short trip to the bathroom), I tell her where I am going and that I will be back soon. So far, she's been fine with that.
    Did you end up getting The Baby Book by Dr William Sears? According to the theory of attachment parenting, securely attached children seem to be clingy at first but after a while, they will become independent as they know that their parents are always there for them and can be counted on. Soon you will see little Jesse exploring new places on his own but from time to time, he'll look at you for reassurance and approval - kind of like reporting to base before going off, you know? So don't ever leave Jesse crying it out or he will develop a mistrust for the both of you and will become even more clingy. Good luck!

  8. according to my mummy ... i was the happiest baby .. i'd go to anyone who gave me sweets or fish ball for that matter hahahahahahahaha :D but i used to cry when going to kindy garden :P

  9. "The only thing good thing about kindergarten is it teaches you how to say goodbye to your parents without crying." - Bill Cosby (from his Why is There Air? album)
    You cry once, then you make friends.
    It's all well and healthy to have him cling to you now, he's still rather young imo, but in time he'll learn that new things and new people are intriguing as well. Then you'll WISH he still looked at you pitifully for help :P

  10. awww...
    at least Jesse's crying when you leave, not when he sees you! ;D

  11. Hey, my gal is about the age of Jesse and she went thru similar phase. I never forced her to accept any stranges or being independent. Eventually she is quite sociable now, can plays and smiles to anyone but still refuse to be carry by them.
    So, follow your son's will, don't force him, he will grow out of this phase by his own. Don't you think he is smart to have his own preference?

  12. Food will attract my gal. She will let her grandpa carry with food, after that she will cry for mum...hehehehe.
    Anyway, I think not allowing any stranger to carry is a good thing. It will be more secure for the child.

  13. Thanks Cherry. Jesse's still too young for school but we'll figure out a way. :)
    Hmm... Jason, I'm sure it wasn't because your parents dumped you at the babysitter. A lot of Chinese parents are a little conservative when it comes to communication. Maybe that's the reason?
    :lol: Babe, I think Mae wishes that Jesse was more clingy to me.
    I know what you mean MidniteLily. Quite a lot of parents are responsible for the insecurities that you see in people nowadays! *sigh*
    Awww... Thanks for sharing that, Tinkerbell. I hope we'll find a way for Jesse to go to school uneventfully!
    That is sad, Gina. Makes you wonder why ppl even bother having kids if they'd rather not see them.
    I might have that book, Ariel. But then we have so many books that we never got round to reading. *ulp* Thanks for the tip!
    Maybe you just didn't like school, Deepsy! :lol:
    HAhhahh!! Maybe you're right Gwen. :)
    :lol: That would be quite tragic, Jane.
    That's good to hear Jefferene. Thanks.

  14. James its better the kid clings to u and not the sitter as I've seen before! But seriously such a touching post :)))

  15. Maybe you need a transitional object. :lol: It will soon past. Toddler was very shy and clingy but now she has no problems with strangers after a little bit of warm up. Now its baby's turn. Sticks to me like superglue.

  16. yes... parents do get separation anxiety. I do, a lot. My kid..did. Now, it's "go and leave me alone"...esp. when at kidsports, playgroup, smaland, etc.
    Next, it'll be "LEAVE ME ALONE AND STAY OUT!" tween-teen-adult phase. Hugh Sigh......

  17. Well... I do drop a few tears in the morning when my son cried when we leave him to my parents before going to work. What to do? We are human.
    As for strangers, my son will cling to anyone who offer him any food or stuff that he can put into his mouth. Or else, he will cling to either one of his parents like a Koala.

  18. Jesse, you and Mae will all learn to cope with separation anxiety with time. I went through hell when I started leaving my son at the daycare. He cried...I was just miserable. It took him about a month to get used to me not being with him all the time. He's a lot better now. It helps to have a quick good bye routine eg: a quick kiss and cuddle, short sentence saying that you'll be back in a few hours to pick him up...give him a favourite toy or safety object...and make a beeline for the door. He'll be fine after 2 minutes. It will just take Jesse some time to get used to the fact that when you leave does not mean that you are never coming back. They will learn to grasp the fact that the separation is not permanent.
    Aerial...that book by William Sears has been my bible since I became pregnant. I love the whole concept of 'attachment parenting'.

  19. ever tried leaving him at the sunday school? you should see the 3-4 year range, half a dozen kids crying their heart out inside (throughout the year!), parents stay outside so kids cannot see them. It was not easy. Then a wise Grandad (& church elder) came over to us two mommies outside and said (among other things), you have to learn to let go of them in spirit. It definitely helps.

  20. Hey.. James,
    my baby does the same thing too..! she wouldn't go to anyone at all.. and sometimes it's real hard .. for both of us.. baby and I.
    But like they all say.. they will get beter.. :)

  21. Fortunately for us Jesse still prefers his parents, Visithra!
    :lol: Mumsgather, nothing like a baby to make you feel wanted, eh?
    Ugh, the scary teenage years. Don't you wish they slow down a little, MOO+1?
    Aww, Egghead. I wonder how Jesse's first day at school will be like.
    Attachment Parenting eh, Revlon. I think I will get the book if I don't already have it.
    Thanks Mrs B. That will help.
    I have a feeling Jesse's gotten a little better in these last two weeks, Big BoK! :)