Why has my 8 month old son starting screaming as soon as I go to leave the room? He used to be fine

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Mia - posted on 01/15/2010

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This is from the MERCK Medical textbook;

Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is crying when a parent leaves the room. It is normal starting at about 8 mo, peaks in intensity between 10 and 18 mo, and generally resolves by 24 mo. It should be distinguished from separation anxiety disorder (see Mental Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Separation Anxiety Disorder), which occurs later, at an age when such reaction is developmentally inappropriate; school (or preschool) refusal is a common manifestation.

Separation anxiety occurs at a time when infants start to become emotionally attached to their parents. Because they have no object permanence (incomplete memory and no sense of time), children fear that the departure of their parents is permanent. Separation anxiety resolves as the child develops a sense of memory and keeps an image of the parents in mind when they are gone and recalls that in the past the parents returned.

Parents should be advised not to limit or forego separations in response to separation anxiety; this could compromise the child's maturation and development. When parents leave the home (or leave the child at a childcare center), they should encourage the person with whom they are leaving the child to create distractions. The parent should then leave without responding at length to a child's crying. Parents should remain calm and reassuring and establish routines around separations to ease the child's anxiety. If the parents must momentarily go to another room in the home, they should call to the child while in the other room to reassure the child. This gradually teaches the child that parents are still present even though the child cannot see them. Separation anxiety may be worse when a child is hungry or tired, so feeding the child and letting him nap before leaving may also help.

Hope that helps.

Mara - posted on 01/13/2010

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I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. It must be frustrating having to work while your son feels like this. Separation Anxiety is very common at this age; there is nothing wrong with your baby; it's part of normal baby behavior and development for his age! Hang in there, listen to advice, but above all use your mommy instincts when making the choice on how best to respond, he's your son and you know him the best! Good Luck!

Mia - posted on 01/15/2010

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And this is from Web MD;

Now that your baby has a sense of object permanence -- the knowledge that you still exist even when you’re not around -- bedtimes and nap times may be more of a struggle. This separation anxiety should go away by the time your child is around 2 years old. Don’t be too worried if your baby fusses every time you try to leave the room. The crying shouldn’t last for more than a few minutes.

Shelly - posted on 01/17/2010

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My daughter has the separation anxiety but it's not all the time and it's not complete meltdowns, or at least not yet. I had joined a bunch of websites when I was pregnant that gives you tips, etc. about pregnancy and babies. Baby center is one of them, this site will even e-mail you weekly with child development.

Barbie - posted on 01/14/2010

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I read on another baby site to play peek-a-boo around the door as you leave the room & then again as you re-enter. It lets the baby know you are there, just out of sight for a bit.

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Shels - posted on 01/20/2010

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my girlfriends and i were having this exact conversation the otherday and what it is , is at the stage of 8 months they get clingy and need reassurance, and it recommends when you go to do something just remind them that you will be back and tell them where you are going ... it may last a few months but it does get better ...

Tanya - posted on 01/20/2010

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I heard that boys get more attached than girls and this will last til about 5 years old. But that's just what I've heard.

Jessica - posted on 01/20/2010

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I have the same problem it drives me nuts but its getting better. When she does that I ignore her and she is starting to scream less. I think she starting to understand I will come back.

Mikayla - posted on 01/17/2010

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My daughter has been doing the same thing whenever I (or her father) lay her down at night. I'm sure it's just a phase.

Kimberly - posted on 01/16/2010

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seperation anxiety, my daughter does the same thing. i cant even pee or go get myself something to eat without her screaming the second she cant see me!

Kristie - posted on 01/16/2010

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i dont know about it. my son started doing it aslong as he can see me hes fine but when im not in sight. he goes crazy.

Caz - posted on 01/16/2010

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my daughter is 8 months and has just stared crying when i leave the room but also at night she keeps waking up and i settle her down agane but as soon as i go out the room she starts to cry so i have to set there for a long tine to she falls asleep or i am up and down all night, she use to be a rely good sleeper to she got to about 7 months but now she wakes up a lot in the night wontting me there.

Michelle - posted on 01/15/2010

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yeah its not seperation for me i'm always with her, shes just high needs baby is what a early childhood infant developmental person told me!

Amy - posted on 01/14/2010

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I dont have an answer for you but my 8 month old daughter does the sammmeee thing! :)

Virginia - posted on 01/14/2010

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My lil girl, Kristina is doing the same thing. She only cries though when i leave the room. Doesn't care much if daddy leave the room. They grow out of it, once they realize you will come back! =)

Kirsty - posted on 01/14/2010

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Chloe is 8 months old and has started doing exactly the same! When I leave the room or even put her down/pass her to anyone else!!

Darylann - posted on 01/14/2010

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He is old enough now he is recognizing people, and making his voice heard! He knows what he wants!

KAYLA - posted on 01/13/2010

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i think its just a stage your baby is going through, mine does the same thing.

[deleted account]

Yeah def seperation anxiety! It peeks around 8 months or so. Babies don't have the understanding that when you leave the room, you are not acutally leaving forever. He will get used to it soon. Until then, smile in the fact that he loves you so much he doesn't want you to leave! =)

Lindsay - posted on 01/13/2010

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I do not believe it is separation anxiety... A lot of babies around this age will tend to favor, and want, the primary caregiver, or the mother. This is very common. My son is doing it now as well. And I don't hold him all day, I am a working mom, I can't. But he still does it. "They" say to talk to them....when you are leaving the room, talk to your baby, let them know you will be back, and let them calm down on their own. But continue to talk to them while you are away, don't go rushing back, or the screaming will not improve... Hope this helps!

HarryandDomenica - posted on 01/13/2010

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it could be separation anxiety, how much time do you spend with him during the day??

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