Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

Written by: Katie Sprunger

 

I watched him walk back upstairs. This four-year-old sweetie needed his hugs and kisses and good nights for literally the tenth time. And that look of panic was still etched in his eyes. “Mommy, who is going to be here in the morning? Are you going to work? Who is taking me to school and picking me up? Why are you leaving? Ok mommy, I love you. Good night.”

This past Fall and specifically a little over a month ago my family had some changes that left me being gone more than normal. My kids have never had big separation anxiety issues. They’ve been socialized in many different settings with different people. They have always seemed fairly confident when I’ve left them at places like Sunday school, preschool, or even a friend’s house for a play date.

So you can imagine, I was baffled how to handle my four year old who was “freaking out” because I was leaving. A couple of nights he even woke up in the middle of the night to come feel my feet in my bed. It was like he needed the security knowing I was still there. I felt frustrated and asked myself a lot of different questions. “Why in the world is he going through this? Has he been too sheltered? Am I not giving him enough attention at home?” I wasn’t sure what the answers were.

During this, I had to cancel going to a friend’s house one evening for a party. I knew that I needed to stay home with my son. I texted my friend and apologetically canceled and explained the situation. She wrote back words that were medicine to my wondering momma heart. “Katie, this is so good for your son to go through this. He is growing in this season. It is hard to watch him struggle, but it is good for him. And honestly, it’s good for you too.” Hmmm… good for me and good for him? I had to ponder that some.

Since then, I stopped feeling like I needed an answer. I’ve spent A LOT of time reassuring him that I will always come back home when I’m gone and that I love him so much. We talk about why some other people have to pick him up at times. And in my free time, I’ve tried to make the conscious effort to just sit with him and hold him. The past two months have been really challenging as a parent to this little guy. Yet, I truly believe this is all for the better.

So if you’re facing change in this New Year and your kids struggle, it’s okay. There may not be an “answer” to fix their worries. However, I believe if we stop trying to find the “perfect answer” and just hold and reassure our kiddos, we might actually find the answer we were all searching for in the beginning.

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