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Separation anxiety is known as a normal developmental stage that is experienced by children when they are separated from their primary caregiver (their mothers). It is typically manifested as crying fits and distress when a child is away from his or her parent or when he or she is away from home.

When a child is feeling anxious about being separated from his or her primary caregiver, the child usually exhibits many different behaviors which include:

    Shyness
    Crying or whining
    Reluctance to interact with others (even if they are familiar)
    Silence – instead of their usual talking or babbling
    Clinginess – holding firmly on to the leg or hand, hiding behind the parent n or wanting to be held

Symptoms of separation anxiety

Separation anxiety disorder also manifests itself in several physical and behavioural ways some of which includes:

    Refusal to attend school or other events that are held outside the home
    Not wanting a parent(s) to be out of his or her sight (else, would throw a crying fit), follows the parent around the house/apartment and often requests to sleep in the parents bed at night.
    Excessive worry or panic when thoughts of leaving home cross his or her mind.
    Sometimes develop physical symptoms such as a headache or stomach-aches (anticipation of being separated from parents usually makes these symptoms persistent)

Factors that may cause separation anxiety in children include:

    A very close-knit family
    Insecure caregiver-child attachment in early years is known to really trigger separation anxiety in children
    Girls aged 3 to 5 develop temperamental traits of passivity and shyness
    A temperament that displays fear and withdrawal in unfamiliar environments or situations

The effects of separation anxiety disorder

This actually depends on the child’s anxiety; separation anxiety disorder can really affect a child’s activity and his or her involvement in life. A child’s deep fears and uncertainty about love, trust and security can negatively affect a child’s ability to lead healthy, love filled relationships when he or she finally reaches adulthood.

Certain effects of separation anxiety include:
    Trouble developing relationships: If children do not trust other people, they may really have a tough time connecting with others. They will have trouble connecting with friends, teachers or members of their own family. 
    Isolation: Children may develop the habit of isolating themselves from others because they do not want to be separated from their parents or home.
    Become Detached from others: as children age, they may separate themselves from other because they recognize their fears as unusual.
    Related Disorders: A panic disorder known as “agoraphobia” is most likely to affect children who have had a history with separation anxiety while they were much younger.

Thankfully this condition can be treated with the following techniques:

a)    Cognitive behavioral therapy
b)    Family therapy
c)    Play therapy
d)    Relaxation techniques

It is a great feeling to know that your child loves you and wants to be by your side but you must understand that this can also affect the child’s ability to mix with other people- believe me, you do not want to be known as the mother or father of a “wall flower.”