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chappy1978
chappy1978 asks:
Q:

Help! I think my almost 2 year old is going through really bad seperation anxiety.

I share 50/50 custody of my 21 month old son. Ever since I moved into my new apartment (moving out from his dad's) he has probably slept through the night a handful of times and it's been 5 months. I don't wake up to him crying, but screaming bloody murder. He has a nice bedroom, not too warm, not too cold. It doens't matter what time I put him down or what kind of bedtime ritual we do. This is every night. Last night he woke up 6 times screaming, between 10:30 and 3:00. I'm pretty sure he's having seperation anxiety with me because he is extremely needy during the day to the point where I can't even go to the bathroom in peace. He's very whiney throughout the day and demanding, constantly following me around. He doesn't like it when I spend time with other people, such as family members or their kids. I don't hang out with friends/love interests while I have him. His father claims that he has no behavorial problems while with him to the point where he doesn't even have to discipline him. He also said (and this just kills me) that our son goes to bed at 7:00 or 7:30 and sleeps through the night until 7:00 the next morning. This is not fair.

I guess I need to know what the best thing to do is.
I have put him in my bed in the past because I live on the third floor of an apartment and feel terrible for my neighbors. Should I put him in my bed until the seperation anxiety goes away.

Please help!!!
In Topics: Anxiety, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Dr.Monika
Jan 16, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Going between households is very stressful for children of all ages.  Perhaps even more so for toddlers who don't understand the new family dynamics.  One of the most important thing is to keep your child's routines the same.  Routines provide predictability thus a sense of safety and security.  Also practice  consistent discipline (a system of teaching) to help your child thrive.

Suggested reading:

Practicing healthy discipline

http://www.pluggedinparents.com/component/content/article/172

Best regards.
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Additional Answers (1)

DrWSchwartz
DrWSchwartz writes:
Children regress under stressful circumstances. Very small children do not have the words to tell us what is bothering them so they will often show us with their behavior. They will become less developed in their coping skills, they will lose skills they once had (potty training, sleeping through the night etc..). They may cling more, tantrum more, lose the ability to calm themselves. Of course a child under the age of two has limited self soothing skills anyway. Your child may be very stressed. The stress may or may not be coming from your home. Sometimes, when children are stressed outside the home (school, daycare, at another caregivers house) they show their worst behavior back at home. Do you and your ex get along? How do you interact with each other in front of your child? Do you have any information on the environment your toddler is living in while he is not with you? What type of schedule and routine is used there? Is it vastly different from yours. Is the environment in both homes, calm, peaceful, predictable and drug and alcohol free. Your baby needs lots of focus and attention during this time.

If you are able to have a reasonable conversation with your ex, you would be wise to sit down and discuss the routines and schedules used at both houses. Keeping things as similar as possible will help. Working together to look for clues as to what might be stressful to your child will also help. If you are not able to communicate without causing each other harm, I would recommend you use your attorneys or mediators to communicate for you.

If your child spends time at daycare or another caregivers home try to find out how he behaves when he is there? Frightened, clingy? Fearful of social interactions. Or is he generally happy and ready for play.

If there seems to be no additional cause for the stress, it is possible your toddler is reacting to the stress of his parents separating. The adjustment will take time and the child will need lots of extra reassurance, holding, love and support during the difficult process. Just like anyone going through the dissolution of a family, this is a grief process. Your little one has to grieve too.
> 60 days ago

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