Dealing with Toddler’s Separation Anxiety: How Do I Get My Toddlers to Stop Their

Rhonda took her son in to the dentist for his annual exam and afterward the dentist brought her into the room to show her that her son was developing an overbite and asked Rhonda if her son was still using a pacifier. Rhonda replied, “Well, yes, but not all the time.” The dentist then suggested that her son should stop using his pacifier to prevent the overbite from getting worse. Rhonda knew her son, Adam, was getting “too big” to use a pacifier, but she was avoiding the huge blow up that occurred every time she tried to take the pacifier away. She wondered how she could get Adam to give up the pacifier without it becoming a big traumatic event or facing a child throwing a tantrum.

Are you ready to get rid of the pacifier, but your toddler isn’t? Do you wonder how to get a toddler to give up pacifier use without having to deal with a child throwing a tantrum?

Children’s attachment to security objects is usually related to separation issues. The resistance you experience when trying to wean them is often referred to as a toddler’s separation anxiety.

Like most problems in parenting, you want to look at this situation from the child’s perspective.  Thumb sucking or pacifier use  is not a sign of weakness. It is usually a temporary means for children to manage their emotions.

Until they learn how to express them verbally, young children often cope with their emotions by depending on objects. So respect the importance of security objects, whether it’s a pacifier, bottle, favorite blanket or stuffed animal

Sooner or later, however, children will need to transition to the next stage of childhood where they have the skills necessary to willingly give up their dependencies.

How To Help Your Child Transition Out Pacifier Use Without Toddler Separation Anxiety:

The key to fostering your child’s independence is to teach skills while letting go of the need to control, the desire to be needed, or the temptation to rescue. Your children will always need you, but the ways they need you will change over the years. By replacing unhelpful habits with helpful responses, we maintain a healthy balance between freedom and limits.

Now here are some practical suggestions to try to wean your toddler from pacifier use :

For example, Rhonda’s conversation might go like this:

On the way home from the dentist, Adam might say, “I really like my sucky.” Rhonda can say, “Yeah, it’s really nice to have that sucky. What did the dentist say would happen if you sucked it?” This helps Adam buy into the idea of letting go of the pacifier instead of pushing and lecturing. Rhonda can just keep acknowledging Adam’s feelings and the difficulty, “It must be hard not to use something you really like to use.”

For more information about toddler’s separation anxiety and how to apply The Parent’s Toolshop’s uniqueUniversal Blueprint problem-solving system to this challenge, take the 30-Days To Parenting Success Course. You will be less frustrated, respond more calmly and feel more confident in any parenting situation.

The best part is the 30-Day Course is free!  So what are you waiting for?  Minimize family stress by taking the 30-Day Course to get effective parenting tips and advice!


Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE is the author of the award-winning book, The Parent’s Toolshop and president of Parent’s Toolshop Consulting, where she oversees an international network of Toolshop trainers. She has 30 years experience as a top-rated speaker and parenting expert to the media worldwide, including serving as the Co-Producer and Parenting Expert for the Emmy-nominated Ident-a-Kid television series. Currently, she hosts the Parents Tool Talk radio show and is a parenting expert columnist for Chic Mom magazine. She has produced almost 100 multimedia resources, which are available at her award-winning website, www.ParentsToolshop.org.

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