Small child

I hate separation! - or how to help a child get through the phase of separation anxiety

I hate separation! - or how to help a child get through the phase of separation anxiety

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Each of us is afraid of something. It is interesting that our fears are most often caused by what, in an objective sense, does not pose a real threat to our life or health. Rather, it concerns our very subjective feelings, general values ​​whose threats we often cannot even define and, consequently, meet it. If we - adults have difficulties with it, let alone a child whose mechanisms of dealing with anxiety are still so immature. Going through subsequent stages of development, it faces a difficult task of meeting many natural phases of anxiety. Sudden sounds, strangers, darkness, animals, shadows. Of all the fears, in the first three years of a child's life, the fear of separation, called separation anxiety, is of particular importance.

Where does separation anxiety come from?

In the vicinity six months old, the child usually starts to leave the stage of symbiosis (the feeling that Ono and Ty are one and the same entity) to the next stage of development, which is the process of separation. Along with the progressing physical separateness (learning to sit down, creep, first steps) I realize that you are two independent people. At the same time, it matures "Stability of the object", he begins to understand that a given object (be it a cup, favorite toy or parent) exists regardless of whether the child can observe it at the moment. Taken together, these developmental achievements lead to a simple conclusion - since I'm not part of you, you can leave me.

My child is afraid of parting - what now?

Almost every child survives concerns about the dismissal of the object of attachment (most often mothers) and it is a completely natural reaction, which is a healthy developmental stage. When will your child grow out of this phase? Difficult question! Crying or tantrums in response to parting may persist up to the age of fourHowever, in reality, the length and intensity of separation anxiety is a very individual matter, explained by personality differences, previous experiences or genetic predispositions of the child. If you and your child are on this perhaps rather difficult but unavoidable path, it is worth familiarizing yourself with a few tips that will allow you a bit easier to get through the stage of separation anxiety.

Notify the child about separation

Prepare the child for a breakup, saying well that he must be without you. Even if your child uses only a few words, you can be sure that he can already understand a lot. Try to explain to him each time where you go and when you come back (giving him an easy to understand reference point: e.g. when his favorite story ends
or exchanging what they will play with the babysitter until you return.) Take care to keep your word - this is the basis for building a sense of security in your child.

Build small rituals around goodbyes

That's enough for that a kiss or a wave of the hand with a tender "See you later, honey!" Try to do it quickly and reliably, without unnecessarily dragging breakups. The child, hearing your sure and calm tone, will begin to interpret the situation as non-threatening while feeling that you believe in his ability to do without you. Although leaving the house inattention to a child in order to avoid his crying under the door can be tempting, in fact it will have the opposite effect - no one feels safe in unpredictable situations.

Separations can be practiced

If all breakups are particularly difficult moments for your child, it is worth trying some sort of "Breakup training". Starting with leaving a child with another guardian for a very short time, gradually increase the "difficulty level". If you feel that your child cannot cope even with your temporary absence, start distance training (even leaving a child with another carer in the room and bustling around the kitchen, say something to him from time to time as a sign that although you are not next to him, you remember about him). Plan breakup moments in such a way that the child was soon after a nap or eating - we ourselves know that the basis for a good sense of each of us is to ensure the right amount of sleep and meal.

Create a familiar environment for your child

If you have to leave your child looked after outside, let them it might have had familiar objects with it (blanket, favorite mascot). It is best if the child is already familiar with the place where he would stay. If you are concerned about how your child will cope during the first days in kindergarten, it's worth it take advantage of the 'open days' offerthat are organized by most of the outlets. The child will then have the opportunity to get to know the new place well in very safe conditions, having a parent at their side. If the child were to stay at home under the care of a newly hired babysitter, it is worth planning a few joint meetings in advance for a closer look.

Respect emotions, set boundaries

You certainly don't want to create unnecessary situations for your child to feel sad or scared, but it's worth knowing thate dealing with a break-up situation is what everyone must learn in life. If every dismissal is associated with your child's protest, submission will not do anything good. If you are sure that your child is safe, it is worth letting them cry. Teach them that there are times in life when we feel sad or nervous. Call your child's emotions, say you understand them, but remind them that there are rules at home that must be followed, even if you don't feel like it.

Half full glass

Talk about the child's successes. Let your child clearly understand that you enjoy that becomes more and more independent and can also have a good time without you. Take advantage of the situation thanks to which the child will be able to positively associate these moments without your presence. When you are sure that your child is safe, encourage them to explore the world on their own - ensure that you are close, look at them and that they can come back to you at any time.

When to start worrying?

A parent's fear of a child's fear certainly does not contribute to building an atmosphere of security, which is why (theoretically) it would be best not to worry at all - and devote all attention and energy to patient and consistent action. However, sometimes the symptoms of separation anxiety are so intense or persist that they do not allow the child (and consequently the whole family) to function properly. If you observe symptoms in your child that you are particularly concerned about (these may be sleep problems, stomach aches, muscle tension or panic attacks), it's worth going to a specialist. Early diagnosis of anxiety disorder and selection of appropriate treatment methods (mainly through psychotherapy) will allow the child to quickly restore the child's ability to develop properly and bring peace to both him and his parents.

Separation anxiety, which requires specialist intervention, however, affects a small percentage of children. Rely on parental intuition, be patient, have a little knowledge, focus on consistency and a huge dose of love, and before you look back, your child will happily set off to conquer the world independently.


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