Parents are Asking:
Can Parents Get Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety isn't just a feeling kids get. Does your heart
melt every time you say good bye to your child, but your child seems
to be perfectly fine? Well, believe it or not, parents can suffer
from separation anxiety too. Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley, author of
The No-Cry Separation
Q: ďThe first time I left my baby for a few hours I felt paralyzed
with worry. I went to get my hair cut, and the entire time all I
could think about was Lilly. I was so anxious to go home that I
didnít take time for her to finish styling my hair! It has gotten
somewhat better, but I have still only left my baby for a few short
trips. Is this normal?Ē ~ Mother to 9-month-old Lilly
A: Many new parents are taken by surprise by the intensity of their
connection to their child. Of course, you expect love, but the
passion that fuels the love for your child is much more than many
people expect. The feelings that grow inside you when you hand your
baby over to a sitter or when you watch your preschooler hop aboard
a school bus can run the gamut from worry all the way to outright
The best way to handle your separation anxiety is to first
acknowledge that it is a normal aspect of parental love. Then, take
the steps to be sure your child is in good care when you are apart.
Finally, allow yourself times away from your child without guilt or
Tips for parents who feel separation anxiety
No matter if your anxiety is slight or intense, and whether itís
short-lived or lasts for years, the following ideas can help you
temper your feelings for your own peace of mind as well as your
Accept that a little bit of separation anxiety is healthy.
Donít look to eliminate all your feelings of separation anxiety.
These emotions exist for very good reasons. They will guide you as
you make choices about when and how to leave your child. They will
help you decide if you are choosing the right caregiver and the
right setting. These emotions can keep you close to your child so
that you will know if something is wrong or troubling him. So, donít
wish away all your heartfelt tenderness, it is an important piece of
being a loving parent.
Acknowledge that some separation a good thing for your child.
Itís likely that a part of your anxiety is based on the feeling that
you can take care of your child better than anyone else can. And you
know what? Thatís probably true! However, even if other caregivers
donít do things exactly as you do, itís likely that your child will
adapt and accept these differences. Even more, your childís world
will be filled with people other than you, and itís a wonderful
growing experience for him to learn that different does not mean bad
Ė just different!
As much as you may miss your child, this is a great opportunity to
do things that are easier done without a child attached to your hip.
So donít let the hours pass by nonchalantly. And donít spend the
time absorbed in worry. Make use of the time that your child is away
from you in a healthy and productive way.
to visit Elizabeth's web site and peruse her full range of books and
Parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley is president of Better
Beginnings Inc., a family resource and education company.
frequently speaks to parents in schools, hospitals, and parent
groups, and her presentations are received with enthusiasm and
'Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them
from the ends of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child and The one who labors with child, together,
great throng shall return there...And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.'
Jeremiah 31:8, 14~~~
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