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DD (10) seems to have separation anxiety

(3 Posts)
notanothercheesesandwich Sat 02-Apr-16 14:32:03

Dd often becomes tearful at bedtime and leaving for sch. When I try to find out why she often says she doesn't know. She has said a few times that she worries about leaving me, but she cant really explain why. She generally is happy and active and goes to lots of activities usually with lots of enthusiasm. She has struggled with friendships at school so it doesn't always feel like a happy safe place. When she last said that I went with her to speak to dep head so they can start working on strategies in sch - I dont hold out much hope with that though as its all been said before.

When I go to say goodnight to her she just goes sad and starts to well up. It does make me reluctant to go in as it seems to set her off and its like she is looking for things to be sad about. I tend to try and talk about the good points of the day and what will be happening the next.

Has anyone has this with their children? Any suggestions?

sadie9 Sat 02-Apr-16 15:24:02

My daughter has this when she was younger. I researched separation anxiety a lot at the time, and what I found was that in fact the child is very worried about leaving you, because they worry about your safety and the fact that they can't 'control' their mum by being able to see them.
Once they are out of sight of you (like in school) the child forgets about the anxiety and is perfectly happy. The need for control of a person often is much stronger when the person is in the presence of the person doing the worrying. They only want to control to keep the person safe.
At age 10 she is developing her emotional system as well, so these things can reoccur at this age. However she may not be able to articulate what the problem is because it's not clear to her.
What can help is by reassuring the part of her brain that is worried, by telling her how you are going to spend your time (include safety and security in the statements, and that you will be doing 'boring' things). This will hopefully put a 'safe' image in her mind. By telling her the Boring thing you are going to be doing, means that she is not missing on a shared good time between you two.
So say good night to her and then tell her you will be safe and sound downstairs watching XYZ Boring TV program or doing the ironing. Her mind needs a picture of you being safe and doing a familar task so it knows you are okay.
Likewise when she leaves for school, tell her she'll have a great day at school while 'I am safe and sound at work, doing XYX Boring things', or 'I am safe and sound here at home doing the hoovering and making the dinner/working on the computer'.
I know it sounds childish or unnecessary saying to her 'I will be safe and sound downstairs....while you go to sleep' but this is in fact the reassurance her brain is looking for.

treaclesoda Sat 02-Apr-16 15:29:00

My dd is like this too. Not so much with going to school, but with bedtime and me going to work, and all sorts of other things. Eg today I parked in a car park about 10m away from a cash machine because I wanted to withdraw money. She started panicking about me going to the machine without her, even though she could see me the whole time. Frankly I am exhausted at ten solid years of not being allowed out of her sight. Yet I feel so sorry for her, because I know it's real to her.

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