Separation Anxiety and How to Deal With It

It is common to see babies crying when they are separated from their parents even when the parents are present at the scene but separation anxiety is a worse case than this. If your child has separation anxiety he/she will react normally when separated from you. The reaction can be extreme anxiety and unusual behavior than normal until the parents are with the child. The condition is not limited to child-parent relation only. Separation anxiety can be present in children for their grandparents, siblings and other close relations too. Let’s have a look at some more information about this psychological condition.

How Separation Anxiety Starts In Children

Signs of separation anxiety are more common when a child has reached the age of 8 months at least. Before this age the child is not sensible enough to know that things that are not in his sight still exist. However, nearing his 8 months the child will know that even if the parents are not around him, they are somewhere else and they do exist. This thought makes them do things, in their own way, to bring the parents back. A child screaming at the top of his voice, throwing things at people, breaking stuff in the house and running away from people is actually trying hard to bring the parents back. The problem is that this condition might persist even in teenagers and that’s when separation anxiety is at its peak.

How Children and Young People with Separation Anxiety Think

Things are normal for ordinary children are not normal for children and teenagers with separation anxiety. Young people who have this disorder will not be able to sleep without their parents. They will be afraid of going on a drive with their parents since they think that an accident might cause a separation between them and their parents. If their parents are only out of sight for a few moments or a couple of hours, they will start thinking of harms and other bad things happening to their parents. Any thought of separation can be psychologically distressful for such children. They won’t even take part in activities, games and sports that separate them from their parents for some time.

How Parents Should Deal with Children with Separation Anxiety

Often, parents are found going the wrong way in dealing with separation anxiety in their children. Working parents will try to secretly leave the house for work, so the child doesn’t start crying, but this is the worst strategy one can have. If a child has separation anxiety and you sneak out and go for work, he could spoil his entire day or react in a very hostile manner in the house. The best way to keep your child calm is to inform him that you are leaving for work and tell him the time when you will return. Punctuality is a big factor here so make sure you return at the time you told your child.

While it’s not advisable to leave the house without telling your child about it but when you are saying goodbye, keep it short. Going to school or preschool is the most difficult thing for your child but if you stay there for some time before leaving, this is going to have a very positive psychological effect on him. The child will get familiar with people in the school more easily when you are around than when you are not. Never criticize your child for his/her anxiety; this could make matters worse. Make your child feel confident and occasionally keep talking about separation and reunion to familiarize him/her with the concept.