Ask Dr. Ada: Separation Anxiety

Separation AnxietyDear Dr. Ada:

Without warning, my son, 18 months, has started crying every time we go somewhere. He is also not comfortable with other people coming to our home. Our pediatrician has been kind, but unhelpful.

How can we help him?


Your son manifests separation anxiety.

He may have had some unpleasant experience at one of the places where you left him. It may have been a real bad experience or only perceived as such; you will never know. But he cries in protest and fear whenever he thinks that you are going to leave him with somebody else.

His clingy behavior may also reflect a strong desire for attachment. He may have strong feelings, and at 18 months he wants to be either with you or with his mom and there is nothing unusual about that; this is quite normal.

Whenever you leave the house he is afraid that you are going to leave him with someone else and he shows you his displeasure the only way he can, by crying.

Try to spend more time with him, if you can, during those early years, to establish a strong and secure sense of attachment between you and your child.

You can learn more about the importance of the mother-child relationship in my book, The Drama of the Mother-Child Bond: What Every Woman Should Know about Motherhood, Career and Children available on Amazon.

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