It’s natural for your young child to feel anxious when you say goodbye. In early childhood, crying, tantrums, or clinginess—all the hallmarks of separation anxiety—are healthy reactions to separation and a normal stage of development. While the intensity and timing of separation anxiety can vary tremendously from child to child, it’s important to remember that a little worry over leaving mom or dad is normal, even when your child is older. However, some children experience separation anxiety that doesn’t go away, even with a parent’s best efforts. These kids experience a continuation or reoccurrence of intense separation anxiety during their elementary school years or beyond. If separation anxiety is excessive enough to interfere with normal activities like school and friendships and lasts for months rather than days, it may be a sign of a larger problem: separation anxiety disorder.

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What’s Separation Anxiety and Separation Anxiety Disorder?
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