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article imageStudy reveals homesickness guidelines for the young

By bobSP     Jan 3, 2007 in Lifestyle
Almost everyone experiences occasional homesickness, but many young people suffer from a particularly intense form that interferes with normal activities, according to a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This report is published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. It offers tips to physicians for recognizing risk factors among patients who are leaving home for the first time.
"Leaving home is a universal developmental milestone," said Dr. Edward Walton, co-author of the report and an assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the University of Michigan. "Our goal is for them not to lose time and experience in the adjusting," he said.
It was found that ~95% of young people say they miss something about home the first time they are away from home for an extended time. Most people experience a normal level of homesickness, perhaps missing their toys or home-cooked meals. But about 1 in every 14 people who experience homesickness suffer from what the report termed "intense homesickness."
Those who suffer from intense homesickness don't eat or sleep well when away from home, nor do they interact well with others. These behaviors can seriously damage the experiences a person has when at college, the hospital, or camp, for instance.
The report gives tips on how to ease children into their first separation from home. Some tips are: giving them practice time away from home; never offering to pick them up before the separation is supposed to end; and involving them in every aspect of the decision.
Hopefully these tips will help those with intense homesickness. I've seen a few extreme cases at my university where students who once made straight A's were failing their classes and begging to drop out and move home.
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