Thursday, July 31, 2014

Separation Anxiety-creating healthy boundaries for your child (and yourself)!


I sometimes feel a bit silly writing on these sort of topics, like I'm an expert mother or something (and I'm definitely not!) Really, I've only been a mom for a little over a year and a half and I'm just sharing with you what I've learned so far!

Today we are talking about separation anxiety. 
What a fun topic, right?

I get anxious myself just thinking about the tears, the chubby outstretched arms, the wailing and, lord have mercy, those pitiful eyes that are begging mom not to leave. Whether we've dealt with it in our own baby/toddler or not, we've all seen it, and it is one of the more heartbreaking things to deal with as a mama!

The ironic thing about separation anxiety is that I'm not sure who is more anxious, mama or toddler. If you're anything like me, you start to worry when you leave your toddler. 

Will she think I've abandoned her?
Is this going to emotionally damage her?
What if she get's hurt?
What if she's hungry?
What if she just wants her mama?
What if people think I'm a bad mom for leaving her?
What if, what if, what if....

So how do we deal with all of this?
Well there are two ways. Some mamas simply respond to their toddler's emotions and never leave their side. They go everywhere with them (including the bathroom, which I admit I am guilty of at times haha!). This response to separation anxiety reduces the amount of crying, puppy dog eyes, and worried feelings, but I also believe that it can be damaging for both mama and toddler!

The second response is to speak truth to your toddler and into your own mind and not allow emotions to control your decision. So often as mothers, we respond emotionally to our children. Our responses come from the heart, and are often good, but they aren't always what's best for them or for us! That's where truth comes in.

Here are some truths we need to tell our children (and ourselves) in those seasons where separation is causing anxiety. 

You will be fine without mama for a few hours.
Mama will ALWAYS come back.
Leaving doesn't mean I don't love you.
It's healthy for you to learn to function without mama's constant presence.
It's healthy for mama to learn to function without toddler's constant presence.
You will probably have so much fun you will forget I'm gone (always happens!)
When I return, we will have so much fun together!

Whenever I leave my daughter with her grandma, aunt, or a friend, I always have to remind myself of these truths. It's hard to walk out the door when my child is crying and asking for me. But I always know that in a few minutes she will be just fine. It's so freeing to know that she can play with someone other then me at times and that I can spend a few hours doing things alone as well!

When you speak truth into your mind and heart, there is no guilt, only confidence that you are doing the right thing, even if it is difficult at times! Keep up the good work mama!

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Dealing with separation anxiety can be tough for any mama.  Be sure to check out the other mamas in our series for their helpful posts.  If you've got a post on separation anxiety, don't forget to link it up with us below!
July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

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Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

3 comments:

  1. Love the list of things to tell yourself and your toddler, so true!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved this! I need to start talking to Ais more like that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This list is very helpful, thank you for posting it. I am experiencing this now with my 10 month old who is becoming very clingy. While I am excited that he is showing his emotions and love for me, it does make it very difficult to drop him off at daycare every morning.

    ReplyDelete

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