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Separation Anxiety?

My 4 year old daughter has always given me a hard time when I have to leave her or she has to go to preschool. Recently she went to a new daycare for the summer and was doing terrific but suddenly she started to show signs of anxiety. I ignored them at first because I didn't want it to make it even worse. Eventually, she started to become terribly upset about going to daycare, she cried all day when she was there and was depressed about it throughout the day when she was home. She brought up daycare incessantly, asking questions, wishing she had never agreed to go there, pleading with me not to make her go and even tried to have a positive attitude at times by saying “I am going to have fun” out of nowhere. I thought it was just separation anxiety so I tried to stay consistent and make her go but finally took her out because the sadness was becoming overwhelming and I started to attribute it to the school. Now, it’s almost time to go back to her regular preschool in the fall and she has started crying and obsessing over that too. I can tell it is on her mind all the time and don’t know how to persevere by making her go and comfort her at the same time. She’s always given me a hard time on and off when she had to go to school (we have tried 3 in her 4 years so far!). I would cry the whole way to work and feel tense all day until it was time for my mother or myself to pick her up. Her obsessiveness concerns me and I feel she is “making” herself dislike school with her constant negative thoughts. I was afraid that pulling her out of the summer daycare would make her feel that she could get out of going to school if she carried on enough. She’s with my mom all summer and has exactly what she wanted! Now I am afraid she will do it with her regular school. I am sensitive to her feelings but it’s beginning to wear on me because I can’t seem to do anything to help her realize that school is fun and that she has to go whether she likes it or not. I don’t want to be cold but am afraid that if I appear too sensitive it may just make it worse. In the meantime I feel sick inside and am becoming anxious myself! Please help, I would appreciate any advice you can give!!!!

Re: Separation Anxiety?

Marlene my heart goes out to you. Some kids are just clingy. I know I was as a child and I kind of just grew out of it. Just try to be as sensitive as possible, don't make her feel like a baby.

Have you spoken to the teacher to see if anything has happened? Bullying comes to mind, is there any evidence that she is afraid of someone. She might be afraid that the same thing might happen at her regular preschool too. Anyway try to find out if something has happened. It could be something else like she doesn't like the toilet, or nap time if they have that.

The other thing that might help is playdates outside of daycare. If she has a special friend there it might make it more appealing to go. Playdates can really establish great friendships for your child.

I really hope things improve and let us know what happens.