Separation anxiety materializes in symptoms ranging from fear to extreme fear of a specific situation. In children, it usually occurs when separating from parents and even refusing to go to school. They suffer a state of hypervigilance that usually ends in panic attacks.
Separation anxiety appears in children in early age. The anguish they present during separation is disproportionate to the age and to the situation.
The children that present this tend to reject anything that involves separating from their parents, such as going to school, going to a friend’s house, to a camp or a neighborhood … In extreme situations they even refuse to be alone in their room or somewhere else.
The irrational idea of children is usually based on the fear that something may happen to parents or caregivers.
In very young children, separation anxiety occurs at the moment of separation; however, as they grow, anxiety tends to be anticipatory to this situation.
The characteristics of separation anxiety are:
Beginning – before 6 years.
Duration – at least two weeks.
Intensity – disproportionate to age and interferes with everyday life.
Family environment – overprotective. Parents who are afraid of the autonomy process of their children.
Symptoms – sadness, apathy, crying, concentration difficulties, personal and social interaction difficulties, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, headaches, tremors, fainting spells, dizziness and tachycardia.
If we suspect the presence of separation anxiety, it will be advisable to follow the following tips:
- Anticipate the moment of separation in advance.
- Always give them time to say goodbye.
- Avoid the use of threats that have to do with separation.
- Validate your emotions and how you feel.
- Start with progressive separations.
- Help to understand that we are going to return and give a moment to return (“we will see you when you come back from school”).
- Establish a routine so that the separation is predictable. Which will lessen the anguish.
ESPAI TAU KIDS TEAM