By Elizabeth Pantley
It’s one of the secrets of parenthood: Not just children get separation anxiety! Many parents are unprepared for the feelings of sadness and emptiness they have when separated from their children. The emotions that pop up when you leave your child with a babysitter or when you watch your child drive away in the school bus can span from a dull ache all the way to worry and panic.
Know that your feelings are a sign of love
Those feelings are a natural part of your intense love for your child. Even though it’s natural, it can be a big challenge. No matter if your anxiety is slight or intense, these ideas can help you understand and temper your anxiety and allow you to relax and even enjoy those times when you are apart from your child.
Don’t try to eliminate your apprehension
These emotions exist for very good reasons. They are part of your hardwired parenting protective device! Feelings of unease can guide you to make choices about when and where to leave your child. These instincts can help you choose the right babysitter, daycare or school situation for your child. Your intuition will keep you alert to any potential problems when you part from your child. Pay attention to your feelings and cue in to where they are originating.
Accept that separation can be a good thing
Some of your nervousness is based on the feeling that only you can take care of your child – that you know your little one better than anyone else. That’s true, of course! However, even if other caregivers aren’t exactly the same as you, it’s very likely that your child will adapt and accept these differences. And you know what? Your child can be blessed by a world filled with people other than you, as everyone can teach something unique.
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