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Sudden separation anxiety in 4 year old.

Peopleplease · 31/01/2018 22:04

I’m not actually sure what it is!

Recently DD has brought up death/dying a little bit. She refers to it ‘dead like Cinderella’s mom’. My Dad is dead as well and we’ve mentioned him being in the stars. That’s the background.

Saturday 2 weeks ago, completely normal day until bedtime. DH puts 4 year old to bed, I put 1 year old. Can’t switch as 1 year old is still breastfeeding.

DD asks for ‘one more kiss and hug’ and gets increasingly more and more hysterical till DH had to hold her in her room to stop her running back to me.
Sunday DH is taking both girls to his parents and she again gets really upset at leaving me.
That was 2 weeks ago. She has been fine going to school and ballet and PIL took her to soft play.

Today PIL were babysitting the 1 year old. A little while after 4 year old and I came home they started saying goodbye at which point DD became hysterical again! 2 minutes after they actually left she was fine.

What is this?? She’s genuinely really upset and it’s horrible. I feel so bad for her.

To help with school (it’s pre-school) I put a note in her lunchbox everyday. What else can I do?

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HappyHippyHippo · 01/02/2018 12:52

If it’s any comfort, this was a phase we went through. Utterly preoccupied with death and periodically clingy and hysterical where previously happy and confident.

It was worst at bedtime (“Mummy don’t die!” Followed by escalating hysteria). I have 3 dc (she’s the eldest) and I’m pretty strict about bedtime as OH was working a lot of evenings at the time and I physically don’t have enough time and hands for monkey business.

But she was so very distressed that we ignored all the boundaries and stroked to sleep every night for 3 months. (Obviously the transition back to normal when the phase abated was tiresome).

It was a phase. It passed. She’s 5 and a half now it’s it’s been fine for some months.

I guess if she’s missing you specifically because of her sibling, you could breast feed in her room while she gets ready for bed, depending how independently she does that. That’s what I do- that way I can still read dd a story whilst feeding or while the baby ‘listens’ too and it’s a bit less like the baby has taken Mummy away. Or if she can’t yet get herself ready then some nights DH could start the process off and you and baby could come in for story/tucking in/whatever. That way she still has a bit of you at bedtime.

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