How can I prepare my son for a potential separation from his father?

I have a five-year-old son who is very attached to his father. What are some of the consequences if he is separated from his father? When his dad goes to work he asks after him even though he knows what time he will be home. If his dad is not home on time he calls to see what time he will be home. If a separation does occur it would be due to immigration concerns. Can you please help me and tell me what some of the consequences could be for my son? I am worried about how he will react if it happens. Thank You for your time and help.

It is great that your son is attached to his father. A strong relationship with his father will help him as he grows up.

Now is the time to teach him how to be a bit more independent.  When he is worrying, don’t reassure him as much.  For example, when he calls his dad, his dad could be vague and say “In a little while,” rather than  giving him a precise time.  If he persists, his dad can repeat the same thing.  In other words, don’t give in to his anxiety quite so much. Parents naturally want to reduce anxiety in their kids. Often this makes anxiety worse.

Reassurance and giving in to anxiety usually makes anxiety better immediately.  But, it makes anxiety much worse over time.  Teaching him to cope with anxiety will help him deal with life.

If his dad is separated for a while, it will be a challenge.  If the separation occurs, you will be able to help your son by not giving in to his anxiety and by supporting his independence. I am sure they will keep in touch by phone, email and Skype™.  With your support, he will maintain his relationship with his dad and become more independent.

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