S.D. asks from Macomb, MI on June 23, 2008
(Extreme?) Stranger Anxiety
From 3 months on, my son (now 8 months) has been afraid of everyone and everything. It goes beyond normal stranger anxiety. Random people say a mere hello to him at the grocery store and he collapses in tears and screams. They don't even touch him! He even screams at people who he sees every week at church and grandparents. He only likes mommy and daddy.. Is this normal??? It seems extreme. I AM a stay at home mom... but I take him out all the time (I DO need to stay home to get stuff done *sometimes*) and he sees the same people over and over. The pediatrician says he's just smart, like that helps. You can imagine how it is, ladies, not being able to pass your kid off to anyone EVER to eat dinner in peace.. or spend time with your husband. When we leave him with other people, he screams the whole time we are gone and it takes even me, MOMMY, the rest of the night to calm him down.... When we are at home, I don't hold him all the time, he has time away from me and is generally happy at home, so I don't know what gives... Help! I am at my wit's end.
K.C. answers from Saginaw on June 25, 2008
My daughter had done this since she was weeks old. She was a momma's girl only. Didn't even really care for her dad till about a year or so. Everytime I would leave her with someone, she cried and screamed. Every year it does get better. She will be going to kindergarten in the fall. She went through pre-school with ease. I do not know why these children do this. I do know that my daughter is very sensitive and very loving. Maybe personality?? Keep being persistant!!!
K.G. answers from Detroit on June 23, 2008
I know how you feel! My 2nd daughter ONLY wanted Mommy from about 4 months to 12 months. She wouldn't even go to Grandma and we lived with her, Daddy was Ok, but only if I wasn't around. It was hard at first but I had to accept that this was how life was and tried to accept it. it was frustrating that we couldn't leave her very often but in the grand scheam of things it was really a short time in her life!
One of things that did when she started sleeping longer was put her to bed and run out for a quick bite to eat while grandma watched her and prayed that she didn't wake up while we were gone!!
Now she is a slow to warm up but social!
1 mom found this helpful
A.W. answers from Grand Rapids on June 23, 2008
Have you thought about putting him in a part time daycare or activity where you can be present to help. Give him a little time and he should work out of that phase with a little work. Since he likes being home, you could have him watched there for an evening out. And I like to read a lot as well.
C.J. answers from Lansing on June 24, 2008
You have gotten a lot of great responses. My son never went through this, but I was thinking a picture book of your family might help, especially if you went through the book everyday and said the person's name and what is nice about them.
My neighbors kids went through this, all three of them, and they turned out fine. It may be frustrating now, but I think your son just needs to know that you are there and will always be there. He is probably making the connection that you and he are separate people and that when you leave the room he is alone and that probably scares him a lot!
Talk to your family members and let your son interact with them on his own terms. Eventually this process will take less and less time and he will become comfortable. He needs to learn that when you leave you come back and that he is safe with his extended family.
Good luck and hang in there.
S.M. answers from Saginaw on June 24, 2008
Hello S., My oldest is 25, and she was this type of child also. To back up the doc, she is very smart and gifted in many areas. I don't see the connection though. What I found helped where seperate from the anxiety problems, they just helped all around. SLEEP!! Most important. She was hard to get to sleep, and hard to keep asleep, needed more than the average child, and being sleep deprived made her anxiety much worst. Keep a set sceduale for everything, mostly bed time. Have white noise in his room, tapes of heart-beats with soothing music works great. I could always tell(even now) when my daughter was overly tired, she got hyper, vocal, and moody. She only felt secure in her world when she could predict every part of her day and night. If we changed things she became anxious about life. Before leaving for the store or church etc., explain to him, where you are going, and the types of people he will see there.(when he gets older of course) This will help prepare him in advance to deal with it. Don't keep him home, this will only make in worst. Expose him to lots of things, just verbally prepare him in advance. Give him the option of talking or not talking, greeting or not greeting. This will allow him to feel more in control. I hope this helps you. Winging it is very difficult. Now that mine is an adult, we are still very close, because I was always her "security blanket" growing up and still am, when ever she is stressed she calls her mommy and she is now a professional career woman. LOL. Good luck.
L.C. answers from Jackson on June 24, 2008
Our daghter(3rd child) was like that. It turned out that she needed glasses desparately. Everything was out of focus kind of like a fun house mirror.We didn't find this out until she was 16 months old. Chances are that it's nothing like that for your baby. I have 6 and that does seem a little extreme. I was a STAHM too. We never had that extreme problem with the others. Chances are that it is nothinng like that for youur son. Good Luck!
A.T. answers from Jackson on June 24, 2008
No, I'm a Patricia Cornwell fan and LOVE to read every chance I get.
My now 2 year old was like Xander except her anxiety included her daddy!!! It was really overwhelming and frustrating (to put it nicely) the first probably 18 months due to this. I felt like I couldn't get a break because it was "all mommy all the time" and my life as I knew it didn't even resemble what my life was like before she arrived. Daddy was heartbroken because he felt like his little girl didn't like him - so I felt horrible for him too.
I hope you don't have another 10 months of this like I did but now she is absolutely wonderful with pretty much everyone. She speaks when spoken to and is fine staying with her aunties, grandparents and adult cousins when daddy and I go out for some "us" time.
As for advice? Mine would be to just have patience. I don't believe that forcing a child at this age to 'face his fears' is a wise choice. Like I said, it was tough while we were going through this but my little one is now confident, no longer clingy and is ready to explore her world. Had I forced her and tried to ignore my guilt of leaving a screaming child with a beloved family member to keep my sanity, would she have gotten over her anxiety sooner? I'll never know. All I do know is that after we got through the tough times with her, my husband and I feel like we did the best thing we could for her based on her unique personality traits, needs, strengths and weaknesses.
My best to you and your little one! He may be just a sensitive little boy who will work through this situation just fine!!
S.A. answers from Lansing on June 24, 2008
I want to tell you that you are not alone. I am going through the same situation with my 2 1/2 year old daughter. She won't go to anyone else, even family members, but my husband and I. It has also made it difficult for us to go out and enjoy time together because she won't go to babysitters at all (we sometimes have put her to bed, gotten a sitter and then went out together for a little while). Our daughter is even scared of being around other kids. I haven't found anything that works for her yet other than just giving her time to feel more comfortable around those who are around. Also, exposing her more to the situations that scare her most and re-assure her that everythings going to be ok. I think it is also important to not make it a big deal in front of them. Kids seem to play off that stuff. Personally, I know when I was young, I was EXTREMELY shy and when people brought it to my attention it only made me more self-conscious about it. I still relive those days...it was horrible!
I wish I had the perfect piece of advice for you but I haven't come across it yet. I'm still looking for answers like you. Just hang in there!
S.R. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
Your doctor is on to something, in that that hyper-sensitivity is common in bright infants. My son grew out of it slowly. My only advise is create as much calmness in transition as possible. You can't coach a stranger but all familiar people should be able to approach slow and quiet so his poor nervous system can cope. If you're a boisterous family it may be a challenge. Calm music, soft voices & non-abrupt movement. My father in law used to try to bounce my son around to "cheer him up" creating havoc and panic. All kids have different needs. Good luck and see if you can find more info on the web about hyper-sensitivity in infants.