Children and separation anxiety

Children and separation anxiety
Fonte: shutterstock

Separation anxiety and children

Separation anxiety arises from the fear of being abandoned by the mother and generally appears around the eighth month of life. In some cases it may appear earlier, in others after.

How separation anxiety manifests itself

He always expresses himself with restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings, desperate cries when the mother goes away even if only to reach another room.

Separation anxiety can have various levels of intensity depending on the temperament of the child and the mother's ability to reassure him. In this last regard, it is important that on the one hand the mother is very affectionate with the child and she devotes herself to him completely whenever she can and on the other hand she shows herself serene in the face of any manifestation of discomfort. That is, the child must not acknowledge that the mother is frightened by her reactions, nor that she feels somehow guilty of what is happening to him, nor that she is irritated or, worse, angry.

Separation anxiety from mom or even dad?

The fear of being abandoned is a feeling that usually concerns the mother, but in some cases it can also develop towards the father. The eventuality is frequent especially in cases where the father has taken care of the little one every day since the first months of life, also taking care of his hygiene. Exactly as a mother must do, even the father must make the child feel his affection as much as possible, not only by spending time with him but also by caressing him, kissing him, hugging him. Physical contact is indeed an extraordinary tool of consolation.

What to do if the child has separation anxiety?

So what to do?  In addition to handing the teddy bear to the child, due to its function as a symbol of affection and maternal presence, when the mother moves away from him, she can offer him a previously worn T-shirt, in which therefore there is his smell. The trick is particularly comforting and, therefore, reassuring for most children.

On the other hand, summarizing what was written above, we can:

  • make the child feel affection
  • spend time with the baby
  • cuddle the baby (physical contact is a consolation tool)

(consultancy by Leo Venturelli, family pediatrician, author of numerous publications on outpatient pediatrics and co-author of popular books for parents including A child is born, The great encyclopedia of the child, From 0 to 6 years, a guide for the family )

Read also:

  • Eighth month of the newborn
  • How to make the baby sleep
  • Moms: how to manage anxiety

Read the whole agenda of the baby, from 0 to 12 months

  • child's agenda
  • newborn 4-8 months
  • newborn and separation anxiety
  • separation anxiety from the parent
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