Tips to curbing separation anxiety

Psychologist Alan Yellin, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best method for helping to curb separation anxiety in children under the age of 5
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Tips to curbing separation anxiety

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Separation anxiety in children under five is very common. This is the age that children are beginning Kindergarten or sometimes Preschool. One of the questions we ask is: Whose separation anxiety is it? Sometimes, there is as much separation anxiety on the part of the parent as there is on the part of the child. So we ask parents to do a fearless personal inventory; and make sure they are giving their child permission to separate, permission to feel good about the day, and letting the child know that you will see them at the end of the day, that they will be busy as well. I tell parents to not make the goodbye a long good, but a very matter of fact goodbye. Something along the lines of, "Bye sweetie. Have a great day. I'll see you at the end of the day. Enjoy yourself." The parents that give the children a prolonged goodbye or tell the children too much; tell them how much they love them or how much they miss them. In some way it sets up some sadness on the part of the child. The child then feels somewhat guilty about separating from the parent. That's not something they want. We want a parent who encourages independent behavior on the part of the child. That's giving your child a great gift.

Psychologist Alan Yellin, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best method for helping to curb separation anxiety in children under the age of 5

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Alan Yellin, PhD

Psychologist

Dr. Alan Yellin is a licensed psychologist as well as licensed marriage and family therapist.  He has been in practice for over 30 years working with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Yellin did his post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. In his practice, he sees children with learning problems, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fears and social skills issues. Additionally, he has a sub-specialty in working with children from divorced families as well as helping parents deal more effectively with their divorce. Dr. Yellin’s practice also includes working with adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive issues as well as issues around life passages. Dr. Yellin believes that therapy works best when the client and therapist have a collaborative relationship as they explore thoughts and feelings and work towards solutions, and uses a combination of scientific data along with humor to help people achieve change. He is in a long-term happy marriage and has two grown children.

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