Posted by: eve | 2009/10/05

4 year old depressive?

Hi Doc
I am now reaching the end of my pregnancy which we have been very open about with our 4 year old son. in the past month or so he has become extra clingy (which i understand is normal) but he has also started acting up and pretending he is sick so he doesnt go to creche. We have him sleeping in our bed lately as if we put him in his own bed he wakes up in the middle of the night crying to come sleep next to us, is there somthing we doing wrong or will this phase pass once the second child is born? I am worried how he will react when i am in hospital. He will not stay with anyone, for instance yesterday he decided by himself that he wanted to stay at his cousins house and play and his granfather would of brought him home an hour later, he was perfectly fine with the idea until we started the car and were ready to leave(my husband and i), he came running out of the house to the car in sheer panic and tears. He does this to me when i go shopping, he decides that he wants to stay home with his dad but once i have reversed down the driveway he comes running out in tears and wanting to come with me. I am not sure where this unsureness has come from as i always spend time with him and make sure we do things. Please let me know what i can do to calm his insecurity or whatever it is that is bothering him.

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Our expert says:
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I really doubt that you are doing anything wrong. Mayhbe a bit m ore because you have ben open and frank about the pregnancy, he senses the possibility that you may go away ( maybe not feling sure how soon you will return to the home ) and maybe even realizing that he may have a littler rival on the way. His reactions, as you describe them, sound like a variety of separation anxiety, which may turn up at this age even if there is no pregnancy under way. Its actually a much more complex skill than we realize, for a child to learn to feel secure on his own, to feel confident that mom can go somewhere without him, and will still return, and that he will be fine while she is away. But after a while, it seems to all fall into place, and they gain the confidence and sense of security.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2009/10/06

Don' t lie to the kid. Little brothers and sisters aren' t fun to play with, at least not at first, and besides they take up a lot of mom and dad' s time. Do reassure him that you will still love him, that your heart will stretch to love the new brother or sister, and that he can be a handy helper for you.

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Posted by: almost mad | 2009/10/06

I think you should keep reminding him about how much fun it is going to be to have a brother or sister to play with. Also tell him how he is going to help mum look after the baby and how much fun it will be. Him, the baby and mum and dad will be such a happy family. Tell him how he will be able teach the baby things. he will feel included like he has a role in this family. We have been trying to do this with my 2 year old nephew who i live wish as my sister is pregnant again.

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