We are an "always together" family. DH and I both work from home. We homeschool. You get the idea.
Obviously, everybody in America would immediately say that this caused the separation anxiety that DD has. We should have put her in daycare when she was 6 months old, then preschool. Dropped her off everywhere just for the sake of getting away from her. I don't believe it, though. 150 years ago, no kids went to daycare, a lot of kids didn't go to school. I assume they pretty much all coslept with someone (if not parents, then siblings, grandparents, whatever). I doubt they were all afflicted with separation anxiety.
However, I do fully admit - heck, I'll just say it, I believe - that we are triggering the anxiety. But I don't know how to solve it.
From reading around, it seems there are two main causes of separation anxiety. One is a traumatic event - grandma dies, daddy goes in the hospital, that sort of thing. This is not the case for us. The other cause is overprotective parenting. Parents (or one parent) who are anxious themselves about their child being away from them. The child picks up on this. I'm afraid this is the case for us. And as much as DH would be upset by my thinking on this, I have to say it's really his anxiety.
And, no surprise, it's DH that DD is afraid of being separated from.
Besides the bigger problem of the anxiety overall, a smaller problem is that *I*, her mother, am not enough to make her feel secure. She has to be with DH. She wants me to be present too, but I alone am not enough. DH alone is enough. So if DH runs an errand and doesn't take her, she is anxious. She usually wants me to call him on the cell phone after he's been gone for 5 minutes. (I don't ever do this but she will still ask). She asks for frequent reassurance that he is coming back.
DH is the primary parent, due to the fact that I have the more steady income and due to my disabilities (I can't drive, so taking her anywhere falls on DH). I suspect, though this is just a theory, that the reason that I am not enough to make her feel secure is due to the disabilities. I guess she doesn't feel I can take care of her? Though I am perfectly resourceful, and DH depends on me for some kinds of things as well as me depending on him for other things. (Granted, I guess I depend on him a bit more). While I think it's critically important to solve the bigger issue, I would really like to first take the smaller step of having DD at least feel secure with me (without needing DH).
Any suggestions? Resources? A good book? Is a type of therapy the best approach? But we need to help not just DD but DH first. DH had a scary childhood, and for understandable reasons he is completely committed to DD's safety and security. I don't believe he is paranoid, but his trust level for fellow human beings is rather low. I honestly have no intention of asking or hoping that he will suddenly trust all kinds of people with DD. I don't expect or need him to even trust people as much as the average parent does. But I would like for him to sort through his feelings and draw a distinction between appropriate caution and across-the-board anxiety. I'd want him to understand that DD cannot adequately learn to protect herself if she feels that Daddy must protect her. I think this is something he would be willing to understand (and I think potentially a lightbulb moment) but I don't know how to approach this without making him feel defensive - or rather, I just want to do it right the first time rather than have to clean up a mess if I do damage. And even if he completely and totally agreed with me *today*, I'm not sure we know exactly how to go about transitioning. What would a change look like? How do I talk to DH about this? How do we both talk to DD about this?