Exacerbating Son's Separation Anxiety
I just started my first ever live-in position for a single mother and her 7-year-old Autistic son. The mother travels for work and I am left with the son for 2-5 days at a time. The son does have a bit of separation anxiety, which I have dealt with before, but never with a parent who seems to make it worse. The mother will talk about leaving for her trip hours before she goes, which causes her son to start crying at the mention of it, and then have a prolonged goodbye where she will not leave until he is crying. It's very strange to watch and I don't know how to tactfully approach the issue. The son is very attuned to the fact that his mother is responsive to his crying. He has told me, "I will tell mom I was crying when you don't let me watch television!" and then when they Skype, the first thing he says is, "Mommy, I cried today!"
He sees a therapist for his autism and the mom told me when I first started that she didn't like the therapist because the therapist told her that her son feels responsible for other people's feelings. Having been here a few months, I 100% agree. I would like to make this relationship work because when the mother is gone, the son does incredibly well. I made a big move for this job and aside from the mother, I enjoy working with the son very much. He's a very fun and intelligent little boy. My one blunder was not discussing discipline in detail with the mother, and now I can see that it basically doesn't exist in this household. What can I do or say to help show the mother is exacerbating her son's separation anxiety and creating a very dysfunctional relationship by being so responsive to him when he cries? - Anonymous
at 12:43 PM