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18 month old with severe seperation anxiety

My daughter is currently going through seperation anxiety, which I understand to be normal at this age. Her father and I agreed to start one overnight visit a week once she turned 13 months. When she is returned from the overnight stay the seperation anxiety is elevated. I cannot leave her sight, she holds onto my leg constantly, sits on my lap the whold time and spends most the day hugging me tightly for hours. The next day she is fine. I'm concerned the overnight stay is making her seperation anxiety worse.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jul 15, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Your concerns are very valid. Your daughter is too young to be going on overnight visits alone without you. Children her age need consistency and constancy from their parents, especially their mothers. The bonds which are formed from infancy to age two are vital to the child's ability to form positive relationships with others in the future and to feel secure and confident themselves.

The question then becomes, what is the purpose of your daughter's weekly overnight visits? Is it to give you and your husband more time alone or is it to try to socialize your daughter? If you are doing this for more time alone, there are many other ways to spend time with your husband without having to leave your daughter overnight every week. And, the bonding you do as a family during this time really is priceless. Having fun being with your husband and daughter and not wanting to be away from one another is what brings you all closer together, and it is much healthier than scheduling time for her to be away from you. You and your husband are your daughter's first teachers and although it is nice for her to be around others, it is not necessary to force this independence, it grows step by step when the child is ready and secure.

Boys Town offers Common Sense Parenting classes, books and DVD's to help parents with toddlers. Please go to our website: www.parenting.org  for more information. You may also be able to find the book: "Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers" at the library and at most bookstores. Our Hotline is available 24 hours a day to give guidance and support to parents with children of all ages. You can e-mail or call us anytime.

Take care and best wishes to you and your daughter.

Sincerely,

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
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Additional Answers (2)

Spirit2000
Spirit2000 writes:
You might try to desensitize her.  Tell her you are going in another room and will be right back.  Walk out, then walk back into the room.
If you do this, and stay out of the room a little longer each time, she'll learn that you not constantly being in her sight really is OK.

As for overnights, make sureyou tell her it's OK to miss you, because you'll miss her.  Make sure she feels safe with who and where she is, and let her know you'll call while she is there.  Make sure you call her a few times before she goes to sleep, and in the morning.  This will help her cope with the separation.
> 60 days ago

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mimi27
mimi27 writes:
I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM MY DAUGHTER IS ALSO 18 MONTHS . SHE HAS BE THIS WAY FOR FOURS MONTHS NOW. IT AFFECTS MY WORK. SHE CRYS FOR HOURS AT DAYCARE.
> 60 days ago

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