Social

Anxiety Disorder in Children

Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent psychological disorders found in children. Not only do they often cause severe distress for the child as well as parents and school staff, but they can also significantly impede the child’s educational and social growth and may even persist recurrently into adulthood (McLoone, Hudson &amp. Rapee, 2006).
One of the earliest causes of anguish in children is brought about by separation anxiety. While quite normal in the early stages of development, the feeling of separation anxiety usually comes to its peak at around the age of two and begins to diminish thereafter. (Separation Anxiety, 2007) While considered natural and instinctive behavior, if there has been an unevenness in the caregivers’ responses to the infants’ needs and a secure attachment does not develop between them, certain attachment disorders may develop. These may result in difficulties regarding the child acclimation to the outside environment and can be the beginning of the development of anxiety disorders.
According to attachment theory, children have to be near their parents for biologically necessary comfort and support. Secure attachment—knowing that the parent will be available, physically and emotionally—provides the child with a safe place to retreat to, a base from which to explore the world, and eventually a model for other relationships. (Separation anxiety, 2007, p. 1-2)
Therefore, since the child’s early attachment model is really what he or she will center their developmental and socialization skills upon, from infancy forward to two years, the child certainly needs to connect in a positive way with their primary caregivers. The child needs to feel secure in the comfort of his or her environment. Discovering how to positively relate to their caregivers in a manner that is at once appropriate as well as rewarding is a constructive antecedent to the creation of a healthy image of self.

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