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Therapy Changes Releases a Parent’s Guide to Managing Separation Anxiety in Children
Date:3/18/2013

her,” says Dr. Perper. “On the other hand, feelings of guilt can arise when you take time out for yourself and the amount of attention your child seems to require from you can seem overwhelming at times.”

Positive Parenting Strategies

The following acronym, GRAPES will allow you to stay focused on what your child needs most:

  •     Goodbye ritual. Rituals are reassuring and can be as simple as a special wave through the window or a goodbye kiss.
  •     Routine. Keep familiar surroundings when possible and make new surroundings familiar.
  •     Acknowledge feelings. Try saying: “I know you feel sad and scared…”
  •     Practice Separation. Leave the child with a caregiver for brief periods and short distances at first.
  •     Enjoy the child’s accomplishments. Praise his or her efforts – even the smallest.
  •     Swift goodbyes. Be upfront about leaving and return time and then go – don’t stall.

When to Call for Additional Help

Childhood, by nature is marked by certain fears – of monsters, of the dark, or being left with a new babysitter, of starting school, and so on. In early childhood, crying, tantrums or clinginess are healthy reactions to these fears. Separation Anxiety Disorder, however, is a more serious condition that requires additional support. “Separation Anxiety Disorder in children is the most common anxiety disorder,” Dr. Perper explains. “It is marked by extreme difficulty when away from home or loved ones. The disorder is marked by intense fear that the child’s parents or caregivers will be harmed when they are away from the home.” Therapy provided by professional therapists who specialize in children’s issues can be helpful to assist children in developing skills to overcome their fears and support families in learni
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