Counselling by Shabina Welde
I am a working mother. My child (1 year and 6 months)cries when I leave home. I am torn between quietly slipping out and saying ‘bye’ and maybe letting him cry a bit (he has a good nanny). The other problem is, he is insisting on suckling (he was a breast-fed baby) all the time that I am there which makes me very tired and tied down. If I don’t give way, he screams the place down. Please advise
Shabina Welde advises
Babies show signs of separation anxiety as early as 6 or 7 months, but sometimes it gets worse around a year and half, when they figure out that they are separate identities from their mothers. The chance to be independant conflicts with the need to rely on the mother, making the child confused.
Is it possible that the emotional upset you’re reading into your baby’s crying is actually yours? Do you automatically assume that your child is crying for you because you feel guilty about leaving? These aren’t easy questions, of course, but first answer them honestly. Also, try and consider if your kind of work allows for part-time options; financially, can your family survive on one income? if it can, could you consider staying home? if not, you might want to do what scores of other working women do – MANAGE!!!
Has your nanny been with you long? How well does your baby know her? Do you have in-laws/parents/aunts or uncles who would be willing to babysit? Even that might not please your baby, but at least he will be with people he knows.
In case your baby is not yet familiar with the nanny, please ensure that you give them enough time, in your presence, to get to know each other.
THE GOODBYE TECHNIQUE
Always, always say goodbye!!! The tactic of ‘Distract then flee’ is ABSOLUTELY WRONG! Kiss and hug your baby when you leave and tell him where you’re going and when you’ll be back. At a year and half, children are capable of seeing a pattern and deriving meaning from it. If he sees a half-dozen times, that mommy says bye-bye (cheerfully!!), leaves, then returns, he will be likely to understand that it’s no big deal that mommy goes away. He will know it’s not for good!
Short Goodbyes, please!!! NO long-drawn out farewells. They only confuse him. Certainly no crying in front of the baby. No doubt the nanny will tell you eventually that he stopped crying the minute you were out of sight!
NO RETURNS – When you go, just go! Going back again and again to “check on
the baby” will only upset him, you and the nanny!
Your second issue of constant suckling is probably linked to the fact that your son is insecure about your absence. In my opinion, he is going through a developmentally correct phase right now, and you should let him ride through it. Please let him get used to your absence before you start the weaning process. To stop the constant suckling, you could try reading to him or playing, but with a lot of physical contact.
And remember, women all round the world work, leaving their babies behind. Those babies survive, and so will yours! In the time you’re home though, make sure you spend quality time with him – read to him, play with him, take him to the park and enjoy your son!
My 4 year old girl is having a bit of trouble with her peer relationships basically they dont want to play with her..it really hurts me ..but does it hurt her in any way? what do i say…play alone or what? I am pregnant with my second child right now please help me ..have a good day.
Ing. Marcela Bejarano
Do remember that for many toddlers, making friends isn’t a priority. They’re often happier playing by themselves or playing alongside other kids. Just try and keep in mind that social experience – or the lack of it- is probably influencing how active your child is. She may simply be a late bloomer. Don’t push her, but support her in her efforts to make friends.
If you observe that she’s shy, but eager to join in the fun, you can urge her to initiate a conversation. Occasionally, ask on her behalf to join in play. Or get her started on a fun project that other kids will want to join in, too.
If you see that she is showing signs of bossiness, explain that other children don’t like it, and help her curb these traits. Encourage her to share and help her to participate in team activities.
Most important of all, let her set her own pace. Accept that it’s not necessary for her to have a circle of friends at this age. However, if she seems upset at not having made any friends, do take her teacher into confidence and enlist her help in widening your daughter’s social circle.
Remember, one day you will have to fight off hordes of teenage friends of your daughter’s!