It's natural to experience a few jitters when going away to someplace new, but for parents and their sons and daughters, starting kindergarten -- or entering college-- can be a source of serious anxiety.

Even toddlers can experience separation anxiety when their parents leave for a few hours.

In young children, separation anxiety often arises between the ages of 8 months and 2.5 years, and can manifest as severe distress or fear that interferes with the child’s ability to function. It may also progress to physical ills such as headaches or stomachaches. In some cases, separation anxiety can last through the child’s elementary school years.

In college-aged young adults, and their parents, separation anxiety often causes butterflies in your stomach, feelings of fear, homesickness, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

"Parents as well as sons and daughters may experience separation anxiety when children go off to college because this is often the first time a son or daughter has spent this much time away from home," says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.

In fact, being thrust into a new college environment makes some young adults feel just like they did when they started kindergarten: nervous and scared (along with a tad bit excited).

For parents, separation anxiety is less clear-cut. Fears usually arise from feelings of loneliness and loss of identity as a parent, and you may feel a strong void in your life.

Resolving Separation Anxiety


In toddlers, separation anxiety typically resolves in time, but you can make the experience easier by:
  • Sticking to a "goodbye" routine. When you need to leave, tell your child that you are leaving and will be back later, then go. Long goodbyes will make the situation more traumatic for the child.
  • Staying calm and positive. Your child will sense if you feel guilty or upset when you leave.
  • Helping your child feel familiar in new surroundings. Prior to the first day of kindergarten, for instance, take your child to the school and let them see their classroom.
  • Build-up the time you spend away. Start with a short trip for an errand, and gradually stay away for longer periods. This instills confidence in the child that you will return.


No matter what your age or stage in life (parent or student), separation anxiety also needs to be dealt with on an emotional level. Whenever you feel anxiety about leaving your loved ones (or having them leave you), using The Sedona Method to let the feelings go The Sedona Method (official site) Self Help Program by Hale Dwoskin will help significantly.

"The best ways to release these feelings are to simply welcome the feelings and then let them go as best you can -- or you can welcome the grief or fear as best you can and then welcome the love and confidence you feel as best you can," Dwoskin says. "Either method of letting go will result in a lessening or elimination of the separation anxiety."

Keep in mind too that if you expect to feel upsetwhen entering college or having your children leave home, you most likely will.

Instead, as soon as you begin to expect the worst, let the feeling go. The Sedona Method can help you do this effortlessly. You'll see that as you let the negative feelings go, you begin to attract the things you really want: confidence, optimism and excitement for what the future holds.