Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old, it’s normal for children to be very clingy to their parents. Although this is seen as typical behavior for children, usually children will get more independent as they get older. Some children, however, experience separation anxiety and struggle being away from their family members. Since it’s normal for children to be dependent on their parents at a young age, it’s important to know if it’s becoming separation anxiety.
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Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
Each child is different, but symptoms usually become more obvious after the child reaches third or fourth grade. Some of the common symptoms to look out for include: difficulty sleeping alone, constant worry about the safety of your family members, not wanting to go to school or do anything that’s away from the family, nightmares about separation, clinginess (even at home), muscle aches or tension, temper tantrums when they are separated from their parents, and more.
Causes of Separation Anxiety
There are both environmental and biological factors that can cause this. If it’s biological, it’s likely because the child inherited the tendency to be anxious. If it’s due to environmental factors, however, it could be because they learned this behavior from family members. For instance, if the child’s mom or dad is anxious and afraid to be away from the child, they may pick up on this behavior. In addition, a traumatic event can be another factor.
What to Do
The treatment for your child will depend on their age, symptoms, and even your preference. That being said, adolescent separation anxiety counseling in Westchester NY is a great resource. During therapy, your child will learn how to cope with these feelings, while parents will learn how to support them and encourage age appropriate independence.
If your child is experiencing separation anxiety, consider going to adolescent separation anxiety counseling in Westchester NY. It’s a great resource for both children and parents.