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Child Separation Anxiety

One of the most common anxieties experienced by young children is separation anxiety. According to studies, almost 5 out of 10 children suffer from separation anxiety between ages 3 and 5, while 1 out of 10 children continue with the said disorder upon reaching the age of 7. While this is a highly common problem experienced by both parents and their kids, it does have a lot of repercussions on the child as he grows up.
Separation anxiety is a fear of the child to be left out by his or her parents. This usually shows up when the child is either left at home by his parents under the care of a babysitter, or when he has to be left in school. Children with this kind of condition cry persistently and sometimes throw tantrums just for their parents to stay.

Contributing Factors

One reason behind the onset of separation anxiety in children is the dependence of the child towards his parents. There are some children who have been given excessive amounts of care and affection by their family members, thus they tend to feel that their bond is broken once they are set apart from their loved ones. It is like the fear of losing a loved one for good, and as a result, they would throw fits of rage just for the physical dependence to stay intact.

Child separation anxiety is a rather inevitable process. It is because this is the stage in which the child learns how to become independent from his parents by getting used to a new environment. In the next 2-3 years the child will be able to realize that the bond with his parents remains intact even if they are far apart, as by the end of the day they will be together in the same house.
However, child separation anxiety can also be a result of the lack of proper attention between the parent and the child. It is an instinct for the child to seek love and attention from his parents, and if they are not able to provide such bond, this may result to consistent fits and tantrums. They can even bring this trauma to their teenage years, resulting to disobedience, rebellion against authority, and low self-esteem.

Management of separation anxiety

Child separation can likewise be managed with positive reinforcement. It is important for the parents to encourage their child to engage in social activities without their actual presence, such as staying in class and playing with their classmates. While it is normal for kids to cry during the first days of school, they can be trained to join their classmates by means of giving rewards or exposing them to things that would capture their interest, provided that they will be fetched from school on time.
It is also a big help to expose the child in more socially interactive engagements, such as going to the playground or hanging out with the neighbor kids. By getting to know their peers making friends, children with separation anxiety will be able to develop better independence from their parents, and eventually get over their fear of being left behind.

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