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Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3706
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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My 21 month old daughter has very bad separation anxiety. When

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My 21 month old daughter has very bad separation anxiety. When my husband or I leave her with anybody else or at school she usually ends up in tears. But also with her grandparents, when we visit them she goes straight to them and refuses to leave their arms, obviously shes fond of them but she will avoid my husband and I completely and when we need to leave she perfomrs and cries and refuses to leave. When we make a suggestion to leave her there for a while she then cries to come with us. Its very strange and makes it very difficult for us to visit people shes fond of without it ending in tears etc. Could it be something serious or could something have triggered it?
help

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear of your concern about this. Having worked with children and families for 35 years, I would say that this is not anything to worry about.

Customer:

So it is normal behaviour? is there any way to improve it? Or do you think it will pass as she gets older.

Bill :

This is an issue that is very common for children of this age and the fear that you see is what children at this age feel when they see that they are going to be away from parents or others that they trust - such as grandparents.

Bill :

Their little brains have not developed the capacity to understand that you will be returning and they thus feel left and abandoned.

Customer:

Would that also apply to Grandparents? She literally wont even let us hold her when we are visiting her grandparents- she pushes us away. And when we leave its a huge drama and tears.

Bill :

Often this is reinforced, unknowingly by parents who attempt to return and repeatably reassure the child which makes the problem worse.

Bill :

Yes- this applies to all the child has learned to trust and be nurtured by.

Bill :

I am going to give you some information on how to deal with this.

Customer:

That makes sense, thank you so much for your reassurance- I thought perhaps it was something psychological or that she had some sort of resentment towards my husband and I.

Bill :

These tips are very useful if you maintain consistency. (Share with the grandparents also-----because it should be consistent in all areas of the child life) Everyone has to be on the same page.

Bill :

Put this tips into practice and all should be well. This is not a child psychological problem- It is related more to consistent parenting strategies in dealing with the issue.

Customer:

Thank you I appreciate your time and help. I will be sure to let the grandparents know.

Bill :

You are most welcome- My best to you and your Family!

Bill :

Bill

Customer:

Thank you! :)

Bill :

I appreciate you positive rating so that I receive credit for my time

Bill :

you will have a copy of this chat in your email for future reference or forwarding.

Customer:

great! regards

Bill and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you