My Daughter Breaks Down Every Single Time I Leave The House


I love my little princess, but lately she’s been falling to the floor in TEARS every time I leave the house. I can’t even go to the car to get something from the trunk without her having a meltdown. I’ve severely limited my travel into Manhattan and probably go about once a week for events. It’s not like I’m leaving her 5 days in a row… and her father is home with her when I am gone. There are no sitters. It’s just her parents or her grandparents.

I’m not sure how to handle this all, but it makes me so very sad to see her like this.

The other day, my mother slept over and we were playing outside with our bikes. I remembered there was this bubble machine at Stop and Shop that I wanted to get and grabbed my keys so I could buy it for some afternoon fun. Well, Natalie just about lost it! I kept saying, “Natalie I’m going to buy you a present. I will be back in 5 minutes.” She acted like I was never going to come back home.

Today I am heading into the city for something with Arnold Bread and she’s already sitting at the door blocking it so I can’t leave.

She’s just about 5 and I’m wondering if this is typical for her age. Liam does not react this way, but he is just 2. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

PS – that picture is from Natalie’s pre-k graduation. Oh my goodness! My daughter is going to start real school this September. Where did the time FLY?


We then took her to Benihanna (her favorite restaurant) to celebrate.

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  1. Sally wrote:

    Hi Vera,

    this sounds pretty normal to me. My advice is not to cut down your events/meetings in the city but to sit down with Natalie at the beginning of the week – maybe Sunday when you are doing homework and packing her schoolbag – and tell her about the things that you have to go to that week and what her father will be doing with her while you are away. It sounds like she just wants reassurance and wants to know the time limits. My daughter went through a similar stage and I think it is harder when you don’t have to go off at a set time every morning as they expect you to be there all the time.

    Good luck!

    Posted 6.16.10
  2. Nadine wrote:

    Hey Vera,
    Can Natalie tell you why she is freaking out, when she has calmed down? Or is she just havinf a tantrum because she doesn’t want you to leave? It could also be that she wants more of the kind of attention you give her when she is having a meltdown.

    There are many ways you could try to handle this, but you know Natalie best, so if you can figure out exactly why she has this reaction when you leave, you could try to changed the way she reacts when you do leave. Try associative therapy, something you do just before you leave that she loves or the other extreme, just totally ignore her meltdown, shen you say good bye, do it as calmly as you can and even if she is freaking, don’t react to it.

    I have two boys 5 and 2, so I don’t know if girls are any different, but you need to try to give her as little possible affirmation of her meltdown, if she sees that it affects you, she will keep on doing it.

    Good luck!!
    When do we get to see another fashion hauling video, I LOVE THEM!!

    Posted 6.16.10
  3. Nadine wrote:

    That is a great idea Sally! A calender with all the events during the week might help her feel a bit in control of losing her mom.

    Posted 6.16.10
  4. Dottie wrote:

    I have to agree with Sally. You can’t give in to her tantrums…Yes, its hard to leave but you have to do it cause if you cave in and do it her way then you will have hell to pay later on with it all…..Hope we help you just a little….

    Mine used to do it too! but, you come to find out that they do outgrow it and you will look back and laugh on it one day….Have you asked who she stays with does she do it the whole time or does it quit after you leave?

    Posted 6.16.10
  5. CapturingLife wrote:

    Is she usually fine within minutes after you leave? I know it breaks your heart, but it’s normally just a phase.

    My daughter was the same way at that age. And at that time I had to work full time, so every single morning she’d FLIP out and just fall to pieces, but within seconds of my walking out the door, she was totally fine. I seriously thought that she’d have a hard time going to kindergarten, but by the time it rolled around, she was much better. Actually, the first day of kindergarten she just waved at me and walked off with her class. It was totally bizarre behavior for her. LOL

    My son never went through any issues like my daughter did.

    The calendar idea is a good one, the only thing negative I see is that if you have a last minute event or something that wasn’t scheduled, she might freak a bit more because you didn’t have it on the calendar.

    I know it’s hard, but it will get better. 🙁

    Posted 6.16.10
  6. Leslie wrote:

    Remember when you posted that pic of Liam crying – Natalie took the picture because he would flip out even when you went to the bathroom. How did you get him over that hump?

    When I was Natalie’s age, I remember coming home from school and complaining to my mom that I missed her so much. She told me that I could stay inside with her after school instead of going outside to play with my friends. Well…..let’s just say I got over that stage very quickly! Ha!

    Posted 6.16.10
  7. KissKiss wrote:

    My brother went through that same stage when he was 5. He’d beg our father to stay home everytime he wanted to leave for work. It turned out one of his classmate’s parents where in the middle of a divorce and the father had left the house. Perhaps one of Nathalie’s classmates is in a similar situation.

    Posted 6.16.10
  8. ashmeljer wrote:

    I agree with Sally and the others, my daughter was the same way….I think were are only about 6 months past that phase with her now…and she just turned 5 last week. You’re a great Mom Vera, thats obvious, trust your instincts:)

    Posted 6.16.10
  9. Vera wrote:

    I am TOLD the minute I leave she is perfectly fine again. I am going to try to spend more quality time with her right before I leave. Play a game or something – that way she feels connected to me.

    It’s heart breaking, but as an adult who works – I have to get out of the house every once in a while. This summer should be interesting!

    Thanks for all the advice everyone!!

    Re: the calendar – I will do that when she gets a bit older FOR SURE. Right now, I’m not so sure she will be able to process it.

    Posted 6.16.10
  10. Maria wrote:

    I’m a kindergarten teacher, in our school we encourage the parents to always say goodbye (never sneak out) and tell their children they are going to be back soon. After that a kiss and a hug. Don’t make the goodbye to long. Let the other adult (dad, grandparents, teachers) hold her and make her feel better and secure after you leave. It’s just a phase, and it’s important that you don’t show anxiety when this happens. Try to stay calm and positive. Good luck 😉

    Posted 6.16.10
  11. Leslie wrote:

    Tyra should tell Janice, “Hello pot; I’m kettle!”

    Posted 6.17.10
  12. Leslie wrote:

    Oops – how did I do that? I posted in the wrong place. I think I need some sleep!

    Posted 6.17.10

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