Stranger Anxiety

IKSSA - posted on 03/08/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hello moms! My daughter is 18 weeks old today and she is suffering from serious stranger anxiety. Anytime we take her out to someone else's home, friends or family, she begins to cry and is fussy throughout the entire visit. She does not like to be held by anyone she considers to be a stranger. She will immediately begin to cry and will only calm down when I hold her again. It doesn't matter if I'm standing near her while friends and family hold her, she will not stop crying. It has gotten to the point where I have bouts of anxiety before we go anywhere because I know she is going to be miserable throughout the visit which means I will be miserable. I pray for her everyday of course and I pray a special prayer anytime we are going to go out. Right now my husband and I are living with my parents so she is comfortable with ONLY the four of us. Any advice on what I can do to ease her stranger anxiety? If I don't cure this now, I'm afraid it will only get worse. Thanks ladies!!

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Shannon - posted on 03/12/2010

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I work in the day care of our church and I'll tell you this is perfectly normal. Lots of kids between 1 and 3 go through this stage. Ussually its no so much a fear of strangers as it is seperation anxiety. They will get very clingy and only want to be held by mom and a few close others. What ussually works is to completly ignore the behavior, meaning don't give in to it but don't punish it either. Treat the child the way they always have been treated. If you have taken them to church daycare in the past continue to do so. If your freinds have known the child and held her before, continue to let them hold her. on the other hand if you have never had her in daycare befor and have just started this could be part of the problem and its up to you wether to wait or to continue, she will get over it but it may be a strain on all of you. As for letting people hold her, as I said - if its someone you know well and has always been around her, thencontinue to let them BUT if there is someone new to your circle or to her that she feels very uncomfortable with I would respect her feelings and possible keep an eye on this person. We had one little girl in our church who loved everbody and was continually passed around during services (allways being kept track of by parents of course) when a new couple started coming to our church she started getting frantic if they would come near her or try to hold her (no they never got the chance to hold her much less be alone with her) we found out latter that they had fled to our area because of child related criminal charges. I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just letting you know that babies have good instincts and if there are certian people they just don't want to be around then let them make that choice. If on the other hand, she is just going through a "clingy" stage don't give in to it cause it'll just get worse. But even if you do- don't despaire because they will all grow out of it eventually. God bless you and don't worry, it'll all be ok.

Candice - posted on 03/12/2010

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Your baby is only 18 weeks old. Her parents and grandparents are the only people she WANTS to know right now. Babies know how your feeling, so calm yourself down before you go out to meet with your family and friends. As much as you may want her to respond postively to others, you have to know that your feeling anxious doesn't help. Allow your daughter to become comfortable in her own time. It won't always be this way. Be blessed.

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Why is this an issue? SHE'S A BABY!?! Hold her, comfort her and don't get upset by her need for you. She will eventually let go, but forcing her to do something she is obviously not prepared to do will not help. One day she will be all grown up and have no need to cuddle with her momma. Don't waste one precious moment of the time you have with her!

Linda - posted on 03/10/2010

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She is very young, and this will probably pass. At that age they can get startled, scared and overwhelmed very easily. It's okay that she just wants you and her parents to hold her. I guess it's just me, but if it is stressful for her, don't pass her around. Keep her in your lap, keep her in a carrier, or somewhere where she feels safe. She will go through these stages at other times in her life too, but it probably will come and go. It did with my middle child. (She's graduating college this year) She will also take on your fears. Another words, you now get anxiety when you are going somewhere and she can sense that and it will stress her too. I wouldn't worry about "socialization" yet...she's much too young!

Coral - posted on 03/10/2010

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My oldest was just the opposite. That must be sooo hard for you!!! My only piece of advice would be to keep trying and don't give up. She'll probably always be a little shy, but she should grow out of this extreme stage. Maybe you could find opportunities to get her used to a few more people, even though it will be painful for you. Maybe a playdate w/someone at your house? Or the park? I know a lot of times that crowds can be so overwhelming. Don't give up. Remember that God loves her even more than you do.

Heather - posted on 03/08/2010

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One of my twin girls was the same way!!! She would even scream if someone got into our car that didn't live in our home. Or if someone walked in our own front door she would just have to be picked up. At church if anyone looked at her she was instantly in tears. I am glad that you have your parents that she is comfortable with too. We only had my husband and myself. My suggestion is to just let her cry some. It is annoying, but my daughter (who is now 2 1/2) is just now coming out of the stage. She is starting to recognize more people, and understands that not everyone is bad.

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