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The Hidden Risks of Ignoring Separation Anxiety in Children

Separation anxiety is a normal and common phase that many kids go through, especially during the preschool and early elementary school years. It is important to treat separation anxiety in school-age children because it can then show some impact on a child's ability to function and learn in school.

In addition, separation anxiety that is not treated can lead to more serious problems later, such as social isolation, academic difficulties, and mental health problems. When parents and caregivers treat separation anxiety early, they can help children develop the skills and confidence they need to cope with separation. This further results in a more comfortable and secure persona in school and other new environments.

Here are some 'consequences' of not treating separation anxiety in children ages 4 to 12:

  • Difficulty with socialization: Kids who struggle with separation anxiety may have difficulty forming and maintaining friendships, as they may be too anxious to engage in activities or events that involve being away from caregivers. It can impede their development of independence and self-sufficiency too.

  • School avoidance: Kids may experience significant distress when leaving home for school and may exhibit school refusal behaviours such as refusal to attend school, crying, or physical symptoms like stomach aches or vomiting. This is also a symptom of being emotionally constipated.

  • Emotional problems: Kids may experience ongoing feelings of worry, fear, and sadness, which can impact their overall emotional and mental well-being. As they are still in the feeling of denial and wishing for a miracle to happen which can then further make everything back to normal.

  • Impairment in daily functioning: Kids may experience difficulties with daily tasks such as sleeping, eating, or participating in activities outside of the home, which can lead to impairment in their overall functioning as they are mentally insecure.

  • Long-term effects: If left unaddressed, separation anxiety in kids can persist into adulthood, leading to a risk of other anxiety disorders like social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder or other mental health disorders.

It is essential to seek help from a healthcare professional if your child's separation anxiety is causing significant distress or impairment in their daily functioning. Working with a mental health professional/counsellor can help children learn coping strategies and gradually overcome their anxiety.

We wish you happy parenting!


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