Separation anxiety and how to get through it

Separation anxiety is a type of anxiety that is often experienced by young children who are having difficulty pulling away from their parents. But, it can affect anyone at any age, in different ways. In some ways, all babies go through some levels of separation anxiety, but not all to the same degree of it. Most babies and toddlers may feel they are not with mommy or daddy but will get over the instance rather quickly. Those children who show real signs of anxiety and are very upset by the prospect of being left by a parent are facing a serious condition that should not be ignored.

What Is It?

This condition is a form of anxiety disorders. If you really think about the problem, you can see how a child can develop this condition. The baby is defenseless, unable to fend for him or herself and is being taken away from the person or people who provide for them. This could cause anyone stress. The condition will present itself in various forms, but usually entails intense screaming or other forms of the child showing that he or she is upset. The process is frustrating for both parent and child. In most cases, the condition will pass through time.

Consider for a moment that attitudes and cultures play a significant role here. In most Western countries, parents are okay with leaving their child with others right from their start of their lives. This same thing is not true around the world. In many other cultures, infants very rarely are taken from their mothers even for short periods of time until they are over the age of one. There are ways that you can make separation anxiety easier to manage, though. 


Getting Through It

To help your child through these separation struggles, there are several things you can try to do.

1.    Keep separation times limited. If your child can go along with you, allow them to do so. You can wait out the anxiety in this way.
2.    Choose to leave your child with people who he or she is familiar with, rather than strangers. While the child may still fight you on it, they are going to feel better sooner because they know those who they are being left with.
3.    Leave the child with someone you do not know, give them a chance to get to know this person while you are still there. This may be the most difficult of options, but it may be your only option. The more time the child can spend with this caregiver before you make this transition, the better.

Often, separation anxiety is not caused by any significant disorder or psychological problem. Most babies will outgrow the condition within a few months or by the time they are three or four years of age. It is best to help a child through the situation before they enter school. If your preschooler is struggling with anxiety from being left by you, you should work with your pediatrician and still explain that things will be okay to the child when necessary.