How can I help my kids with their separation anxiety?

I have a three year old and a 2-year-old. Their father kidnapped and withheld them from me for five months. In our emergency custody hearing, I was given sole custody, pending the final hearing in May. I got my babies back the day following the trial. I was wondering what ideas you guys might have to help with their separation anxiety. I have already scheduled a family therapy session this coming week for the babies and me with my therapist. She also sees children in her office, so she was a perfect fit for us. I am also using a baby monitor system that allows me to talk to the children when I have to be in the other room. I am taking leave from work, so I don’t have to leave them right away, not till December. But they are already super clingy and nervous every time I leave the room. I can’t even use the bathroom without them. I’m not complaining because, honestly, I don’t wanna leave them for a second, either. But I also know it’s not healthy and I don’t know how else to handle the situation in a positive manner. I already explain every time I have to leave the room, like “it’s nap time, so you guys lay down, and mommy is gonna go downstairs and wash the dishes,” etc. It helps a little, and even over the last three days, I can see a huge difference in the kids. I could just really use any help and suggestions you guys might have. Thanks so much!

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Maybe a build a bear with your voice set inside saying “your special to mommy” or “mommy loves you”

Those are just exaples of what my kids love to hear from me.

But your voice is number one on what kids look for when they can’t see you.

Just a thought 🤷

I hope everything gets better for you

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Weighted blankets may help too. I’m so sorry that happened to you but glad you got them back

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Give them time to adjust. It will get better with time. Keep doing what you are doing for them.

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Damn… I thought a week was bad when that happened to me with my daughter when she was 3 weeks old, but I couldn’t imagine the torture you went through. My daughter forgot who I was :sob::sob: and she’s still super clingy to me 18 months later. I’m so sorry, my heart goes out to yall. I don’t have advice for you, I just wanted to say stay strong.

My son has a teddy bear that I sleep with so it has my smell on it. He hugs it to get to sleep. They could be scared that they could be taken away from you so they are trying to stay as close as they can. Reassure them that you are not going anywhere ever again, lots of hugs and kisses. I use to have to sit in my sons room till he went to sleep. I started slowly moving further and further away (I would move every second night) till I could eventually just put him in he’s cot and walk away.

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Keep doing what you’re doing and allow time to do the rest.

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Tell them everyday and night that no matter what you will always come back for them. Play games like peek a boo and say see I will always find you. Keep letting them know where you are going when you will be back. Time consistency will help along with lots of love. Good luck and God bless.

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Necklace with yaks pic in it…call it a magical necklace

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Are you in the home they were taken from ? If so, taking them out of the environment on outings, to Gma’s or just for a long walk would help.

I have no help for you, I’m just so sorry this happened to you & your kids.

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I think you are going in the right direction on your own but this is something to bring up with the therapist as well to see if she has other suggestions to help

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Time, counseling and reassuring them you aren’t going anywhere just as you are doing. I am sure there are times you should take small breaks and leave them with a trusted family member. You need some mommy time too. Prayers that it all comes together for you soon.

Maybe try setting an alarm for like 5 minutes, go to another room and come back as soon as the alarm goes off. Keep slowly increasing the time, and space. Maybe towards the time you’ll return to work, start to bring the sitter in or go to the day care they will be going to. Just let them know about the alarm and that you are building trust that you will return when the alarm goes off. Once they are more confident in your return, start weaning them off by setting the alarm every other day, then every third day, etc. I’ve never done this, so I can’t guarantee it will work, but it may be worth a shot.

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It will take time but they’ll be fine. My ex kidnapped mine 38 years ago but mine we’re only gone a month. It took them awhile and they were ok. The stories they tell to this day but they’re great ladies in their 40’s now

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Kids are resiliant and bounce back in no time just be patient with them.

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I was in a simalar situation. My 24 days with out my babies seem like nothong compared to 5 months😥 im so sorry you had endure all of this. My daughter is 3.5 she is in school for 3 hours a day. The first couple weeks was rough. I have to work 2 jobs now. but she enjoys going to grandma’s. She use to wait for me to come but now shes usually asleep. Its amazing how resilient kids really are. But even 6 months later we have are days where she wont even let me take out the trash.

Just keep doing what you are already doing and be patient with them when it doesn’t always work. With time and the therapy they will grow past this once they have stability again and they learn they can trust again. :pray:t2::pray:t2::pray:t2:

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Keep doing what you are and try to give them time. I’m terribly sorry for what you’ve endured but so glad they’re home safe with you again. God bless

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Takes time for them to adjust - they will relax some over the next few weeks once they realize you’re not going anywhere

In time they will not remember any of what happened because they are so young.

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If there his kid’s how is it kidnapping, maybe they miss him. U both need to be adults

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I went threw that for 3months. He’d let me have her for a bit the first month he left, only to come pick her up and take her away again. She would cry over her shoulders, reaching out to me, as he walked away with her in his arms. He did that twice to me. Broke my heart so so badly. I lost weight cause I wouldn’t eat. so I know that pain. But he realized it was a mistake and came back. And slowly she came around. She was 2 when it happened. she’s 3 now

You have a good chance for lots of love understanding right now with the ages they are .You are doing the right things .Give them all the time and love you can .I had a hard time with my children and still am with one of them .When I left my husband the children were at a age where they would not go to family counseling with me all refused to. So they Neaver learned my feelings or why I kicked him out .I wish now that I had left early .He still causes problems for me and likes control .So you have done the right thing for the children . keep going you are doing okay . Talking with your therapist she can help iam sure take care hold your ground things will be just fine for you .Neaver regret what you are doing it iam sure was for the Best

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Wait… How do you kidnap your own kids? If there is no custody order in place, he is on the BC, and yall were married he had every right to take them, just as you did.

Women do it all the time… Why isn’t it called kidnapping then?

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I gave my oldest a little picture of me and him to look at when he gets scared in his bed alone (hes 6) it helps tremendously

Keep reassuring them that your going to be here or there. And you getting professional help is a great idea. Hang in there. It will get better

If they’re into Daniel Tiger, there’s an episode that kind of addresses it. The song from the episode that I’m thinking of is “Grown-ups Come Back” I’ll see if I can link it here.

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Don’t act as if you leaving the room or their presence is a huge ordeal… if you make it seem that they need to be glued to you to be safe then you could be building a message you don’t mean too… idk if you are but just something to think about :slightly_smiling_face:

For something that traumatic I think therapy, time and consistency are going to be the most important things. It sounds like you’re doing everything right, so just give it more time. Good luck, mama. I’m so glad you got your babies back.

I’m so sorry this happened to you and your babies. It sounds like what you are doing is working. It’s just going to take some time. Just be patient. When you do have to go to work take some time to be able to call and talk to them a few times a day. Like for example when you are on your way back to them call them on the road and say mommy is on her way! For a little while they may want to sleep with you. So let them. And after a little bit of time move them back to their bed. It will get easier as time goes by so just hang in there.

The best thing you can do is be consistant . provide stability. Do what you say you are going to do . keep routines on track . tell them ok mommy is going to work at 9 am and i will be home at 3 . and be home at 3 . at5 it is time for dinner set up strict schedules so they they see the pattern every night tuck them in reassure them they are safe and loved … Be extra dilligent to check door locks window locks and def continue with counceling for all of you . i hope they prosecute the ex .

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I have no advice to give. But I’m sending lots of love your way!:heart::heart::heart:
I hope everything comes together and the kids and yourself do great!!

Since you have therapy set up and you are already seeing improvement I’d just suggest continuing what you are doing. Good luck!

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Give them time to cling. As they see you aren’t leaving them they will start to leave your side a few minutes longer each time. They need reassurance and stability right now.

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You need to seek the therapists advice not random advice from us. This is a bit more involved.

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Please ask a professional for sure. I know you cant stay home all the time. Ask for help. Hire a helper a few times a week or friend or family member to distract color with them entertain while you have things to do.

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the age of 2-3 is the common age for separation anxiety even for kids who haven’t been through such trauma. My best suggestion is, give it time, the more that you come back after leaving the more they will get used to you coming back and the less anxiety they’ll feel. If it’s been a few months and they are still not letting you use the toilet, then you may have cause for concern.

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Try TV and cartoons in there room it help my son

Sometimes kids can just sense your own anxiety and that just heaps on to theirs. Maybe try and get yourself some sort of counceling or read a self help book because you went through a trauma as well. Reassure you’re kids that you love them and if they need updates on where you are just let them know where you’re going and if they can’t see you and call for you, call back to them. Nothing wrong with that, keeo working with them. It’ll get better Mama!

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Its gonna take time. You are doing the right thing getting them in therapy. Seems like you have it handled pretty well. Just be patient. Good job mama!

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Just keep reassuring them That you will be there and you’re not be we know it just let him know that you really love them and give him lots of hugs and talk to them to will they were understand and I pray for your family

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I don’t have any advice, but I just have so much love for you guys. Love on those babies as much as you can!

Thankfully, my granddaughter has never had to go through such an ordeal, but she still has anxiety if I go out of her sight if she’s staying at my house for any reason. My laundry room is on my back porch and she knows when I close the back door and she starts crying. I’ve found it very helpful to tell her before I go out, and then continue saying, loud enough for her to hear me, that “I’ve not gone anywhere; I’m just getting the laundry out of the washer/dryer; I’ll be right back in.” I suggest using the baby monitor to speak to them frequently when you’re out of their sight to tell them where you are and assuring them that you’ll be right back.

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I just went through this with my 5 yr old. She was sleeping in my bed and couldn’t stand not being able to have her eyes on me at all times. I had to start slowly by walking around the corner and showing her I would be right back and than go around the corner for 5 to 10 second increments until I got up to a minute than I increased the time by a minute each time. I had to explain to her every little thing I was doing if I was out of her sight. If takes a lot of reassurance and reminding them they are safe and you are not going to leave without coming back. It’s been 14 months since she’s been home and she’s just now able to sleep in her own bed and handle being able to play in her room independently while I’m cleaning. There are still days where she’ll tell me she’s having a hard day and that’s her way of letting me know she’s feeling anxious and just needs reassurance that she’s safe and I’m not going anywhere.

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Reassurance !!
I dont know if it would help your babies but I used on my son a "therapressure brush "

Always let them know you are coming back. Every time.

Mama!!! I was that kid. My father did the same thing to my mom. I’m so sorry you guys have to deal with that. I’m 38 now and ended up better okay from what happened. With you by there side they do just fine. You have a good start. Good luck!!!

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My kids had a similar experience but it was 3 weeks. It’s taken a long time to get them past it. But what I can say is you are going about it the right way. Reassuring them all you can. As it gets closer to time to go to work help ease them into the care of whomever will watch them while you work slowly. Good luck momma. I’m glad you have your babies back. Mine haven’t left in 3yrs almost 4yrs since that happened to us. Supervised visits only and he never uses them 🤷 faded out from rare to never over the years

Therapy is a great step. Ultimately they’ll just need time