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Reassuring a Homesick Child
"My nine-year-old gets homesick no matter where he goes, even sleeping over at his cousins’ house, a block away. How can we help him?"
A little separation anxiety isn't unusual in a nine-year-old, but attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) can exaggerate this common emotion. ADD/ADHD kids usually need extra time to make transitions. A little preparation and showing confidence in him should help him in both of these areas.
Next time he's invited to a sleepover, make sure he really wants to go -- so that he won't feel he's being sent away against his will. Describe the fun things he'll do with his cousins or friends, and reassure him that he'll enjoy spending the night there.
On the night of the sleepover, walk him to the corner and watch him until he reaches his cousins' house. If he looks back at you, wave and smile.
Dr. Carol Brady is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She is also a specialist in school psychology and a well-regarded speaker in the areas of ADHD, children, and families in trauma and Tourette's Syndrome.
She received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and she is currently on the scientific advisory board for the Tourette's Syndrome Association and is an adjunct faculty at Baylor University and the University of Texas. Dr. Brady hopes to help children and families who deal with neurological/developmental disorders by serving as a regular columnist for ADDitude magazine.