Separation Anxiety Tips For Kids And Parents
Nearly all parents have been witness to their children having a bout of separation anxiety. With young children, it is a normal part of life. It is something that children often grow out of as they progress further into the toddler years. There are some children, though, that do not seem to grow out it. With these children, separation anxieties have been seen to last all the way into the teen years. In these special cases, it is known as separation anxiety disorder in children.
Anxiety Separation Disorder
Though not incredibly common, separation anxieties can actually become extremely pronounced in some older children. The symptoms of anxiety separation in children can have far reaching effects, inferring with their ability to function normally. Symptoms can include intense fear, tantrums, and in some cases physical manifestations as well, like headaches or stomachaches. At the heart of the separation anxiety disorder in an older child is a very intense fear that something bad will happen if he or she becomes separated from either parent. He or she may have repeated nightmares about what could happen if separated from a parent. He or she may seem to continually obsess and become stressed about the situation occurring. For some children, it can be severe enough that they will refuse to go to school or be any in any situation that will require separation from a parent.
It is possible that separation anxiety in parents is something that goes along with this. Many times, it is seen that children that experience separation anxiety disorder also have parents that experience it as well. Then, parents and children actually end up feeding off of each other’s anxiety. Parent and child each witness the other’s physical display of anxiety and then it heightens the intensity for both parents and children. It becomes difficult to tell whether the separation anxiety in parents came before the separation anxiety in children, or the other way around. There are some that have suggested that since it is most commonly seen in both parent and child, there may be a genetic component to separation anxieties. However, there is not any research at this time that suggests genetics is a factor.
Occasionally, there is treatment available for separation anxiety disorder in children through the use of medication. Should this be presented as an option, be sure to carefully weigh the risks and benefits as it has limited success and many potential side effects. The most common form of treatment is through counseling and psychological therapy. Of course, as with any form of mental disorder, the exact treatment plan will depend heavily upon the individual child. For example, there are many mild cases reported that eventually resolve on their own and require no professional intervention at all. On the other hand, there are also cases of anxiety separation in teens that become very severe and require the expertise of a trained psychologist or psychiatrist to resolve the problem. No matter if the separation anxieties are severe or relatively mild, it is always a good idea to discuss any concerns with the family doctor or pediatrician to figure out what would be the appropriate course of action or if any action is needed at all.