The Heartbreak of Separation Anxiety

Every morning baby boy fights to keep his dad near him. It’s as if he thinks that by staying next to him, he’ll prevent him from leaving the house for work. He tries to grab onto his leg, or sometimes he just stands right in his way, making it difficult for my husband to walk around him as he gets ready. Once baby boy sees my husband grab his socks, he goes into full-out guard mode and begins asking to be picked up. It’s cute and sad at the same time.

Toddler Waving Good-Bye

Photo: DaMongMan/Flickr

It breaks my heart (and dad’s) to see our baby boy cry so much over something he can’t quite understand. “Daddy isn’t leaving you forever! He’ll be back…he’s just going to work,” we say each morning. But, I bet it sounds like “Wa wa wa” to him, just like the adults on the Peanuts cartoon.

Unless we happen to get lucky and distract our boy at the exact time dad steps out the door, inevitably baby boy will cry about seeing his daddy leave. Separation anxiety? We’re there.

I remember going through this phase with our older daughter too. She also would cry whenever her dad or I would leave. We literally had to sneak out the door when we dropped her off at my mom’s house before heading to work. But, whether you successfully sneak out, or say good-bye the proper way and deal with the crying aftermath, it still doesn’t feel good.

So, what can we do to ease this separation anxiety? How can we help our baby boy understand his daddy will be back and isn’t leaving him forever? It seems that all the tactics we’re trying still result in baby boy crying, except for my husband sneaking out of the house. I know, though, that sneaking out is not the best way and it doesn’t make my husband or I feel good. Perhaps, we just need to continue to say good-bye, kiss, and hug, and deal with the crying. Maybe one day baby boy will catch on and will just wave bye back!

How have you dealt with your baby’s separation anxiety?

Melanie writes about parenting and life balance at
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