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Building resilience/ reducing anxious attatchment(3 Posts)
I am the lucky mother of a lovely 19 month old girl. I went through some trauma during her pregnancy and experienced postnatal anxiety when she was first born. I know that my illness has left a footprint in her early experiences, I always loved her desperately but I lived with my heart in my mouth, she has always been a little velcro baby needing to be held, needing her mummy and nervous of new things. Being in the same room isnt enough often she would like to be held, I am happy for lots of cuddles but know that she does need to be able to branch out too.I was to anxious to leave her alone with friends or family members except for her dad for a long time and even then only for short periods with either of our parents. we spent lots of time with them all together, but my little girl always seemed to want to stay very close to me and I think struggled to make bonds of attachment with others. I sought help and am now able to be the strong anchor of reassurance that I wish I could have been from the start. I now have a little girl with a huge and possibly anxious attachment to me which sometimes makes life hard for her, ie things like her one nursery day per week are often a big struggle for her (I'm not able to use a childminder due to my work). she has started bonding with the staff but asks repeatedly where i am when im coming back and cries not just at drop off etc I try to make things as consistent and supportive as i can but i work changing shifts which are out of my control which is hard for her.
What advice can you offer me on things I can do to help build in her peace, resilience and a little independence and so that life is a little easier on her.
Thank you xxx
I think one day at nursery a week is hard for any child, as it is not often enough to become a familiar routine. So don't worry too much about how she is coping with that as it sounds perfectly normal.
She is still very young, even though it is draining for you, she will likely just move into a new stage when she's ready.
In an ideal world I would say increase nursery to a few mornings a week - but obviously that depends on money and work and not really something you can control.
Also give yourself a time frame - say maybe by the time she's three things will be different.
Hope that's of some help!
My little girl was always a velcro baby, who struggled with new things and was easily overwhelmed. No bad birth or post-birth experience here, I think it's just the way she is - so you may be blaming yourself unfairly.
From 2.5, she suddenly changed, and became much more independent. She's still sensitive - hates too much noise, and doesn't like being crowded.. But there are positives too: she's sensible, listens to what I say
usually, stays close when out and about, and is very gentle with other children. And she gives lots of amazing cuddles
Obviously, I don't know what helped - probably mostly just growing up a bit. But things I did try to do were:
1.always be very responsive, and hold/cuddle her whenever she wanted. We did lots of toddler classes where she was the only one still being held in arms, but I believe that meeting dependency needs is important to develop true independence
(still keep firm, clear boundaries about behaviour, of course - but the boundaries are about behaviours, not feelings)
2.Talk a lot about feelings, name and explain emotions, explain that it's OK to feel abc, but not OK to do xyz
3.try to allow her to do things whenever it's possible e.g.helping you pour milk into her cup, put up washing, also encouraging her on playground equipment
and walls, steps, gates, anything you can climb on since competence is the biggest true boost to confidence
4.really listening to her and always responding when she speaks. This was actually to encourage her speech (which was a bit slow initially) but I can see now that it not only helped with that but also really increased her confidence
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