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Separation anxiety getting out of control

(14 Posts)
TeddyMcardle Wed 24-Oct-12 15:01:26

DS (2.6 yo) has always been clingy to me, so this is not new, but it's just getting worse, especially since I've tried starting him one morning a week at preschool.

He's never been able to get to sleep on his own at night, even now I have to hold his hand as he falls asleep, if I leave him becomes hysterical. He won't calm down.
He has never spent the night with anyone other than me, my DM has tried a few times but he becomes hysterical as soon as it gets dark shouting MUMMY'S HOUSE, sobbing, and so he comes home again.
Even if my DM or a friend is here and I have to pop out, he becomes hysterical.

In Sept I started him a preschool and this has made the problem so much worse. On a bad day in the morning before preschool he'll scream 'sick mummy' 'bed mummy' 'mummy's house'. When he is like this I still take him to preschool but I stay with him and he'll be fine as long as he can see me. If I go into the preschool kitchen he becomes hysterical again.

Now when we are out together he starts screaming to go back to 'mummy's home' he used to love being out but now he just asks to come home. Also when we start the day and I say that we have to go to the shops, or out for any reason at all he'll become upset and start shouting 'mummy's house' again.

And when we are at home! He says to me continually in a sort of contented but seeking assurance voice, 'home again, home again' probably a hundred times a day.

I don't know what to do! I don't know whether to take him out of preschool, put him in more often, talk to the health visitor, carry on and wait it out! Has anyone had any experience with this?

Goldmandra Wed 24-Oct-12 20:57:53

He sounds very anxious.

Do you have any other concerns about his behaviour or development?

theynevershutup Wed 24-Oct-12 21:07:14

My DD was extremely clingy and nervous and used to follow me around the house constantly and cry if I was out of sight for even a second. Couldn't even go to the toilet at toddler group without taking her with me or she was hysterical. People told me to take her to nursery it would do her good etc, but I didn't feel she was ready until she was 3.5 when she started at pre-school. She had a few wobbles and tears at first but then settled down. She is now 4.5 and has just started reception with no problems at all, hasn't cried once. Just go with your gut feeling of what you think is best, she is like a different child now and it was just a phase (although it did last 3 years!).

TeddyMcardle Thu 25-Oct-12 17:26:10

theynever yes my gut instinct is to take him out it's too much for him. But face stiff opposition from my DM and his Dad if I do, so wanted to ask a few different sources first. But it is something I'm thinking a lot about. Good to know it does pass for some though thank you smile

gold that is my concern his level of anxiety for a two year old seems too much, it seems almost more than separation anxiety as he keeps fixating on coming home, I don't know what to do for the best to help him see that everything is going to be alright.

juneau Thu 25-Oct-12 17:30:30

I think I would speak to the HV, if you feel s/he could help. It does sound like an extreme level of anxiety in a 2-year-old.

Goldmandra Thu 25-Oct-12 20:32:49

Perhaps you could give him some reassurance in the form of a pictorial schedule so he can see what you are doing now and next. You could us a board showing pictures to represent activities and talk him through them regularly through the day.

Maybe if he know that after doing x you will be going home he will feel less anxious about being out.

It might also help him to have warning and an countdown of what you're doing at home and when you're going out.

beyondcrazy Thu 25-Oct-12 22:31:05

Sorry to hijack your thread but didn't seem worth it to start a new thread with similar title -
My (previously happy, sociable, outgoing) baby has just turned 9 months and goes NUTS if I go out of the room for a second, or even just try to put him down on the floor while I'm still sitting there right next to him. He cries and screams and grabs my legs etc. I'm trying to be understanding but it's making life impossible. I know separation anxiety can last up to two / three (or more) years of age but please tell me it won't be like this the whole time?! Will this really intense phase fade away, and is there anything I can do to make things easier? I don't want to sound selfish but I NEED TO PEE OCCASIONALLY!!!!

Goldmandra Fri 26-Oct-12 00:04:48

It will get better once he can move and is able to follow you out of the room.

At the moment when you leave to room you have disappeared out of his life completely and he has no idea that you are just on the other side of that wall and will return in a moment.

Once he has followed you a few times he will be aware of where you go and that you will be coming back and he will calm down a bit.

Goldmandra Fri 26-Oct-12 00:05:48

Oh and peeing in private? That's a thing of the past - sorry!

addictedtolatte Fri 26-Oct-12 00:17:10

no good advice here just reasurance it does get better. my ds was like that from 1 till 4 hes a lot better now almost 5. q have another stalker in the form of my 16 month dd lol.

karensb Fri 26-Oct-12 08:04:21

My dd was always like that at that age and it started at 6 weeks when no one was allowed to look at her or she would cry...it was hard work. She is now an extremely confident 6 year old with the lead solo singing role in her school play . I would never have thought it was possible.

You must trust your gut instinct...my friends thought I was mad but it worked for us in the end. So from about 9 months this is what I had to do,

I had somewhere to put her down in each room and literally took her with me wherever I went.

I did not send he to pre school until just over 3 and even then only 2 mornings and to a lovely nurturing small one. I moved her to a more a different pre school that would prepare her for reception when she was more confident.

She clung to my legs at toddler groups, friends houses etc and I just let her. I did not expect much but made sure I just relaxed.

We took it in turns to sit with her every night holding her hand till she fell asleep. Was hell but stopped around 3.5 years.

When she was particularly clingy she was allowed to send the night in our bed and just given loads of cuddles. It really seemed to help.

It was really hard but I realised I had to fight it which would destroy her confidence or just ride it out. My 6 month old ds is nothing like her an d happy to be on his own etc. it's just her personality.

Good luck.

karensb Fri 26-Oct-12 08:05:47

Oh and I never got to go out in the evenings as she used to wake at 9pm almost to check I was still there an dif it was someone else she would freak out!

Tamdin Fri 26-Oct-12 08:24:46

Hi teddy, just wanted to add my reassure. I have had a ds like this and it does pass eventually. I tried when he was 2years and 9 months to settle him into a pre school and it didn't work. It made his separation anxiety even worse and he became very nervous about things that he'd previously been happy about. I took him out of pre school in the end and we tried a year later and he was so much better. He did cry a few times the first week but he settled much more quickly and he had a lovely pre school year.
He's now a very happy and outgoing 7 year old. For us it was about constant reassurance that there was nothing to worry about and we were there for him.
I too faced pressure from family to throw him in at the deep end into certain situations but I trusted my gut that that was not the right thing to do for his personality type. It is very hard work but they get through in the end.

Tamdin Fri 26-Oct-12 08:27:41

Oh and to add to what karensb said I have a ds2 who is 22months and is totally different. He pushes me out the door at his gran's house because he wants me to go!

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