Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Portland, Oregon
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My son also has been very much attached to me and has seemed to have had separation anxiety longer than most children.
I was just reading in Building Healthy Minds (Stanley Greenspan) that between ages 3-4, children are working hard on triangular relationships. That is, they're trying to understand how it is possible to have a strong relationship with two people who also have a strong relationship with eachother (e.g., parents and child). During this phase, the child will go through phases of being very close to one parent to the exclusion of the other; this is because the child feels that the other parent will somehow interfere with his relationship with the one on whom he's concentrating (in your case right now, your son is concentrating on his relationship with you and worries that by letting your husband close to him, he'd be letting somebody interfere with his relationship with you).
As with most things, they seem to practice a whole lot while they work on these concepts! But, in time, he should understand that he can have deep relationships with his father and you simultaneously and that you and your husband can also simultaneously have a deep relationship with eachother -- all without interfering with his relationships!
During this time, if you and your husband can manage to handle things coolly -- that it's okay with you and your husband, that you both love him just the same, that you won't pull away from your relationship, etc., that should help to speed the process of understanding.
I hope that helps -- for me, understanding my son's behavior gives me more compassion, and it helps me come up with worthwhile solutions.
For us, one way that I can get time alone is that my husband will offer to take my son on a very special outing (to a favorite sandwich shop or store or to his office, or to a museum, for instance). I try not to take my son to any of these places so that he thinks of this as someplace special to go with his daddy and is eager to go when his father offers it to him!
If that isn't possible, my biggest escape is a twenty-minute bath. We might let my son do something really unusual like watch a video or play on my husband's computer with him. Or something a little less extraordinary might hack it, on occasion (like playing in the yard, digging dirt, throwing the hover disc, etc.). I hope that helps! Hang in! For the last 4 months, I've spent a lot of time praying for perspective. I finally have it, I think, but I know how tough it is sometimes. You'll make it, though!