Today one of my 9-month-old baby twins suddenly started acting scared of his father… He was fine just 10 minutes before.
They were playing with a music toy and laughing. My husband took the trash out, came back inside, and my son acted as if he was a stranger! He just constantly stared at my husband, then he would start to cry, suddenly stop, and stare at him again. This went on for 2 hours.
When my husband brought my son to me, I sat him in my lap, and he continued to watch the hallway (my husband had walked down the hall), until my husband reappeared in the living room.
My son has never done anything like this before. Does anyone have any advice? I don’t want to overreact, but I am worried. Is this normal developmental behavior?
Thanks, ShellyBaby Helpline:
Normal For 9-Month-Old Baby To Be Scared Of Dad?
Don’t worry, babies often make funny decisions and react fearfully for apparently no reason at all! It may be that your baby got a fright or heard a funny noise, at the same time as your husband appeared in the room and associates that fearful feeling with his Dad.
Fathers are usually bigger, have deeper voices and don’t interact with babies as verbally as Mom does. He is still at the stage where Mommy is his security, and babies sometimes do react in odd ways to their father. Don’t worry it is perfectly normal, it just seems more apparent to you because you have two babies to compare!
9 months is a typical age when both separation anxiety and stranger anxiety can be at their peak, so his reaction actually shows that he is developing in completely normal ways!
Now, what to do about the situation?
Don’t force the issue, just have your husband play lots of games and cuddling time and maybe some quieter games, with lots of smiling and eye contact. Peepo games are a good way to create fun, and teach him to understand people come back – just make them funny not scarey.
The one thing NOT to do is to try to force your son to “get used to” his dad by, for example, have him hold him although he is obviously scared. This can make things even worse. So take it step by step at a pace that makes your son comfortable.
Don’t worry, he will gain trust again with his father, and as he develops his own personality more and more you will notice lots of ways your twins are different.
Enjoy your babies, you will have a busy time for a while!
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