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How to handle a child's crying when her mother leaves for work?

Q: My friend is separated and lives with her parents who attend to her 4-year-old daughter. She is a working lady and of late her daughter cries profusely and throws a tantrum when she leaves for work. What is the best way to handle this situation?

A:Since you say that of late the little girl has started crying when her mother leaves for work, you try and find out what circumstance changed recently. Did the child start attending (or change) a preschool or play centre? Did the family sack an old "ayah" and get a new one? With no facts of any kind to help me, I am not able to offer any suggestion. Maybe the mother should take off a couple of days and see what activities her daughter is involved in and who her companions/friends are, etc. Also a 4 year old has fully developed language and she can be asked why she is distressed. But this should be done not at the time when she is upset, but when she is relaxed and playing. Crying is the language that children use when they are upset. The best way of handling the situation is to locate the cause of distress. If the mother has to go out to work, it is part of reality that the child will ultimately accept. Patience and time are essential. All the best.

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