Fear of abandonment: a necessary process for children

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During the first months of their lives, babies are only aware of their immediate surroundings. But as they grow up, they discover that the world is not limited to their parents or what surrounds them every day, but that there are also other people and many new things to discover.

The world is strange and it’s populated by strangers.

Your baby gradually learns to distinguish yourself from other people. This process begins to show itself when there is a visitor in the house, and the baby suddenly seems more reluctant to approach and just wants to sit next to you to feel a kind of “protection.”

If the visitor approaches him while he’s snuggled up against you, he may get a smile.  However, most of the time, look at this “stranger” with mystery, or even fear, but also very carefully. It may be a new face, but also someone you have already met and are suddenly very scared. You try to seat him next to that person and he just gets lost.

He may take refuge in you with an embarrassed face, and most of the time, he begins to cry and remains inconsolable. In fact, he no longer sees this familiar face in front of him and thus manages to calm down. This behavior, also known as “8 months of anxiety” or “8 months crisis,” indicates that your baby has learned to be deeply attached to you.

He learned to realize that he is not all powerful and that he still needs you deeply. When you leave his field of vision and he cannot follow you, he is afraid, he begins to cry and scream disproportionately. However, he had previously seen you leave, but it didn’t affect him as much as he didn’t really realize what it meant.

To treat the fear of abandonment.

To get your baby to get used to this new situation, naturally you must give him the necessary time and act with empathy, that is, sympathize with his pain. Teach him to gradually realize that you will come back, and he will no longer react in this way. Keep in mind that this is a mandatory step in the psychological development of your child.

Tips to avoid fear of abandonment.

  • Before you go, tell your child what you are going to do (don’t be afraid to dodge it when your back is turned, as his confidence will be undermined).
  • When you walk away and are already in another room, keep talking to him, especially if he is still very young. If he’s a little older, just tell him what you’re going to do and come back later.
  • Make him feel more important the entire time you are there with him. If your baby already knows how to crawl, you can encourage him to keep doing it.
  • Play “hello”, this is a game that can familiarize you with the absence. Most kids love it, and it might even surprise you with an infectious laugh.
  • Finally, give your child a chance to acclimate to new situations (for example, school, daycare) because this is often when abandonment anxiety reappears.

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