Say Goodbye to Your Children Before Leaving

You should always say goodbye to your children before leaving. But why? What are the positive consequences of taking the time to give your kids a kiss goodbye? Today, we'll disprove some misconceptions on the subject.
Say Goodbye to Your Children Before Leaving

Last update: 11 June, 2021

Have you ever wondered why it’s so important to say goodbye to your children before leaving? Many parents have the habit of having someone else (a relative, a sitter, etc) distract the child and then run out of the house as soon as possible before the child notices. However, this isn’t the best way to go. In fact, it can be harmful to your child.

Why do we do this? The reason’s very logical. Your child, upon seeing you leave, will start crying at the top of their lungs because they don’t want you to go away. And of course, this makes it a lot harder for your leave.

Of course, your saying goodbye won’t change this fact, but it does bring with it certain positive aspects that we’ll explain in detail in the following paragraphs.

Why you should say goodbye to your children before going out

The separation between parents and young children is always difficult. The attachment that unites them is so strong that, sometimes, being apart for a few hours produces sadness not only in children but also in adults.

However, there’s a factor that clearly differentiates the behavior of children from that of adults. And this is that little ones can’t contain their emotions or channel their sadness or uneasiness the way adults can. So, what do they do? They start crying at the top of their lungs.

Of course, it’s very hard for us parents to see our children in such a state. Therefore, when it’s time to separate from them, even for a few hours, the option that seems most appropriate is to flee as quickly as possible so we don’t have to see our child get so upset.

What many parents don’t take into account is that, although the child may not cry at that very moment, they suffer more from the absence of their parents. This is due to the fact that the situation produces a feeling of abandonment in them, which will transform into a greater attachment towards their parents.

A mother kissing her baby daughter on the cheek.

The negative consequences of parental departure

As we discussed in the previous section, the bond between parents and children in the first months and years of life is very strong. The most important reference for little ones in terms of guidance, protection, and love comes from their parents.

When little ones are separated from their parents, they certainly miss their presence. Even if they’re well cared for by nannies or relatives, they’ll feel unprotected because their main references are no longer with them.

Certainly, children at such early ages don’t have the capacity to understand the reason for the sudden absence of their parents. What specialists maintain is that this awakens feelings of abandonment, anguish, anger, and insecurity.

Not only do these negative feelings become more and more consolidated but, once the parents come back, the child will become more clingy and dependent on them. The explanation is that information has been engraved in their memory that tells them that they’re constantly at risk of being abandoned by their parents when they least expect it.

“Sometimes, distancing oneself for a few hours produces sadness not only in children but also in adults.”

What to do

Now, the next question is, what to do? It’s clear that parents don’t want to see their children cry. But there are two aspects to keep in mind. The first is that children cry because it’s their only way of communicating–and it’s very effective. At the same time, crying effectively releases stress and tension.

When your child cries, they’re communicating that they feel sad because you’re going to be away. However, little by little, when you say goodbye, they’ll learn to understand that you’re announcing your departure. But what’s more, it’ll also imply that you’re not abandoning them. Rather, you’re simply going away for a specific period of time.

A crying baby.

It may seem an abstract idea, but psychologists say that we shouldn’t underestimate our children’s level of learning. Therefore, teach them to say, “Hello” and “Goodbye”.

It’s also a good idea to practice games such as hide-and-seek with them. It’ll be beneficial for them to understand that absences are not synonymous with abandonment, but just another activity of daily life.

Finally, parents should remember that, when you say goodbye to your children before going out, you’ll be helping them to relate better with their environment. Finally, this will also allow them to have balanced emotional health.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.