Parent preference - help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2004
Parent preference - help!
Tue, 10-12-2010 - 9:37am

I work 30 hours (4 days) a week. My husband works full time. My 2 year old son wants absolutely nothing to do with me when daddy is around, to the point of crying if daddy is in the shower or something and I'm the one who has to play with him or help him with something. It's heartbreaking. Everything I see online talks about how this often happens when one parent is a stay at home and the other is not, but that is not the case in our home. I really wonder sometimes if he just doesn't like me. Can anyone offer any advice on how to handle this?? I don't want to make it a big deal with him because I"m afraid of making it worse. That said, I don't want him to think he can always just shun me this way and it's no problem. THANK YOU!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2006
Tue, 10-12-2010 - 2:45pm

Our DD has been the other way round mostly wanting me. It went to a point that I will go mad sometimes. And ofcourse DH will feel terribly bad. This is what has been working out well for the last 6 months or so because I am pregnant with the second and really cannot do 100% activities with her.

1) Keeping one scheduled activity to do with daddy alone. In your case it should be with you..My DH takes her to our basement to play soccer or any rough play..She loves that time and she knows its not possible for me to play that way.

2) Dedicated feeding times. Like sometimes we feed her because our Indian food can create a lot of mess. So DH feeds her while I finish with the cooking. This way she never fusses.

3) Bath time and story time - Daddy's and mommy will just come to sing few songs and then to say good night. These days occasionally I give her bath when I need to wash her hair.

4) You taking DS out for shopping/library alone when your DH is not around

Above all this, what has been more effective is one partner involving other partner's name effectively. In our case, DD is attached to me and prefers me 80% of the time..So whatever I do with her, I tell her, common show this to daddy, daddy will be so proud, why dont you ask daddy how to do this because is so good at it. Constantly reiterating daddy's reference made a significant difference in our case and I am so happy to say that she is 50/50 preference with us these days.

Good luck and let us know how it goes

new siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2005
Tue, 10-12-2010 - 3:16pm

I would not take it personally... Its not a preference because of how much your child likes or dislikes you. Its a stage.. and it will pass. Logan used to have a preference for me (both his father and I work full time) - and we worked through the stage by talking with him and spending some good "family" time together all three of us. Logan used to tell him dad "Can you go downstairs? I don't want you here - just mom." I talked to Logan about this for a few weeks about how daddy loved him very much and bed time was special family time for us - and encouraged him to be nicer and more open to time with dad.

With that said, Logan still has a preference for me when he's upset or sad.. but I think thats more of the role I play rather than a preference for me specifically. But, it was at its peak when he was 2... and tapered off at 3.


Fall 2010 2