Separation anxiety disorder
Separation anxiety relates to children’s fear and distress at being away from their main care givers. Young children can lack the ability to understand why their care giver has left and when they’ll return. Older kids often fear that something bad will happen to a loved one while they’re separated.
Fear of separation is considered developmentally appropriate up to two years of age. Separation anxiety disorder can be diagnosed when distress in separation does not naturally reduce after this age and the intensity of the child’s anxiety remains severe. Crying, tantrums, and pleading can occur when the care giver attempts to leave the child, and general clinginess is common. Children may also complain about feeling sick at home and school, spend a lot of time in the sick bay, or refuse to go to school altogether. School camps and sleepovers can also cause major distress.