How can I help my child deal with separation anxiety?

Parental visits are an important part of maintaining a strong relationship with your child after a divorce. However, it’s not uncommon for kids to experience separation anxiety when away from their mothers, which can be difficult for recently divorced fathers to deal with. To help you put your child’s mind at ease and truly enjoy the time you spend together, Very Well Family offers the following advice.

Know the signs

Keep in mind that this issue can impact children of all ages, and many kids exhibit the same types of symptoms. A child experiencing separation anxiety may appear irritable and anxious, or easily fall into extreme bouts of crying. Your child may exhibit a lack of appetite or have trouble sleeping through the night. Other signs include fear and anger, even when there is no concrete reason for such behavior to be occurring.

Don’t give in

It may feel like the best thing for your child is to allow him to stay with his mother. However, this isn’t going to solve the underlying problem. It’s also going to prevent you from establishing a strong and loving relationship with your child. The best thing to do is to talk you child through his fear and help him process his emotions in a meaningful way. You can also highlight the fun activities you have planned to get his mind off his fears.

Talk to your ex

You and your ex-wife may be able to tackle separation anxiety together. A consistent schedule is best, as it will provide your child a sense of normalcy. You should also share these plans with your child, who might be soothed by knowing what to expect each visit. You can also ask your ex to pack some comforting, age-appropriate items for your child, whether that’s a favorite book or stuffed animal.