These days many marriages are not lasting for a long time and are ultimately ending up in a divorce. Divorce rates are skyrocketing. This in turn is taking a toll on traditional family relations. This is causing children of divorced parents to develop separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a continuous state of fear that exists in children’s minds and harms their health and happiness.
How divorce affects children
Children need the love and support of both parents. Even if one parent is missing from a child’s life, it can seriously affect the upbringing of the child. The battle over custody also negatively affects a child’s psychology. Children who are raised in such a situation of conflict begin to doubt their abilities and worth. It has long lasting impact on a child’s life.
Signs of separation anxiety
The key signs of separation anxiety in children are a loss of appetite, a loss of interest in school, refusing to sleep alone and inability to cope with social situations. The child may cling to one or both parents and refuse to remain alone at home. The child will lose interest in hobbies or day to day activities.
Causes of separation anxiety
A divorce between parents can be very traumatic for a child. It can have a major effect on the child’s development and psychology. It can cause long term health problems as well. These problems manifest themselves in the form of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety starts slowly and then gradually becomes a major problem.
Treatment for separation anxiety
There are several ways to treat separation anxiety. One way is to be honest towards the child and to respect the child’s feelings. The parents should understand the mindset of the child and should share all details about their divorce and the reasons of the split with the child.
The best treatment so far is cognitive behavior therapy. This method attempts to change the child’s behavior and responses through practice and observation. Through long term practice and training it becomes possible to identify the triggers of anxiety and then to learn how to avoid them.
Another method to treat this sort of anxiety is with medication. Medications which are used to treat depression also work very well with separation anxiety. They can be used to treat separation anxiety as well. However, it is best to take advice from your physician regarding the quantity and frequency of the medication.
Advice for Parents
The best course of action is to try to avoid such situations in the first place. It is best to ensure that things do not come to a situation where a divorce is required. It is essential that the parents do everything they can do gain the trust of their child. They should honestly share all information with the child.
At the same time, the parents can help the child to cope with the problem of separation anxiety by detecting its symptoms and then taking quick action. Separation anxiety must be treated as early as possible, because if it is not, it can have a long term impact on a child’s growth and development.