From ill-advised Hollywood marriages to good ol’ oil and water, separation is an inevitable part of life.

So it is with separation anxiety. Virtually every toddler goes through a totally normal developmental stage where being away from a primary caregiver is met with tears and clinging that falls somewhere between “baby koala” and “laundry with no dryer sheet.” And it makes total sense—of course a child would get upset about being away from the person who takes care of them. But all the fuss usually subsides by about age 2.

Now, “usually” doesn’t mean “always.” Lots of school-age kids and teens—studies estimate around 1 in 20—have separation anxiety, which can lead to very real problems, like not wanting to go to school and having trouble making friends.


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