The song by Average White Band says it all, “There’s no easy way to say goodbye”. And for the child, this may literally be true. Saying your bye-byes to a child who is hanging on to your leg is heart wrenching to a parent. You may also need to bear with temper tantrums, bouts of seemingly inconsolable crying and clinginess when it comes time for you to say, “Bye for now, love, mom and dad are off to work!”
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Being anxious about seeing mom or dad leave is actually normal for a young child. It is simply part of his development. As a baby slowly learns what “bye-bye” means, he will insist that mom or dad stay by his side. There is a strong sense of connection and attachment between the child and his caregivers – particularly his parents.
It is when the child starts to disproportionately worry about being separated from a loved one or caregiver that separation anxiety becomes a problem. When it turns into separation anxiety disorder, the child may start having trouble with normal activities such as going to school and gaining friends.
The onset of separation anxiety is usually at the baby’s seventh month and extends up to the time the child is in school age. However, if the anxiety persists even after the child is 6 years of age and the child manifests long-drawn-out fear of being abandoned, that can point to separation anxiety disorder. In this case, the mere thought of a parent or caregiver leaving or of being away from the home itself results in one being seriously agitated and emotional. There is the continual fear of a parent or caregiver becoming sick or dying.
For children and young people, this can manifest as an irrational fear of being separated from the people he feels comfortable to. Such is the level of anxiety that it hinders the child from going to school or even going to sleep. Rather than play with peers, the child would rather stay at his parents’ side.
The Roots of Separation Anxiety Disorder
Statistics indicate that there are around 2 to 5% of children that have separation anxiety disorder.
Mostly, separation anxiety disorder is to the presence of anxiety disorder in the family. It is said that the propensity to have separation anxiety disorder depends not just on environmental factors, but also on genetic factors.
What Family Can Do
Family members can work together to provide interventions to help the child. Some tips include:
– Educating family members. Understanding that the child is struggling with the disorder can lead to empathy rather than blame or feelings of guilt. It can also help each family member learn how to support the child so that the child does not feel depressed and isolated or develop a low sense of self. Provo therapists can help provide guidelines and tips on how each family member can act and react.
– Be patient. When the child is having bouts of separation anxiety, you can try to reassure him that he was able to weather the last separation he had. Avoid getting impatient or upset about the child’s fears and apprehensions.
– Make goodbyes easier. You can already identify the times of the day when the child needs to be separated from parents/giver. Often, a child finds it easier to separate from one parent than the other. This should be the parent that handles the transitions or goodbyes. Goodbyes can also be easier if the child is informed about how he can contact the parent or caregiver.
– Schedule fun activities for the child when he is separated. Keep the child occupied during the times of separation by setting up enjoyable activities.
Treating Separation Anxiety Disorder
Aside from seeking family counseling in Utah, concerned parents can seek the help and cooperation of other family members and school faculty. The objective is to provide the child with an environment that is less stressful for him. Getting family counseling in Provo will help each family member be aware of the situation and how they can deal with it. Parents will get helpful tools in getting the whole family together as they strive to help their child/sibling with separation anxiety disorder.
It is also recommended that the child get individual Utah counseling. Oftentimes, the child feels that the anxiety or the compulsion to worry about separation is somehow his fault and that something is wrong with them. With the guidance of an experienced Utah counselor, the child can learn to be aware of these feelings and how to negate them.
Anxiety is a disorder that causes feelings of terror and panic. These feelings are often so overwhelming that they can be debilitating.
Anxiety encompasses several different psychological disorders, including:
- Panic Disorder often strikes suddenly without any warning. This type of disorder encompasses feelings of a panic attack, which can include chest pain, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and overwhelming thoughts of feeling crazy.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, known as OCD, is a condition where constant thoughts or fears become compulsive, often turning into regular routines or rituals. These obsessive thoughts can overtake one’s life. For example, people suffering from severe germ phobias may obsessively wash their hands, indicating a type of OCD behavior.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, known as PTSD, can not only develop in people who have been to war, but following a traumatic event, which may include a physical attack, sexual assault, death of a loved one or even a natural disaster. A disaster may include a terrorist attack, such as 9/11. People suffering from PTSD have terrorizing, frightening thoughts towards the events they experienced, sometimes resulting in a lasting emotional numbness.
- Social Anxiety Disorder involves constant, overwhelming anxiety and worry towards everyday social situations and personal interactions. People suffering from this disorder may have a deep-rooted fear of judgment, or are easily embarrassed and often feel ridiculed.
- General Anxiety Disorder involves improbable tension and fears, even if the situation does not warrant or provoke anxiety.
- Specific phobias involve overwhelmingly intense fears towards specific situations or objects. For example, fear of space is agoraphobia and fear of spiders is arachnophobia.
There are many different treatment options available for people suffering from anxiety disorders. These include medications that help reduce anxiety, including anti-depressants. Dietary and lifestyle changes are also advisable. People suffering from anxiety may desire to reduce lifestyle stress through yoga and breathing techniques.
Two different types of one-on-one therapies include Psychotherapy and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Therapists in Provo offer psychotherapy counseling that helps people suffering with anxiety discuss their problems and create targeted solutions to help them deal with their individual types of disorders. Provo counselors can determine if Cognitive-Behavior Therapy would be a better approach. If so, this type of therapy helps people recognize anxiety triggers and learn how to change how they react both physically and emotionally to these prompts. Provo counseling is an excellent way for people suffering from anxiety disorders to minimize their fears and gain control over the anxiety that haunts them.
How do you define infidelity in a marriage? Does it mean having a physical or sexual relationship with someone other than a spouse? Or do you consider an emotional affair as also being unfaithful – even though nothing sexual has happened? How much closeness in a friendship can be considered okay?
Emotional Affairs: Infidelity of the heart
An emotional affair is present when your spouse is spending a lot of energy, emotion and time with another person outside of the relationship so much so that it is affecting your relationship. When a partner is having an emotional affair, he is putting an emotional distance between himself and his partner. He may be doing this out of feelings that the other person can give him something that he isn’t getting at home. There is a certain type of excitement in knowing that there is someone other than your spouse whom you can have an intimate relationship with.
The result is a loss of intimacy between the two partners – a wedge has been created and if this is not addressed, the wedge may widen and shake the foundations of a marriage. Although nothing physical may have happened, the damage an emotional affair may wreak on the relationship can be equal to or even greater than a sexual affair. There is an element of betrayal and deception that will certainly be hurtful to the other partner.
There are also emotional affairs that progress towards becoming sexual in nature. A spouse may cross the line by looking for ways to become more intimate that might be seen as acceptable to some.
How do you know if there is an emotional affair?
An emotional affair may have started out as a harmless connection with someone who’s “just a friend”. However, when left unchecked, it can spiral into an emotional affair. You may have reason to believe that your spouse is involved in this type of relationship with someone.
Here are some signs that point to an emotional affair:
– Being secretive. There is such a thing as respecting each other’s privacy, but if your partner is too gung-ho about protecting his or her privacy, this may raise some questions. He or she may try to hide friendships from their partner. If the partner already knows, then he or she might try to hide the extent of the friendship. Your spouse may decline to talk about e-mails, calls or texts that they receive from that friend. They may also become agitated or express irritation when you walk in without warning while he or she is on the computer.
– Being defensive. You may have noticed your spouse getting his or her back up when asked about the friendship, saying that the spouse is over-reacting to a “harmless friendship”.
– Becoming aggressive. Your spouse may start being critical of you. There is also the tendency to pick fights and argue over the littlest things.
– Becoming distant. Your spouse may be having an emotional affair when he or she looks forward to spending time with the “friend” rather than with their partner. They seek to have opportunities to see the friend. Meaningful conversations with the spouse fizzle out and so does intimacy. The couple’s sexual life may also be affected by this emotional disconnection. There may be sexual fantasies and daydreams about how it would feel to cross the line and make the affair into a physical one.
– Being pre-occupied. The “cheating” spouse may start daydreaming about the friend and plan to spend time with him or her. Another sign would be if you notice your spouse becoming too pre-occupied with the affairs of someone who is “just a friend”. He or she may criticize that friend’s known relationships.
An emotional affair sometimes happens in the workplace, or with a civic group or with a friend of the family. The “cheating” spouse may start feeling that the “friend” understands his or her situation more than the spouse does. Emotional affairs may also happen through chat rooms and social networking sites.
It is important to recognize the signs of an emotional affair and address them. Seek professional help and get couples counseling to address the issues properly. Both partners must be willing to work through this infidelity in order to fix the problem before it is too late. The help of a third party such as a marriage therapist (who has the training and skills necessary) can be invaluable.
Mending the Marriage
Sometimes you (as a couple) will need outside help to deal with this problem. With the help of marriage counseling, couples can start rebuilding trust and develop accountability with each other. It is advisable for the couple to get help quickly so that the offended spouse can begin the process of forgiveness. The family counseling sessions will cover tools on how the couple can rebuild trust and repair damages in their relationship.
A good marriage counselor will also work to find out the weaknesses in the marriage that caused one of the spouses to even consider getting into an emotional affair. Your counselor can help discover how to strengthen these areas so that the relationship is less vulnerable to temptations in the future. Marriage counseling can also help to put the emotional affair into perspective and guide the couple in learning how they can grow from the experience.
It takes experience and a wealth of insight for marriage therapy to help couples through difficult times such as these. This is what Triston Morgan offers his clients. Triston practices marriage and family therapy in Provo, Utah. He is also ENRICH/PREPARE certified. These are courses for engaged and married couples.
Triston Morgan has helped couples and families in Utah for years. He also serves as a substance abuse counselor particularly for teens. Triston holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University and a PhD from Brigham Young University.