Separation Anxiety?

Who is that looking at me?

I’m starting to notice some signs of what is traditionally called “separation anxiety” with Alaina—she starts to call/complain if she can’t see me, turns away from other people if she doesn’t want someone else to hold her, flops around at night until her hand is touching me, that kind of thing. Anyway, it made me think of the following quote that I had saved to post about it. From an article by the same name by Naomi Aldort in the May/June 2011 issue of Natural Life:

“By nature, there is no such thing as ‘separation anxiety.’ Instead, there is a healthy need of a child to be with her mother. Only a deprivation of a need creates anxiety. If we honor the need for as long as their child needs it, no anxiety develops. The concept ‘separation anxiety’ is the invention of a society that denies a baby and child’s need for uninterrupted connection. In this vein, we can deprive a child of food and describe her reaction as ‘hunger anxiety,’ or we can let her be cold and call her cries ‘temperature anxiety.'”

I loved this. What a strange society we have that defines a baby’s normal and wholly biologically appropriate need to be with its mother, as “anxiety.” I always call a baby that wants to be with its mother a smart baby, not a baby that has “separation anxiety.” 🙂

4 thoughts on “Separation Anxiety?

  1. Very nice quote, and right. I always felt that way when I wasn’t a parent.
    My son was well loved and never left with anyone whe he was a baby. He had normal fits when he didn’t get what he wanted. Now he is tweve and thing have not progressed “normally”. He still sleeps with us, when we try to break him of this and tell him he has to sleep in his ow room, he will stand by the door quietly. I will wake up a couple of hours after I believe he is asleep in his bed and find him standing inside our bedroom With very dark circles under his eyes, shivering like he is freezing (we have no air conditioner). Now, right off hand I would not call that healthy need of a child to be with her mother. your article says that only a deprivation of a need creates anxiety. If we honor the need for as long as their child needs it, no anxiety develops. Ma’am we have honored that need to be with his mother for twelve years, now, normally an honor roll student, he refuses to go to school. If his mother needs to go to the market he screams and throws a terrible fit and will not allow her to leave. When she gives in he is very rude and mean to her, causing very embarassing scenes. This boy has a lot of anxiety. would you call that normal?

    • No, I wouldn’t really call that normal. It sounds like there is something going on that needs to be addressed. I’m not sure how–blaming or shaming will probably just make it worse. Perhaps a counselor would be able to help.

    • I am very saddened by your sons situation. I am praying for peace for him. The depth of his anxiety really pains me. I hope you are not offended by my offer to pray for him. Sometimes it’s the only answer. May God bless you richly.
      A Friend Indeed

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