I need some advice. My son who has just turned 5 has been struggling with separation anxiety. It was isolated to just his school but is now affecting every aspect of his life. He will not let me leave him at play dates or at his hockey practice...even his best friends birthday party.
We have two other children an 8 year old and a 1 year old.
He keeps saying he is afraid that when i am not near he thinks I will die... I am not sure what to do. I tried negative reinforcement and positive...today I stooped to my all time low of sneaking out...He knows I get upset when he cries and the teachers have to hold him...
I would appreciate any advice.
Actually, we have seen similar posts like this over the years from parents with new little ones. Ask yourself, has he always been like this or is it a recent thing.
Typically, in this situation, he has been the sole one getting your attention for the past 5 years. And, for that matter, until recently your new little one slept alot, but is now taking more of your time. And some kids just don't deal well with going from getting lots of moms attention to getting a lot less attention.
What happens after you leave him at preschool (he is in preschool right? - not kindergarten?). After you are gone, does he stay sad all day long or is he soon out playing? If he changes to a normal kind of kid once you are out of sight or within say 30 min. then this is easier to deal with. If he stays like this all day long - then it is a much bigger problem.
You might try calling his bluff (not at school) but at something he really should like. And say, ok I can't stay so I will take you back home with me. And do it.
One thing to try. Realize that kids don't really know how to talk about what is bothering them. So they cry. There is a great set of books that are meant to be read aloud (you do read aloud to him every night right?) that help teach kids how to communicate and act. Its "the way I feel" books and a good starting one might be "when I feel sad" which can be found here - http://www.amazon.com/When-Feel-Sad-The-Books/dp/0807588997/ref=pd_sim_b_5
And if you scroll down that page you will find other good suggestions.
Of course, if he has been kind of getting short changed in the attention cycle (understandable), paying him some more attention at night while reading to him will also help. And talk to him how he has to be a big brother to his new little bro/sister and not scare her with his crying.
Finally, I don't know past history. If this is something that has come on just recently. You should be able to cure it. If this has been going on for the past 3 or so years, then it will be much harder to take care of.
Hope some of this will help.
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