Separation Anxiety… What did I do wrong as a parent?
Based on the reaction of my children when transitioning to a new environment, one would think that we not only homeschool our kids to keep them out of the public’s eye, but also never take them to a park outing or grocery shopping. Hell, one might even think they’ve been locked in a windowless basement cell for their upbringing, never allowing them to see another human being.
At first, we thought it was just our son. Being the firstborn, it is highly likely that he was given “too much attention” or we coddled him when he would show fear in a new place. We were stupid and naive when it came to parenting and where was that manual on how to raise children we thought the hospital would give us?? As his younger sister started to display similar separation anxiety, I stopped pointing fingers at my son and pushed them back into my face. What did I do wrong?? How did I mother incorrectly?? Why are my kids so needy??? Why do they act like they’ve never been more than a tiny finger away from my presence no matter how consistently I drop them off??
Coming from a home where both parents worked, our children were essentially (and sadly) raised by caregivers. They were dropped off each morning and picked up each night from a location where they spent more hours there than at their own home. YES, my mommy guilt is at a premium and YES, I wished I could feel better about that as a choice. As the saying goes, it is what it is. We power through and hope and pray that what we’re doing what is right.
Besides, every other child in America (and the world for that matter) seems to do JUST FINE when it comes to leaving their parents. EVERY other child runs right into their classroom. EVERY other child runs right onto the field. EVERY other child happily leaves their parents’ side with minimal emotion and gleefully runs into a birthday party. EVERY child but mine. Or that is how it feels.
Church. School. Baseball games. Dance recitals. Birthday parties. All the same reaction = Tears to the 10th degree.
Agony. Embarrassment. Defeat. Failure. This sums up how I feel at each of these drop points.