When Your Child is Scared You Won't Come Back

You are just about to walk out the door when your child lunges grabbing your leg, wailing for you not to leave her.

With strong feelings of guilt and doubt you remove her, tell her you love her and walk out the door. The night is hardly enjoyable as you are plagued with the questions of wonder, "Am I a good parent?"

Children don't understand the toll their actions take on you. They are concerned only with their point of view. That point of view is that you are all they know. You are the one who soothes their cries, keeps them warm, feeds them, clothes them and bathes them. And you just walked out the door. No wonder they are a little upset.

Their worries can be compounded if they have other fears. If one parent left the home they may be scared that you to will leave and not come back.

But these early separations begin to plant the seeds of independence that every child needs. Learning to overcome separation anxiety can be a hurdle you tackle as a team.

Tips To Leaving

  1. If you go to the same place each week, take your child once so they can see where you will be and that you are safe.
  2. If possible set up a time that you will call. This reassures them that you are okay. If it is nighttime, try to call shortly before their bedtime.
  3. On the day before your outing sit down and talk about why your child becomes upset when you leave. Often you will be able to dispel or deal with these fears.
  4. Make sure that your child feels safe. Teach them how to use the phone to call you. Show them where first aid kits are and how to use emergency numbers.
  5. Children learn about violence through music and television. They fear you are susceptible to violence. Remember children have wild and vivid imaginations. Review their "media habits" to ensure this isn't adding to the problem.

This article was reprinted with permission from Single Parenting in the Nineties. Copyright 1995 by Pilot Publishing. All rights reserved. This article may be printed out for personal use but may not be reproduced in any other manner, including electronic, without prior written consent from Pilot Publishing. Permission requests may be submitted to Brook Noel.

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