The New Year traditionally has been a time of renewal and rejuvenation, often accompanied by fervent declarations that we will rid ourselves of certain types of behaviour and strike out into uncharted waters. We call these New Year Resolutions and while they can sometimes be the impetus we need to make life changing decisions, mostly they evaporate within a few months.
Children don’t make these types of declarations and appear to just take life in their stride. In only a few weeks, thousands of bright-eyed and eager youngsters will make the transition from pre-school to school. For many of them it will be a fairly seamless transition as they have been preparing for it for months. A few will be anxious at leaving Mum or Dad, but often, it is not the children who are suffering the greatest anxiety.
Adult Separation Anxiety now Recognised as a Mental Health Issue
Most parents experience some form of separation anxiety when they hand their precious children into the care of the school system. Usually it is a time of sadness and reflection that the baby days are passing and their children have taken the first step towards adulthood. Here at Brisbane City Psychologists we see this as perfectly normal behaviour.
For a few parents, however, this anxiety does not dissipate when their children come home, happy and eager to discuss their first few days at school. Instead of finding excitement in sharing these experiences with their children, they feel apprehensive. They have a sense of foreboding that does not leave them but becomes more intense when school is discussed.
If left untreated, this cloud of anxiety will not only ruin the children’s enjoyment of their new environment, but could spill over into everyday activities like work, running the household, socialising and personal relationships.
Early Research Recommends Behavioural Therapies used for Children
We have been keeping in touch with the early research taking place into adult separation anxiety. Because it has only recently been recognised as a serious mental health problem, there is little in the way of treatments. However, treatments based on the same behavioural therapies that are successful for children are showing promise when applied to adults.
Adults seriously struggling with being apart from their children for normal lengths of time can undertake life changing psychology by accessing the treatments used here at Brisbane City Psychologists. Recognising a problem is always the first step in dealing with it, and adult separation anxiety is no different. In the same way that other mental health issues can rob people of their quality of life, this can too. Don’t let this abnormal anxiety do this to you.