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5 YO cries whenever I leave the house

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

 Whenever I go out with a friend or to work (I mainly work from home, so that's rare), My 5 YO DD protests and screams and cries. Often whoever I'm leaving her with will have to hold her so I can get out the door because otherwise she'd keep clinging to me. If I tell her in advance that I need to go out she'll cry off and on until the time comes. When I do leave, she sometimes cheers up right away, other times she's unhappy until I come home. I don't go out very often, maybe once a week for a few hours at a time, twice at most. She's only in school 6 hours a week, and we still co-sleep, so we have A LOT of time together.

 

I've tried to talk to her about this and she says that she misses me when I'm gone and wants to be with me all the time. She's an otherwise happy girl and has always been able to separate from me easily when she's going off to her own activities. Her preschool teachers say she's very outgoing and plays well with all the kids.

 

I'm not one to force independence, if she still needs me all the time, I'll do my best to honor that  (within reason, given that I have my own needs and other responsibilities). But it just seems like she's so old to be this upset when I leave, and if there's an underlying insecurity or issue I'd rather address it now. 

post #2 of 6

If this is new behavior, has anything major changed recently? Have you asked her if there is something she is afraid of or worried about? Does her reaction change depending on who the caregiver is? 

Those are the questions I'd be asking myself if I were in your shoes. 

post #3 of 6


Just my thoughts. I'd be asking specific questions about the caregiver/s.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangledblue View Post

If this is new behavior, has anything major changed recently? Have you asked her if there is something she is afraid of or worried about? Does her reaction change depending on who the caregiver is? 

Those are the questions I'd be asking myself if I were in your shoes. 



 

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangledblue View Post

If this is new behavior, has anything major changed recently? Have you asked her if there is something she is afraid of or worried about? Does her reaction change depending on who the caregiver is? 

Those are the questions I'd be asking myself if I were in your shoes. 


It's not new. She's been doing this since she was about a year old. I just thought she'd have outgrown it by now. 

 

There is one wonderful babysitter that she likes a lot; she doesn't cry when I leave her with that baby-sitter. She does sometimes cry beforehand when I tell her I need to leave and that baby-sitter is coming, though. But with everyone else, her dad, grandparents, other babysitters (which we rarely use because the other is so, so good), she cries pretty hard.

 

It really seems like it has a lot more to do with me leaving than who she is left with.

 

She also has a really hard time parting with things; she insists we keep all her old clothes and toys 'for the memories.' When she was a baby she used to cry when *everyone* left, even a neighbor just visiting for an hour. Up until last year she would cry whenever we went home from playdates. Now it's just me. This could just be part of her personality and not something to worry about. But she's so old its hard not to be concerned.

post #5 of 6

Maybe try some special treat that she can only have while being watched by someone other than you? My DD (who is 3) would get upset when we left about half the time (with her grandma, whom she adores) but when she came to associate ice cream sundaes with babysitting, that stopped completely. She doesn't even get them all the time anymore, but it was about 3 times in a row and that did it. 

 

On the other hand, I do think it is odd that at 5, she doesn't like to be left w/Dad or grandparents. Are you and Dad together? or does he have more of a caregiver relationship with her? What is different from their style vs. the babysitter she really likes? 

 

I'd say, maybe there's something she really doesn't like about the dad/grandparent caregiving style...I dunno..have you asked her what would make her feel better about you leaving, that moms have to leave sometimes but that you really want to make it ok and you know she can handle it? Is she maybe worried about something happening to you? who know what goes on in their minds...

post #6 of 6
My dd has done this off & on since she was verbal, and, she is also very resistant to change. She's now 8 & hasn't done it in the last couple of years.
What always helped was telling her something along the lines of, "do you like to visit with your friends? Well, it's important for me to visit with my friends, too." or, "I go to work to earn money to help buy things for our family." I also was sure to never sneak off, always said goodbye, and, gave her an idea of when to expect me home. I think it really helped her to have an understanding where I was going, what I would be doing, & when I would be back.
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