This is an essay that views all aspects of anxiety in children. Also included is a friends battle with anxiety written in first person per their request. This problem is very revelent in todays society.
Anxiety to Last a Lifetime Early childhood development is one of the many studies of psychology. There are many stages that a child goes through in order to progress physically, mentally, and most importantly emotionally. Infants instinctively develop strong emotional bonds with their parents or other full time guardians. Children express these bonds when their parent/guardian leaves them with a short term caregiver. The child may become scared that its parents are not going to return. More formally this is known as separation anxiety. There are several categories, which show a child’s level of attachment to the parent. Securely attached children are stable and they have a positive emotional bond. Insecure-avoidant children have an “anxious emotional bond.” (Coon) These children will try to avoid contact with their mother when she returns. Another anxious attachment is the insecure ambivalent child. These children want to be near the mother when she returns, but at the same time avoid contact with her. The purpose of this paper is to show just how badly a person can be damaged if they do not have strong bond with their parents.
You may locate a study of these attachment theories at http://www.personalityresearch.org/attachment.html. This particular study shows how an infant goes through three emotional stages when separated from the parents. First, an infant will protest to the parent leaving. This consists of crying, temper tantrums, and refusal to be comforted by others. The next stage is despair, in which the child is sad and passive. The third stage of detachment can be crucial. Detachment is how a child will show the parent that they disapprove of being away from the parents. Detachment will only grow stronger the longer the parents are gone. Believe it or not, these levels of detachment can carry on into a child’s adulthood. When this disorder does carry on into adulthood, it is no longer called separation anxiety. At the website, http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/sec6.html, it is discussed that older people should be diagnosed as having (DSM-IV). In another study at, http://purl=rcl_EAIM_0_A6952717&dyn=14!xrn_16_0_A69527176?sw_aep=tel_a_wsc, it shows that mother of anxious/ambivalent children are inconsistent in availability and are less sensitive than mothers of secure children. Mothers of such children tested to be “confused and uncertain of their role as caregiver.” That is the mother does not realize how important her own actions and personality are when raising a child. On the other hand at, http://mi.essortment.com/parentchildsep_rvzd.htm, there is a study that suggests how to deal with separation anxiety. This suggests that parents develop a routine when separating from their child. A good routine consists of, a hug, a kiss, and a simple goodbye. If parents remain consistent a child will become secure and will be proud that he/she has conquered their emotions. Separation anxiety is something that both the child and the parent have to work hard to overcome.
This separation anxiety can carry over well into adulthood if not properly addressed. What if it is not just as simple as temporary separation? What if one of the parents leave and do not ever come back? This has not affected me directly, but it has deeply wounded my only brother. It has been my personal experience to observe the kind of pain separation anxiety conflicts. My mother decided to leave my father when I was one and my brother was two. She did not just leave my father though; she left my brother behind as well. To this day I have not figured out why she took me with her. My brother was too young to understand or accept that she was gone. He couldn’t understand why she left, or why she took away his sister. He was very hurt, and like the studies show he was an anxious ambivalent child. He always wanted to talk to her, but when she called he was hesitant and very angry with her. He often blamed himself for her leaving. Holding in all the anger caused some behavioral problems down the road. Now, he tends to misplace the anger he is still feeling. For a long time he could not figure out why he was so mad at the world, but I believe the healing has begun to take place. My brother is almost 22 years old now and still has not fully recovered from his separation anxiety. This is because his mother never came back to pick up the pieces. Under normal circumstances, children tend to get over separation anxiety when they realize that their parents are coming back. What happens to the children whose parents never return? I’ll be the first to tell you that, they experience more unnecessary pain than you can imagine. I do not know if my brother will ever be able to forgive our mother, or if he is even ready to face the situation. I hope that one day he will realize that he has made it this far without her, and he does not need to dwell on something that he had no control over.
In conclusion, separation anxiety can be emotionally disturbing. I wish that nothing of the sort would have happened, but we can not erase the past. I love my brother very much and I want him to have everything he wants out of life, but he can not even begin until he feels secure. Security can come from within if you believe in yourself and take the right steps. There is a lot of healing that needs to take place before he will be able to establish strong emotional bonds with other people. This has been my personal observation of separation anxiety.