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9 year old cries every time she is dropped off at school because she wants to be with her daddy and has a strange feeling about leaving him. She doesn't want to go to school at all because she will be away from him. Any help?

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    What exactly are you looking for help with? Coping with separation anxiety, or the crying specifically? – Brian Robbins Apr 14 '15 at 21:11
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    Hi, Sarah, and welcome to the site. We can give you more helpful answers if your questions have more detail. How long has this been going on? Have there been any changes lately? Has anyone/anything been sick or hurt/died? The more you can tell us about it, the better. Please see the Help Center on asking. That might help guide you. – anongoodnurse Apr 14 '15 at 22:40
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    As your question could use more detail, I can only suggest the following: Focus more on how you are (you, dad and you all together) to solve the problem instead of focusing on what you do. – Mike de Klerk Apr 15 '15 at 8:38
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Personally I'd go for asking her and the teachers what's going on at school. Girls often feel safe with their dads, so it actually may be something that's going on, maybe her feeling bullied or some such. I'd start with that.

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I don't think you have enough information. I suggest bringing it up during a quiet time -- after reading a bedtime story always worked well for me -- and ask her about it. "Honey, I notice that..." Then listen and empathize with her. One you fully understand and have shown her that you fully understand, then you can talk about how to make things better.

I highly recommend Stephen Covey's 4th "habit": Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood. It's been a godsend for me when talking about sensitive issues with my kids.

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All children experience some degree of separation anxiety. It can come in different shapes, forms and intensities at different times.

What can help:

  • play peekaboo, hide and seek, etc.

  • prepare the child for the separations.

  • pick a day (once a week or once a month) for a special father - daughter outing or project.

  • model a better way of expressing the feelings, such as, when the father comes home in the evening, say, "We missed you! We were sad!"

  • don't sweep the child's feelings under the rug. That can backfire, and get you an even greater intensity of feeling. Remember that everyone is entitled to experience whatever feelings they have.

  • help the child work on expressing feelings with expressive words. A variety of feelings -- not just panic about father leaving.

Forgive me if the above are already obvious!

There are screening sheets your doctor can give you that can help evaluate your child's general mental health, to see if there's more going on than just the tearful good-byes. It might also be possible to do some screening at school.

Lastly, I suggest you do some observing of your child in school. This can really help you figure things out when there's something about your child's behavior that you don't understand.

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