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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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My 2 year old and 6 year old show signs of separation anxiety

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My 2 year old and 6 year old show signs of separation anxiety now that I've extended visitation to their father for them to be with him away from home from fridays 8am - saturday 6pm. I want to increase this time to Thursday nights - Saturday Afternoons, but my 6 year old cries and yells no when I try to discuss with him and my 2 year old now upon returning from his fathers visitation clings to me like he's affraid I'm going to disappear. He has stopped wondering from me to play with friends and his brother and will not leave my side after he returns from his dads. If I increase the visitation from thursday nights - Saturday afternoons to where they will not be with me or in their home and only with their father, what can I expect to be the long term potential negative effects?

What can the father and I do to minimize the negative affects on the children with increasing this visitation time?
It doesn't seem to me that your kids are ready to extend visits at this time. They are definitely showing signs of distress with the current schedule. There are things their father can do that should help. The biggest thing is to spend time with them having positive, fun interactions. He can play games, visit the park, with the older one, play some board games. Often dads have trouble focusing their attention on kids. They tend to be distracted by chores or activities they enjoy, and don't always realize the kids need attention. Moms, on the other hand, generally know what's going on with their kids, even if they are elbow deep in a project. That helps kids feel important and safe. If dad is distracted and not interacting enough with them, it becomes very stressful. Hopefully, their dad will be willing to be closer to his boys.
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