Severe separation anxiety and now overcome by guilt.(5 Posts)
We've finally hit the nail on the head and now know what has been causing our 4yo DD's 'bad behaviour' and now I just feel incredibly guilty.
We emigrated last year, left everyone except my parents behind. Our routine has completely changed, I have been at home with the children for nearly a year now, my parents who used to provide childcare while both DH and I were at work, now no longer provide any type of babysitting, despite literally doing nothing it's just not OK for me to leave a child with them for any reason. DD refuses to go to bed, it takes me around an hour to leave her at Kindergarten, I cannot go out of sight, and she frequently tells me she doesn't want to be alone. She will say something/anything hurts, so I have to carry her around with me. If we are out and about, she insists on me carrying her, and doesn't want to risk getting lost because of walking alongside me.
I've been doing a lot of reading, and generally feel awful now. I've been having alarm bells ringing for a while and feel like I should have put my foot down earlier. I've been saying that she will be too reliant on me if no-one else ever looks after her o that the children will think that they can't be away from me, that she needs time to settle in to Kindergarten not to just be thrown into it. That whatever is going on with her, is not just her being a "spoilt brat".
Right now I have convinced her to lay down in my bed and watch tv, in the hope she will fall asleep, my thinking is, it's a step closer to her actually going to bed, any bed, rather than falling asleep at my feet on the beanbag. I just feel like this could have been avoided, and worse still I'm not even sure where to begin in making her feel more comfortable.
As your parents had such input before you relocated and are still nearby it's a shame they have utterly stopped having your DD - not for your convenience but for continuity and DD's sake. Of course they have their own lives I don't mean you should take them for granted but with such a big move it could have helped DD feel somethng in her new world was familiar.
By asking to be carried she reverts back to being "the baby" for now she probably needs it, emotionally.
On the bright side you don't mention bed-wetting or diminished appetite so the areas of concern are chiefly clinginess and bedtime sleep avoidance. I think the latter is not uncommon at any age throughout childhood so you should ease up on some of this guilt you are feeling, it's not all down to you emigrating.
Have you tried the good-luck charm technique? something small she can touch that she can wear or fit into a pocket to give her confidence while you're out of her sight at Kindergarten.
To avoid cabin fever for you both I am sure you get outside at least once a day, take her on ordinary errands to the shops etc but also incorporate something like a swingpark or swimming pool?
You mention children plural, is her sibling older or younger?
If you have emigrated is there also a language issue outside home? Just thinking she may feel anxious because people aren't speaking English - are you able to have play dates, do you let her watch television and have the radio on in the car so she gets an ear for the language?
My parents are literally downstairs, we have a "2 family house" We moved last July, and in that time they have looked after the children once, when we had to fill the car on an ikea trip. Other than that, nothing, and I think that possibly DD misses the really close relationship she had with my Dad. If Mummy couldn't make X better, grumps could, but now everything is Mummy. It was an alternative for her and certainly reassuring.
We joked at the time, but I got concert tickets for my birthday (from DH), and my parents said rather than buying me a present they would babysit, we told my Mother in Law in England, just in passing (I know she misses the kids, but she's been getting a little annoyed that my parents seem to be taking them for granted) she called back and said "you now have a willing babysitter, I'll be there". I actually cried.
We also have DS, who is 6, and has settled quite well. We're in Germany now and yes there is a language barrier for everyone except my Dad. Both the children have teachers in their classes who speak English. DS has managed to pick up enough German to feel comfortable at Kindergarten and talk with his friends. They started together in the same room, and sometimes, just to get her in, we have to go to his class, which Kindergarten are fine with, but he will be leaving soon to start school.
DD is somewhat more introverted, she prefers smaller groups of children, and so she doesn't have any close friendships as of yet, which I didn't think anything of as she was similar at nursery in England. She is exposed to a lot of German, in the car, at Kindergarten, my Uncle who visits at least once a week, and DS is speaking more of it at home. My cousin has children who she likes very much, but both are older boys and prefer playing with DS.
DD always takes something with her to Kindergarten, a teddy or a toy, and when I pick her up it's not usually far away. We have a massive garden, have a sandpit, swing set, goals, trampoline and in an attempt to stop naps and going to bed late because of it, we're normally in the garden for a couple of hours a day. I've also noticed that if she is in the garden my Dad will soon appear from nowhere, and I try and step back a bit, and let it be just them. She generally hates shopping, and being out and about, even if I have a trolley she is more insistent on being carried. I have taken to bringing the buggy out with us again, as I have a rotator impingement on the shoulder I have to carry her with, needless to say it's excruciating. DH is not allowed to carry her, or push the buggy.
She's a terrible eater, but she lives off of cheese, marmite, and for the past couple of weeks every dinner has been chicken dippers, but it's an improvement, as I have only been able to get lunch into her up until now. I clearly spoke way too soon when she was little, as she was fantastic!
I'm actually starting a new job next month, as unfortunately needs must. I'm just not sure whether we need a fresh start or if DD is going to need to be eased into it. It will be very similar to when we were in the England. My parents will be looking after the children full time this time, my Dad will be taking her to Kindergarten like how he did with nursery in England, Mummy and Daddy working together again.
I am no expert but you seem to have considered lots of ways to make DD feel comfortable. The new job will force your hand so to speak and she will have to getaccustomedto you not being around as much. I still wonder if the change from lots of grandparent input to much less has been a factor. Well you will see how things go with your DF and DM.
It sounds as if DS had settled in well. Maybe in time he'll make friends who happen to have little sisters - but she'll get her own chums eventually.
Hopefully you'll be able to cut back on carrying DD as you are in pain from your shoulder. No point injuring yourself long term for indulging her in the short term.
I have spoken to both the children about me having to return to work, DS only got upset of the prospect of not being able to play on our tablet, DD asked where she would be and who with.
I've also been trying where ever possible to have Daddy do things for her, not always working, but sometimes it does.
I think the buggy will need to remain for a little while, it's at least a little distance from me, although hand holding walking would be much better, but it's a start.
I've also spoken to Kindergarten and once DS goes to school, DD will be in his old class, with his old teachers (the first environment she knew) full time, and hopefully lessen the blow of him not being around.
And bedtime, I know it's less than ideal, but we do seem to be having some joy, that half past 8 comes, and it's bedtime and she goes to a bed, albeit my bed, with my little pony on and as of yet she hasn't fallen asleep without me, but neither has she come out and will lay on her own.
Now I just need to get my mum to understand that she can't undo all the work I'm putting in now.
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