22.3.19

Dealing with your separation anxiety | Collaboration

Separation anxiety is often talked about among parents; however, it is usually the issue of your child
suffering from separation anxiety and how you deal with that. Children typically do grow out of it so
while it can be a stressful time it won’t be forever. However, what you may not have heard of or
anticipated is that you, as a parent might suffer separation anxiety from being apart from your child.
You might think you would look forward to some free time, to not being followed around constantly
and having this little person demanding your time and attention so much. While many parents say
how much they miss their child when they are away from them and how guilty they feel leaving them
at nursery or with a babysitter, in reality, parental separation anxiety is much more than that.





So, what exactly is parental separation anxiety?
As mentioned, it is much more than the guilt you feel or missing your child; some parents struggle with
intense and overwhelming feelings when it comes to being apart from their children or loved ones.
This anxiety is something that can even develop during pregnancy, or at any point during your child’s
childhood. It is common for the feelings to be triggered when your child starts nursery, starts school or
goes on school trips, spending time away from the family home. The anxiety could present itself in the
form of a low mood, anger or erratic thinking. However, there are plenty of ways you can manage this
anxiety.


Acknowledge The Way You Feel
If you are aware of your feelings and understand why they are occurring, then it is really helpful and
much easier to deal with. There is no point in denying how you are feeling as this won’t help you, and
you will not be able to get the support you need.


Talk About It
Talking about how you feel to other people and especially to other parents will help you with your
feelings. It is nice to know that you are not alone and that other parents experience these feelings too.
Talking to them will give you the with support and release you need. They may also be able to help
you by offering you their ideas on what worked for them.


Occupy Yourself
Just like when you’re missing your partner, you need to keep your mind occupied with other things.
Plan activities for yourself and get them booked in before your child goes away. That way you’ll know
that you have things to look forward to and won’t leave you trying to find things to do once the anxiety
hits. Plan to meet up with friends or plan an activity that makes you happy and even better, plan
something you can’t always do when your kids are around. Turn it into a positive, maybe also use the
time to enjoy something new or to learn something new.


Enjoy Yourself
There must be loads of things you haven't had time to do or aren’t able to do with the kids around.
Spending some alone time with your spouse, enjoying a nice long bath with no interruptions, finally
redecorating, or going for a weekend or day trip away somewhere yourself, there are so many things
you can use this time for. Consider it your golden opportunity.


Reassure Your Child
It's likely that your child will pick up on some of your nervousness, so try to maintain a positive attitude
in front of them. Do your best to be excited and upbeat about your child's plans. You don't want your
child to feel apologetic or worried about leaving, so make sure that you express only positive thoughts.


Give Your Child A Little Something
Give your child something that you made for them or a small souvenir that has meaning for you both.
It’s nice for them to have something, a comfort or a reminder for a while they are away. You could pop
a little note in their bag which they will read when they get there or in their lunch box - giving you the
comfort of knowing that you’ve made them smile and they know you’re thinking about them.

Just like with the children, this feeling will pass and the more they go away, and you see that they’re
alright and enjoying themselves the easier it will be for you to enjoy your time without them. The
important thing is to encourage your children to go out there and be independent individuals.

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