Separation anxiety disorder
Separation anxiety is the fear or distress that can happen to both, children and parents when they think about separating from home or from each other, whom they are attached to. Separation anxiety is a normal stage in an infant’s development. It is equally common for males and females. Usually separation anxiety is temporary and ends at age 2, depending on the healthy environment. Prolonged or permanent symptoms require a medical attention. Anti-anxiety medication can be given to cure this disorder.
Let’s understand separation anxiety as disorder:
Separation anxiety disorder effects the child in way that he or she refuse to go sleep without their major attachment figure. (ex: Parent/Soft Toy)
Due to separation anxiety the child may also go through some physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or vomiting.
When separation does happen, children may withdraw, become sad, or have difficulty concentrating in work or play. They may have fear of animals, monsters, the dark, and kidnappers.
Children whose parents are over-protective may be more prone to separation anxiety.
It can also develop after a significant traumatic event like stay in hospital, change of house, starting the school or changing to new school Separation anxiety can also develop because of unhealthy home environment if the child’s care taker is at stress continuously. Sometimes anxiety is inherited from the birth parents.
COPING WITH SCHOOL REFUSAL:
Beginning school has always made some little ones anxious about separation as well as the unknown. So:
• Prepare your child for what to expect
• Make it sound like fun and excitement without compromising on the reality
• Share your own experiences – kids love to hear those
• Start your prepping in advance -perhaps a week before school actually begins
• Ensure that the child is well rested and well fed before school day.
• Make it clear to your child that you love him, but also be clear on what you expect of him.
• Do not let your child enjoy a school day at home with television and leisure activities - try to get her to do school work.
• Don't linger over goodbyes – keep them short and matter-of-fact. If your child is physically clinging to you, ask the teacher to meet you at the door for a few days to guide her into the room. Don't hang around. Once you have dropped off your child, leave (the school will ring if they need you).
• Time the drop-off to reduce stress -for example, just before the assembly bell, or with the arrival of some of your child's friends (your child will be distracted by them.)
• Ease separation angst by letting your child take a little piece of 'home' along to school - a note from you tucked in the pocket, a laminated family photo in the backpack, or a hand drawn picture of the clock showing what time you will come back and pick her up.
• Allow your child to 'fake it to make it' - don't expect ideal behavior to begin with - and do not punish him for refusing to go. Punishment does not work - kind, consistent, rational pressure and encouragement do.
STAY SANE YOURSELF
School refusal can leave both parent and child feeling drained, angry and helpless. However, the parent should avoid displaying these negative emotions. Most children eventually work through their fears. Meanwhile, here is a short mantra for you:
1. Stay calm
2. Be prepared for setbacks or guilty feelings
3. Listen proactively to your child
4. Do not argue or raise your voice
5. Tell your child often that you love him
6. Consistently emphasize that all children must go to school - and then take them to school
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SUCHETA is a passion driven entrepreneur and multiple times award winner owns Aspirez Training and Counseling firm and Kids Space Academy, preschool cum 24/7 child care center in Bangalore. Because of its unique concept of 24/7, She got lot of media attention in India and Abroad. She has mentored lot of women to come up in their life through her training skills.