You ever find yourself running late for work because your little one is having a meltdown because you are leaving the house without them? Well I have! Recently I have found out my little one suffers from Seperation Anxiety Disorder. It is a condition that causes a child to experience extreme discomfort when being separated from parents or caregivers. It is common for children to experience anxiousness separating from their parent especially when first starting school or Day Care. For months on top of months my son would ask anxiously, " Who is going to be with me?, "Who is going to pick me up off the bus?, "Who gets off work first? And " Why do you have to leave?" Then he started loosing sleep. He started crying and having meltdowns that would lead me to feel like a bad mother because I couldn't understand what was causing my poor child to act in such a way. He wouldn't sleep in his room or be on another floor in our home without a parent. He would wake 3-5 times a night to ask these questions even though I answered those same questions before he went to sleep. Not until I took Lj to see someone in the Sleep Clinic did I find out that these meltdowns was an effect of having Seperation Anxiety. I was in denial at first, like no way could my child be suffering from Anxiety at such a young age. I then took him to see a Child Psychologist and she confirmed the diagnosis. She said to me, " Ms Brown your child suffers from Seperation Anxiety. Disorder" I was then thinking to myself is it something I did wrong. What is it that I did to cause him to feel this way. Even though the doctor said there was nothing I did to cause the anxiety I felt guilty.
I find myself feeling guilty every time Lj cries or screams in that type of high pitch voice that lets you know that there is pain somewhere in the body except I can't make the pain go away. My son screams and cries and family at one point thought he was just acting out. Watching him scream and cry you would assume that he just needed attention but that is not the case. He needed to have a ritual a routine that would help comfort him when it is time to leave.
If your child suffers with Seperation Anxiety or Seperation Anxiety Disorder, create a ritual to say goodbye or see you later. For me I use a goodbye ritual. I stop and kneel down I tell Lj, "Its time for mommy to go to work. Remember I have to work so that we can have a place to stay warm at night,"I tell him that I will get off at whatever time I get off that week and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't . At times it takes a little more patience . A little more time to hug and kiss him more than usual and a little more reassurance. Still it may not work and yes I have still been late to work because his meltdown lasted more than usual but if you can stick to a ritual and remember to have lots of patience hopefully time will help Lj grow out of this stage in his life. If anyone has suggestions or has a child that suffers with this disorder, share you thoughts and strategies. I can use all the help and knowledge I can get.