The term separation anxiety in relation to parenting refers to a development milestone that occurs in most babies between 6 to 7 months of age when they develop object permanence. Object permanence means that the baby has learned that things and people still exist even if they can’t see them. Separation anxiety happens as a direct result of this development.
Before object permanence, the baby can be placed in their crib and if the parent walks away and the baby cries it isn’t because the baby misses the parent. Object permanence is a big milestone because now babies start to sense that when the parent walks away, s/he may be gone for a while! This not knowing affects the baby’s sense of security and makes them feel vulnerable. Hence the hysterical crying!
Our baby is incredibly laid back and has never had separation anxiety—until Covid19. Now, he and I spend all of our time together. When I try to leave, he sometimes gets a bit clingy and scared. This happened the other day when I was visiting my Mom. I went to put him down to play and he quickly grabbed onto my shirt and would not let go. He was in an unfamiliar place and didn’t want me to leave!
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
While you certainly want your child to grow to be autonomous, there is something sweet as a Mother about having your baby want to be near you. I wondered the other day if that is how God feels about us, and I think he does.
What would it look like if we had such love and intimacy with God that we had separation anxiety when we were not close to him? That would be one beautiful relationship with God!