How to Help the Child Deal with Separation Anxiety

How to Help the Child Deal with Separation Anxiety

It is the children that often carry the brunt of the impact when their parents file for divorce. Parents should take an extra look at this event and should make it a priority. If you are going this road in your life, it is best to take a look at some of these tips to help your children cope better with separation anxiety.

Know the signs

Anxiety levels vary from child to child. What makes separation anxiety hard is the fact that there are no obvious or apparent symptoms until the situation gets blown out of proportion. Children can suffer from anxiety even if they are practically still infants. Some children would throw a tantrum as part of their defense mechanism to address their sadness over the separation. It is important to know that anxiety is linked to lower levels of cortisol in the brain. Among the telltale signs that a child is suffering from stress and anxiety are bedwetting and irritability. Recurring nightmares are also one of the classic signs that a child is suffering from anxiety. If the child suffers from nausea and stomachaches then you need to take a closer look since it could be an apparent symptom of separation anxiety.

Keep it calm

Child psychologists recommend that children should remain calm in the midst of the changes occurring around. It is best that parents or caregivers are able to make their child ward calm through various relaxation techniques or exercises. These techniques should be paired well with other kinds of therapies. A calm child means that the levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain are elevated.

Tell the truth

When you are going through a bitter divorce it pays to tell the children the truth. The truth will set you free, as they say. Have you ever felt sugar-coating the situation to your child to lessen the pain? Parents sometimes would sugar-coat the situation because they don’t want the children to get hurt. The fact is your children would get hurt more if you keep details of the situation away from them. Have you thought that sooner or later your children will hear the reality of the situation from other people and feel betrayed because their own parents are not truthful to them? Never underestimate the ability of your children to understand the situation. Paying importance to their feelings would lessen the pain and the symptoms of separation anxiety.

Never blame anybody

Putting blame to anybody will only make the situation worse. Backstabbing your ex-spouse is never a good idea. It would help if both parents would explain the situation to their children. Show some unity when you are going to talk to your children about the need to have separate lives. Never openly rebuke your spouse, it dilutes the trust that you need to get from your children. Never fight in front of the children as it will only make the situation worse.

Show some reassurance

Psychologists believe that those children who get reassurance and support that they need have better chances to overcome their anxiety over the divorce. Let the children know that the situation is not their fault and both parents should always be available to attend to their needs. It is just that mommy and daddy have to live in separate houses. Make sure your children understand that the separation is just a state of living but it will not impact the care and love. Set realistic expectations and be honest.

Seek professional help

Asking for professional help is one of the best things that you can do to help your child cope with separation anxiety. Professionals are able to recommend treatments and therapies that will surely alleviate the pain and make the situation better.

Children may not show obvious signs of stress and anxiety but they do and it could be just a time bomb waiting to explode. If left untreated it could wreak havoc to the children’s mental and physical health. While there are instances in life that cannot be avoided and could lead to separation; the children should be spared from anxiety as much as possible.

About the Author:

Ryan Rivera used to suffer from anxiety attacks for seven years.  For more information regarding these topics, check out his Calm Clinic Google+ account.

Image credit:  powazny on Flickr

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