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Dealing with stranger anxiety
Stranger anxiety is the unhappiness that children experience when they are exposed to people who are unfamiliar to them. Infants can begin to experience stranger anxiety at as early as six months of age but it usually begins somewhere between eight and nine months of age. Before eight or nine months most infants accept unfamiliar people without much fuss. But as infants approach eight and nine months of age, they begin to show strong preferences for the people who care for them most of the time usually their parents. At this time infants are beginning to realize that all people are not the same, and that the relationship they have with their primary caregivers is special. They become much more selective about who they will let hold them, play with them, etc. These special activities are usually reserved for close family members.
It is believe that stranger anxiety peaks between 12 to 15 months, and then begin to decrease in severity after that. Keep in mind that each child is unique and reacts differently to different situations and people. Some may not be upset at all by an approaching stranger, while others may protest very loudly when someone they do not know approaches them. The symptoms of stranger anxiety can take many forms; some infants will become very quiet and will stare warily at a stranger, others will cry intensely, and a toddler may try to hide behind a parent standing nearby.