It is normal for children to be nervous when away from their parents whether it is their first day of school, first sleepover, first overnight summer camp, etc. When these intense symptoms of anxiety persist over time, this is when children need help the most. It is important for parents to seek help for their children with separation anxiety instead of enabling these behaviors.
Children can have a strong hold of their parents that they feel like their world will be caught off balance if they are not around them. A child can have a hard time concentrating in class because they are scared their parents will get into a car accident picking them up. They can constantly worry their parents will get hurt or that they will abandon them even if they are a few minutes late. It may seem like children should be at ease if they have cell phones with them to contact their parents but it can actually lead to more challenges. If a parent does not answer their child’s dozen text messages or phone calls, the child can suffer a panic attack. This can make it hard for them saying goodbye to their parents.
If children cannot establish independence away from their parents, this will prevent children from taking risks and having new adventures. They will not want to join sports teams or go to school knowing their parents will not be around the whole time. Children may want to stand next to their parents at gatherings or not want to sleepover at a friend’s house. A child will want to make sure they are in every room their parent is in and may want to sleep with their parents every night.
When children get older and the problems still persist, they may anticipate separation than the actual separation. They can have nightmares of being away from their parents and suffer physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches. Children with separation anxiety should use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to manage their fears as well as exposure therapy to expose them to small doses of separation at a time. Medication can also be prescribed for anxiety. Parents may feel reluctant to let their child go when they see how worried it makes them but by getting them help, they will learn to live a life of independence and allow themselves to take learning opportunities as they come.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.