One of the toughest stages to go through as a parent, is when your child suddenly starts treating you as if you don’t exist. Although it may hurt your feelings, a child chooses to favor one parent over the other as a way to show their independence. From choosing the same book every night, to insisting on using the same cup, your little one wants to make their own choices. Your little one craves familiarity because it’s comforting, therefore if a parent is the one to do something, that child will want them to do everything.
When does it happen?
Don’t be surprised if your little one prefers the person who is their primary caregiver, the one responsible for taking care of all their basic needs. As a child grows, they understand more, making this all apparent to them. This is especially true if their father starts to assume more responsibility, or if their mother is pregnant, and they notice their mother is preoccupied.
What to know?
It’s normal to feel a little rejected, or a bit guilty when your child starts favoring you or the opposite parent. It’s normal for your toddler to play favorites and this is all part of their age, and wanting to gain control in some way. This has nothing to do with a parent being better than the other, or one being loved more than the other, so don’t let it hurt your feelings.
What to do?
Like every difficult stage you may have been through, this too shall pass. Here are tips to help level responsibilities between you and your partner:
- Stay busy. If you’re the chosen one your little one wants to spend most of their time with, reassure the they will be fine with your spouse. Resist all temptation of wanting to tell your partner what to do.
- Show love. It hurts when a child gives the opposite parent more attention their used to, but resist showing your hurt feelings. Instead stay positive with your little one, and show them your happy no matter what.
- Spread work. If you’re the one who’s chosen, make sure your partner doesn’t feel left out or taking on all the work. Put your spouse in charge of certain things so your little one can expect it.
What's your opinion?