Stranger Anxiety is a natural part of baby/toddler development.
You did not do anything wrong as parents that brought about this, even though some people may try to tell you it’s caused by less exposure to outside world.
Every child is different and has different paces of development, sometimes even if you expose your child to the outside world, they will have it jn their nature to be more conscious towards strangers, sometimes to specific people like that uncle with the beard or a loud aunt or just men in general.
Stranger anxiety usually starts to surface in babies around 8-10 months and may become intensified in toddlerhood and may not go away until they are about 3 years old
As parents it just makes us feel bad when your toddler treats your best friend as the biggest threat.
What can we do as parents as our kids go through this phase of development?
- Be patient. Yes that’s the best thing we can do, is to be patient with them as they pass through this phase
- Acknowledge their feelings. Don’t force them to mingle with people they don’t feel comfortable with. Tell them “it’s okay” and be there close to them when you expect such encounters, so they don’t freak out. Give them time, instead of forcing interactions or hugs, by doing so we are acknowledging that we understand how they feel and there is nothing wrong with them. Remember they are trying to figure out this outside world and people it, give them time and they will eventually learn to cope it.
- Give your friends and family a fair warning to give your toddler a little time and distance until they become comfortable. That way they don’t try to pick them up and cause a meltdown
Like all stages of development, this too shall pass but how we react to these behaviors will have a huge impact on their lives and personality.