My Son Hates When I Leave for Work

Updated on February 01, 2009
L.A. asks from Circle Pines, MN
4 answers

I have a part time job that starts at 8pm and I'm done between 2-3am. For the past 2 weeks my son throws a tantrum when I leave. he tries to block the door, hangs on my leg, anything he can do to try and stop me from leaving. I've had this part time job since Sept. 08 and he was fine at first but like tonight (Monday) I finally got past him blocking the door, started the car and he was standing on the sidewalk with t-shirt, pants and barefeet. Then I think his feet got cold so he went in crying and screaming and I pulled out and around corner and he ran to the end of the driveway barefoot over the snow and ice. I don't know what to do to get him to be ok with me leaving, dad and sisters are home and they don't throw a tantrum. Any ideas? My husband has tried to get him playing a game or trains/cars but he just knows I'm leaving and runs upstairs and most of the time outside and screams. I wonder what our neighbors are thinking. Any good ideas or anyone else have this problem

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answers from Omaha on

Oh, my heart goes out to you! There is nothing worse than having to leave for work when your child wants you to stay (and you probably don't want to go, either!) First, I'd have Dad step up to the plate if possible on the safety issue of your son running outside after you. Even if you must lock the door behind you, he's GOT to stay safely inside. It's dark outside at 8 pm and passing cars certainly wouldn't be looking for a little one chasing mom's car into the street!

To address your son's issues, I'd try to get in a really good routine before you leave. This may mean you need to be ready a 1/2 hour before you need to leave in order to spend those last thirty minutes with him. Whatever routine you try, STICK WITH IT and when the time comes, BE FIRM and LEAVE! Kids have a sixth sense about when parents are on the verge of giving in, and if he knows you'll spend 5 more minutes with him, he'll do anything to get it out of you!

1) Try reading him a story every night before you leave..."The Kissing Hand" is a really cute book about a baby raccoon who doesn't want to go to school. So mama kisses his hand and he holds the kiss tight all day. Maybe your son has another favorite story instead.

2) Try setting a clock or drawing a picture of the time when you will be back home. Even though he can't "tell time" he can match up the picture with the real time and know that it is (or isn't) time for you to be back home.

3) Give him something "special" to hold onto until you get back...maybe a stuffed animal, maybe (if Dad doesn't freak out!) one of your old necklaces to wear...something that is "you" that he can have close to him. (But please don't let him wear the necklace to bed for choking reasons!) One of my sons went through a phase where he got worked up at school so I gave him a smooth stone to keep in his pocket. He could slip his hand into his pocket and massage the stone when he missed me and that seemed to calm him down and get him over that temporary hump.

4) Has he ever driven by your workplace? I don't know where you work or if it would be allowed, but maybe you could show him where you work (either the inside or outside of your building.) Maybe if he can picture where you are going, he won't be so scared that you won't return and feel safer because he knows where you are.

5) Maybe get a calendar just for his room that shows what days you work. If you go to work those days and he doesn't throw a fit, give him a big sticker on that day. Maybe so many stickers can equal some sort of reward.

Finally, you never mentioned how long these tantrums last. Do they go on for hours or just for 15 minutes or so? Is it as hard on dad as it is on you? Or are you taking it harder because YOU are the one that has to leave? Don't get me wrong, it's hard to watch your kids cry for any reason and the guilt caused by working can be tremendous. But it sounds like he is in good care while your gone, so I really hope one of these suggestions helps ease his tantrums and your anxiety!



answers from Eau Claire on

What is Dad doing while your son is doing this? Your son shouldn't be allowed to run outside while you are leaving for his safety!

Unfortunately, the more you make leaving a long drawn out process, the more your son is going to fight you. My suggestion is to give him a hug/kiss goodbye. Hand him to Dad and say "Bye! I'll see you in the morning!" and walk out the door. Have Dad lock the door behind you so your son can't go outside. Its going to be hard on you and your husband for awhile, but eventually your son will get used to the fact you will come back.



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree dad should be right there when you are leaving to help out with this...he does have control, he just needs to exert it.

it isn't healthy for your son to be going outside and standing following you like a farm dog would chase a car...too dangerous.

this is most likely a phase, but it needs to get under control soon, before something happens to him...

do quick goodbyes and reassure him you will ba home later to see him...the more drawn out it is tha harder it is on the both of you.



answers from Minneapolis on

It is hard enough to leave our babies... then when they cry it makes you feel even worse!! My just turned four year old will normally will through a fit 2 out of the four days I go to work. I am at work all day (leave at 9 am, back at 9 pm). He was fine at first, but then it was "you need to stay with me all day, don't go to work." or "i will just come with you". I fell horrible. But, I do not want to leave him in tears with the nanny, so I always make sure I give myself enough time to calm him down first. I tell him that I wish I could stay with him too. I miss him when I have to go to work, and I know he misses me. I then focus on when I will be off again and what we can do. I will make sure to include something that he likes, like we can go to the grocery store, or just watch a movie and cuddle on the couch... focusing on what we will do together and how important that is. Then I will suggest things he can do with the nanny while I am gone, Play Doh, Blocks, Cars..... until something sounds good and normally he will turn to that knowing we will have our time (which I make sure happens) and he can still do something fun with her.

I hope that helps.

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