Your three-year-old won’t be reciprocal. She says, “I’ll do it myself,” and pushes your hand away.
What goes into separation is appreciation for the other person’s ability to be separate. Do we let the three-year-old tie her own shoes when we see that she is struggling? Or do we do it for them?
The parent who is really attached to the child lets the child button her shoes by herself, because the parent is not anxious about their attachment.
Some of us can’t do that – can’t establish a bedtime for our children, or let the children go to bed by themselves.
These are building blocks.
At each developmental stage there is a new building block everyone has to engage in.
We can take joy in watching our children separate from us, and take pain as we watch their separation.