A mother has left her hospitalized toddler to go to work. At first, the child is wildly kicking and crying. What stage of separation anxiety is this child in?


•Separation anxiety generally occurs in children between the ages of 8 months and 3 years. Hospitalization can trigger these stages as a parent may be away from the child for long periods of time.

The three stages of separation anxiety are:

1) Protest--Crying and making a scene. Usually will refuse comfort from anyone but primary caregiver. Sometimes it can last for days with the child only sleeping when exhausted. Older children may be agressive or uncooperative.

2)Despair--Child begins to accept parents are not going to be around. They act sad, apathetic and depressed. Older children may lose interest in activities and food.

3)Detachment--Child begins to adjust and becomes more interested and active in surroundings.

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