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When Mommy's (Put) Away ...

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When a mother drops of out a child's life, even for a short time, do her kids need therapy?

By now, the whole world knows what's happening with Mama Brit. But what happens to children, psychologically, when a parent leaves, even for a short period of time? Pediatrician Dr. Gwenn says that when a parent goes away even temporarily, kids can suffer anxiety. "They often display behavorial issues, such as intense temper tantrums, biting, hitting, and throwing things across the room. Their sleep is disrupted. They will lash out at other kids, or at the father."

One coping mechanism psychologist Dr. Pamela Varady suggests is to have children play with dolls. "What they act out with their play dolls will reveal what's going on inside their heads."

Is there anything Daddy can do while Mommy's away? "Kids need to know that Mommy is constantly thinking about them," Dr. Varady says. "Give them little presents and tell them they're from Mom. Have them draw pictures to Mommy and send them. It's crucial to nurture that connection between Mom and the children, even when Mommy is hospitalized."

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
pattistein February 1, 2008, 3:43 PM

tis may work for older childern but,brittney’s kid’s are ages 1 and 2.
their mother hasbeen absent their whole young lives!this is not the right answer!

D February 1, 2008, 3:50 PM

too many people go running to therapy - tons of love,caring ,understanding and patience with the children is what they need . they need to go through whatever they need to to lean how to cope and accept their situation.

erin February 1, 2008, 7:43 PM

as long as they have at least one person in their life who is consistently there for them, they will be fine.

it will take them a while to understand what’s going on. one of the most important things a family can do for kids in that situation is to make sure they understand that what’s happening is not their fault. if a family can articulate the “why” on a child’s level, that will help a lot too. for example, “mommy has a chemical imbalance,” and then explaining what that means.


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