Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

June 11, 2014

Take steps to cope with separation anxiety

Parenting comes with hard moments. But few rival the torment -- for both child and parent -- of a child screaming while Mom or Dad leaves.

Why do some children skip merrily to the church nursery or a care provider's arms while others claim a death grip on Dad's neck as soon as they detect they will be left? What can parents do to ease the transition?

First, recognize the challenge. Children crave security. Parents are the prime source. While most children face separation anxiety at some point, they vary greatly on how deep it goes and how long it takes to overcome.

Some children soak security from life, so heading to another's care just doesn't faze them. Others -- not so much. For whatever reason, they are simply prone to feeling more insecure despite parents' best efforts. When parents start to disappear -- whether for work, worship or a date -- these children sense their one source of safety bailing on them.

Imagine watching the departing taillights of your friend's car as you are left in a dark parking lot on the worst side of town, and you get a sense of how your child feels. It may not be rational, but it is real. The answer is to understand and attempt to build up the security deposits.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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