Many children are anxious when they are put in the situation of experiencing a temporary separation from their parents. In the small children who have come to the experience of going to kindergarten, where they will only stay with the educating lady and their colleagues, the anxieties can be more noisy, by crying, the refusal to participate in the kindergarten activities, or even by the refusal to go. in that place where they will be deprived of the permanent supervision of their parents.
There are situations when even older children get scared when their dad or mother leave, and they have to stay home for example. Some children find it very painful to leave one of their parents, even for a short time. They begin to worry deeply and build, in their minds, all kinds of scenarios, some even catastrophic, regarding the departure of their parents. The intense fears and worries of a child when separated from adults in the family fall into the category of defining symptoms. separation anxiety.
Victor, 10, cries and becomes agitated whenever his mother goes to work, and he has to stay home with his mother. He imagines that something bad might happen to his mother on the road, and the possibility that he might suffer an accident comes to mind. The thought that my mother is in danger and that she may not return to him makes Victor wait for hours in front of the window, during which time she prays intensely for her safety. He is neither able to do his homework nor play. Sometimes his head and belly ache or he is nausea. Only the return of the mother seems to make him feel better and to become the lively boy around the parents.
Victor is an example of a child suffering from separation anxiety. The concern about staying alone for a long time or being away from mom and dad for a while is normal for a child. If this fear becomes severe and lasts for several weeks, it may be a case of separation anxiety.
How can you tell if a child is suffering from separation anxiety?
Here are some signs:
- it is very difficult for the child to let the parent or parents leave, even if they are only a few hours away;
- when leaving an adult in the family, the child has extreme behavioral manifestations: he cries, clings to him, begs him not to leave, etc .;
- the child is very afraid that something bad will happen to him or his parents, if they are not together;
- the child worries intensely even though he knows that his mother and father always return;
- the child avoids going to school or taking part in extracurricular activities because the fear of being separated from his parents overwhelms him;
- the child has somatic manifestations (head or belly pain, vomiting sensation) or has nightmares in the absence of the parents or the thought that they are about to leave;
- avoid activities that take place at night outside the perimeter of the house where the parents are (for example, avoid going to sleep with a friend or going to a camp).
If these signs are visible for a longer period of time, it is advisable to call for specialized help.