As close as your child and husband can be, it’s clear your child prefers mom over dad. He has a difficult time warming up to dad when he comes home from work. “What am I—chopped liver?” he might joke.
When my husband came home from the office and greeted him, my son ran to me instead. When his dad initiated a game, he said, “No!”. And when our son needed a diaper change, he reserved that special job just for me (yay).
Never mind that the whole time my son and I were alone, he mentioned his dad oh, about 26 times. He was telling stories about his dad, pointing him out in pictures, or asking where he was.
We have to hand it to our partners for being patient despite being “chopped liver.” When our toddler started whining at him, Dad responded calmly.
After all, it’s so easy for dad to just tune out—turn on the computer, stomp and sulk in another room. But he stays in the perimeters, waiting until he has a chance to buddy up with our kids again. And buddy up they eventually do. After a few minutes of the cold shoulder, they’re laughing and squealing with dad again.
So what’s the deal? Why do our kids throw a fit when they should be running to dad the minute he steps through the door?
- Your child sees you more.
If you’re like me, you spend more time with the kids than your husband. Even though my husband and I both work, I have a flexible schedule and get to see our toddler more than he does. Your child may feel sad and resentful that he doesn’t get to see his dad as much. Rather than hugging him, he gets upset, as if to say, “Where were you this whole time?”
- Your child doesn’t like interruptions.
Sometimes dad entering the picture makes your child think that the fun you were having is over.
- Your child assumes you’re going home.
Do you step out to run errands the minute your partner is home? Your child might associate dad coming home as less time with you.
Ironically, for all the fuss our toddler throws, more time with Daddy helps the most. Below are some ideas you can try when your child prefers mom over dad.
What to do when your child prefers mom over dad:
- Schedule a fun outing for just the two of them. One-on-one time gives children the chance to build a special relationship with each parent.
- Stay in the background. When you see your partner and your child having fun, stay in the sidelines or go to an another room. That way, they can have more alone time with each other.
- Have “Daddy chores.” Even if you and your partner share baby duties, designate some tasks as “daddy chores.” For instance, your partner can be the one who bathes your child. Or he can wake him up in the morning and reads books. With Daddy-designated chores, kids know that both parents care for them. Dad isn’t just some baby sitter “helping out.”
Even though attachment to mom is common, it’s still tough when your child prefers mom over dad. To all the dads who are going through this, hang in there! Your little ones love you beneath all that “Mama Mama Mama!” you keep hearing—chopped liver and all.
Get more parenting tips here:
- How to Deal when Your Child Cries at Drop Off
- 9 Useful Techniques for Dealing with Anxiety in Young Children
- Extracurricular Activities: My Child Freaks Out and Clings Onto Me
- How to Gently Handle Separation Anxiety in Babies
- What To Do When Your Child Misses a Parent
Tell me in the comments: What do you do when your child prefers mom over dad?
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