Understand and manage the famous "separation anxiety"!

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You leave the room for a few seconds and that's the tragedy. Your baby doesn't see you anymore, he starts crying hot tears as if you're abandoning him. No matter how much you explain it to her, how much you kiss her, it doesn't matter... Elise, a childcare nurse, helps us to decipher this delicate passage of "separation anxiety" and above all gives us her advice.

Understand and manage the famous "separation anxiety"!

How do we explain this famous separation anxiety?

To understand this delicate stage of separation anxiety, you have to go back to the first day of your baby's life. At birth, the baby is one with his mother as a symbiosis. On the mother's side, there is what is called "primary maternal concern". According to Donald Winnicott, an English paediatrician and psychoanalyst for children, the mother will accompany and surround her baby in three stages.

First of all, the holding company (the fact of holding, containing). It is about carrying the child. But not only physical carrying, the holding company also encompasses all emotional value. So carrying your baby in your thoughts and emotions too. Then the handling (the physical manipulation of the baby) will allow the baby to discover his body limits. He will be able to separate his body from the environment. And finally the object presenting (the presentation of objects), i.e. the child will gradually discover the world.

Opening up to the world: The baby will start to differentiate himself from others, it goes through smiling, interactions, around his 2, 3 months. Thanks to the repetition of these positive experiences, the baby will integrate them and evolve serenely. After the first trimester, he will interact and understand more things. Then comes the grip and motor skills.


Mom and I are 2: Then there is the delicate moment when he will realize that he and his mother are two different individuals. "But then if we're different, we can separate and also not see each other anymore. We are then at the 8 months of the child. "When Mom leaves, I'm all alone, maybe she won't come back." Your child also distinguishes the stranger from the known. He then loses the illusion of departure, this famous symbiosis so comforting.

What attitude should we adopt?

Clearly, your child will feel anxious. He'll certainly start crying. Then enter the cuddly toy as a transitional object. The next idea is to take this cuddly toy and play with your child to hide it. At 8 months old, your child understands that when I hide a blanket under the pillow I no longer see it but it still exists. Well, it'll be the same principle with you when you leave the room.

How can I help my child through this phase?

At home, to go easy when you leave the room, keep talking to her. He will still have auditory contact if the visual is missing. You can also offer him games on emotions, the cuckoo, I hide my face. Or, if you leave him in the living room, in his park, give him access to autonomous games to feel alive by himself without you.


If it is a separation due to a mode of care... Prefer at the beginning of small separations (adaptations to the nursery, with the grandmother...) I advise you to inform your child when you are leaving. Often, we want to take advantage of the fact that our attention is focused on something else to disappear... very bad idea. When he's finished, he'll look for you... So even if it's difficult, let him know you're leaving and always tell him "I'll be back".

Do you have to go through?

Yes. It's even essential for the baby to lose the illusion of maternal fusion. It's part of the construction of the psyche. As a parent, I have to accept this phase.

I now know how to recognize this anguish, I accompany it, which will allow my baby to capitalize on his self-confidence. He realizes that he can do things by himself, the foundation stone of the foundations of self-confidence.