Why Does My Child Prefer Her Dad Over Me?

By in Parenting on 20 May 2011

Winning bedtime battles and changing soiled nappies are just a few of the things listed on any parent’s daily to-do list. But even if the tasks seem daunting and even if the list seems to grow every now and then, many parents would readily take on the challenge for as long as it’s for their kids. But despite having to play many roles all at one time, how would you feel if your child seems to be unattached to you despite literally doing everything for her?

When my daughter was still a toddler, she didn’t like her daddy at all. Alarmed, I demanded that my husband spend more time with her so that they can forge a bond. The rest is history as what they’d say because after her daddy won her over, I felt like she no longer needed me. At times my selfish instincts would even kick in and I’d let feelings of envy and self-pity overwhelm me. If you are in a similar place right now, don’t take it to heart because parental preferences are expected to switch back and forth and it is largely influenced by your child’s changing needs.

Embrace your role.

My daughter is very loving towards my husband because he rarely participates in setting limits and giving out consequences. Sometimes I even think that it’s not fair that I am always perceived as the evil witch while he enjoys the role as a genie. But even if I am the constant recipient of hate notes, I have come to appreciate the advantages that I get from being the designated disciplinarian. My daughter may prefer my husband most of the time but she does not enjoy the authority that I have when imposing rules. Because he’s her constant pal and she perceives him as her playmate, she usually tries to get her way around his limits.

Don’t let it sink in.

It’s natural for any parent to have strong feelings of rejection when their child openly prefers the other parent. However, you need to take these feelings in stride because your child’s parental preferences can switch as abruptly as the day turns into night. If you are already frustrated at having to take the back seat all the time, don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Remind yourself that it’s a phase and before you know it, you will regain the lost title of being the favored parent.

Relationships need work.

Every relationship will have its highs and lows and a parent-child relationship is no exception. Although parental preferences may be transient, it is a constant reminder that we need to strive harder to become better parents. So if your child seems unattached to you because you are always working, spend more time with her. Pay attention to the cues and identify the aspects that need work so that you won’t have to be in the backseat most of the time.

If you are suddenly stripped off your title as “The Best Mom in the World”, how do you cope? Has parental preference cause a strain in your relationship with your child and your partner?


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