Sunday, April 18, 2010

My 13 month old does not show anxiety at separation

Questioner: Moselle

Subject: 13-month old

Question: My 13-month old seems to have no separation anxiety, but I feel like this might be a bad thing. I left for two separate weeks this summer to work with some kids from my church. When I came back, he seemed distant with me.

My husband said he was fine while I was gone, but he doesn't seem to have a bond with me like he used to. I try to spend one on one time with him throughout the day; sometimes we go into his room and just cuddle while I sing to him, we read together, and I play with him by "chasing" him around the house. But his previous attachment to me seems to be gone. He could care less whether I left or stayed with him.

I thought that babies at this age were prone to separation anxiety, but he hasn't exhibited any signs of that. He doesn't cry when both of us leave, either. FYI - He has been around "strangers" since he was born. My husband is a minister and he gets "passed around" twice a week. Could this early exposure to lots of adults have anything to do with that?

Answer: Dear Moselle, His reaction is similar to separation anxiety. He is expressing it by "punishing" you for leaving. He is telling you he is really upset the only way he knows how. Keep spending time with him and he will adjust after awhile.

Separations at this age are hard because a child's sense of time is drastically different than an adults. The good news is he is showing a reaction. Children who are not bonded would not have noticed.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller