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Child Separation anxiety in an 8 year old

child separation anxiety

child separation anxiety

School Fear

My 8 year old daughter has progressively gotten worse over the past month. She doesn't want to go to school, she says she has a stomach ache and feels like she is going to throw up around 15 minutes before her school bus comes.


One day my husband took her to school and the teacher had to take her to class and she screamed for her dad all the way down the hall. She periodically wets the bed, must sleep with a night light on and would prefer to sleep with us when we let her. She has been throwing temper tantrums like a two year old over the silliest things. She is constantly on the move and her attention span is almost null. She is able to do her school homework just fine.


There are only a couple of things I can think of that may have triggered her anxiety:


1. This past summer my mom witnessed a car accident and parked the car, left my daughter in the car and tried to attend to the people but my daughter was freaking out really bad and she had to return to the car.


2. She started 3rd grade this year at the intermediate school which is a new school for her but she has never had difficulty in the past with transitioning schools.


3. She was being bullied because of her glasses but she told me and we dealt with the issue with her teacher and the students and when I ask her she says that they haven't said anything more to her.


4. One day at school she went to the bathroom and apparently one of the teachers heard her crying, went in and got her and took her to the nurse’s office and they called me stating she said her stomach hurt. We have since taken her to the Dr twice and they weren't able to find anything wrong with her.

Am I missing something here????? I am scared and am not certain what to do? I don't want to even send her to school or have her out of my sight until I find out what is going on.

Help me!


Dear mom,

Your child has had so many issues that could easily be triggering this separation anxiety each one them can be considered a real stress for a child.

If you notice in the list above, a new school, witnessing a trauma, and also being bullied.

My concern is this statement "I don't want to even send her to school or have her out of my sight until I find out what is going on."

It is so normal, of course, as a parent for you to not want to let her out of your sight, but also, this may be sending her the message that she cannot tolerate the anxiety, and that there is something for her to fear.

I am guessing it's likely that she is fearful something may happen to you or someone she cares about and she is certainly exhibiting some signs of separation anxiety.

I would advise you to work on giving her the message that she can do things independently and not enabling these behaviors by sleeping with her or allowing her to stay home from school. You may want to talk to her and ask her about her fears and whether she is in fact worried about something happening to you.

It's so normal for you to be worried and concerned for her, and to want to help her with her intense feelings, however, helping her to avoid doing her daily activities is likely making things worse.

Children very frequently will manifest anxiety symptoms in their body.

If you can't nip this is the bud by talking about things and changing how you are responding, you both may need to get a little help.

Good luck you both!

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