to feel sad about toddler rejection?(23 Posts)
DS is nearly 2 and for well over a year he's been obsessed with his Dad - to the point now that if we all go out together he refuses to come anywhere near me and has started asking me to leave People have even started commenting on it (particularly my MIL) and I feel like such a failure, and that I must be a terrible mum. We have equal time alone with him, and when he's just with me we have a lovely time. Any experience on this? Any chance it will change eventually if he's been like this for over a year?
Poor you. Your MIL is a bit insensitive!
Babies and toddlers are funny creatures and WILL zone in on one parent when are together. It means sod-all! Baby is probably just zoning in on daddy because he fancies a change.
Don't be worried, you're a fab mom! And your boy knows you are. Just say to your MIL, 'well he prefers DH when we are all together, coz he lets him have a glass of whiskey and a ciggie! I don't!' Then just smile and laugh it off.
You'll all be FINE. But your MIL needs to zip it!
What is your reaction to being asked to leave/rejected etc? Do you do as he asks? I would scold this kind of behaviour and your DH needs to back you up massively.
Yes. In fact it was this very issue that first brought me to Mumsnet. I read other people's threads on this and people said it would change and I didn't believe it would happen for me. It did
My daughter is a huge daddy's girl. I love it, I get to sit and drink tea whilst it's hot, and don't change a single nappy on weekends. (I'm a heavily pregnant SAHM so this is bliss.)
If your oh works more than you and you are home more it's probably your Local way of getting equal time with both of you. Id say it's highly likely a to be a phase,, try and use it to your advantage and enjoy a bath or some time just for you when your OH is with your toddler ? I've been there to a lesser extent but kids will be kids and have no idea how hurtful this can seem.
I could have written this post myself, my 2yo DD is exactly the same! A big daddy's girl when all three of us are together, if I come into the room she will shout "No" at me and refuses cuddles and story time etc in favour of her dad. However when it is just me and her we get on really well. Like you this has been going on since she was a baby.
I think it's normal and they will grow out of it eventually, but your DH needs to tell your MIL to cut out the comments, they're not helpful!
Please don't worry. My son (now 5) was all about daddy when he was 2, to a similar extent to that which you describe. My daughter, now 2, is all about mummy! It's a Thing, I'm sure, and will pass.
I know it smarts, but remember that they are still tiny and it honestly isn't malicious. As a PP said, drink some hot cups of tea and avoid the pooey nappies while you can!
One of mine did this for a while. I have noticed people always comment when the child prefers the father, but if as the mother you are preferred they just ignore it.
I discussed with the child how I wanted to spend a bit of time with them, and we had DC and mummy time. I think mine was a little older than two though.
I would plan a treat or trip to park together and just go for it, accepting they might yell their head off, but you can pass it off in public as toddler behaviour. If you can face it (and it's probably worth steeling yourself up for it) plan one every week/ few weeks.
I think parent preference is a delightful toddler phase, and if they can get anywhere with it they will keep it up.
To the go home comment I would calmly tell them I am in charge, not you, and I'm staying.
(I was not so mature when this happened to me.)
To MIL, practice a line like This is such a fun phase in his development, or Clearly he knows he' secure enough with my love to try it on like this.
DC and I have a great relationship now.
It's normal, DD much preferred my DH at that age who isn't even her bio parent.
Thank you everyone for such kind and thoughtful replies.
To answer some questions - we have equal time with him as both work part time hours which means our time together as a family is minimal which means this issue is even more pronounced when we all finally have a day together.
I tend to try and not react when he does it but both me and my DH never know whether to force the issue and get DS to hold my hand etc or just let him get his way.
My DH is an incredible fun and loving dad so i really don't blame my son for preferring him - I'm naturally quieter and a have a few mobility issues so struggle to play with him in the same way, and feel guilt for that.
I'm reassured some of you have seen this and it's changed eventually - I'd just love for him to take my hand so much when we are all together
Oh and my MIL is a whole other story! Tactful she isn't....
My toddler prefers daddy until she's ill and then she doesnt want to know him!
This is me too. My son much prefers his dad. They roll around on floor and play energetic games in garden. I'm more of a quiet parent, I do crafting with my son and like taught him the colours and we play games like "pop up pirate". I also do most of the discipline. I'm the one that "ends fun" by saying it's time to go home from park etc.
In fact my dh is upstairs right now reading his 6th bedtime story (730 bedtime for my son). He's the fun parent that always says yes to our boy.
I get really pissed off with being the grumpy strict one. And I'm convinced that is why he prefers his dad.
Like you, when it's just us we have a lovely time.
Mine had both always been mummy's boys and to some extent I have had to take the lead in resolving this. Being 'too busy', claiming 'I can't do that but Daddy can' when they ask for specific things, disappearing at convenient moments and leaving them to it and refusing to tolerate any actively unkind behaviour favouring either of us.
I think your husband needs to be pushing this more than you and making it clear that he loves and values you as this uses your son's 'preference' for him to work in your favour.
I can feel myself becoming the boring one - doing all the boring things and I hate it but I'm also rubbish at playing the kind of roughhouse games he loves! Crafting is a good idea though, he loves drawing, maybe that can be our thing.
Getting my husband to help with this is also a good idea, I'll ask him to leave us alone sometime to see if he becomes a bit more accepting of me.
This will change. Then it will change back. Then it will change again. In the meantime, make sure daddy is doing his fair share of the boring bits - telling off, making him eat his dinner, bedtime etc. And you do some more of the fun bits. Even if you play along with the two of them. With your Mil, the old mumsnet fave is perfect: mil - DFOD.
I certainly wouldn't let him get away with telling you to leave - his Dad should be defending you there "Don't tell Mummy to go away, that's unkind". He should do this in front of MIL and even involve her a bit with "isn't it Grandma?" She should be primed to agree.
I wouldn't insist on his holding a particular hand or actively doing something he doesn't want to do, but your OH should be making himself scarce at times and also doing his share of the boring stuff and discipline at other times.
When this happened to me (years ago) DS2 suddenly changed his mind when Daddy insisted he brushed his teeth. He thought he might be able to play one against the other - he couldn't.
We had this with DD2 when she was first placed with us at age 1, she loved DH straightaway, but I couldn't get close to her at all, and she just wouldn't let me give her her bottle. It was so hard! But we got past that after 2 weeks, though she favoured her Daddy for the first year really.
Now, at 5 years old, she's such a Mummy's girl, wants me to do everything with her. So yes, things change, that's for sure.
But I definitely agree with the PPs saying that your DP needs to tell DS off for telling you to leave, that's unacceptable. And your MIL needs to wind her neck in, that's for sure.
My daughter always used to want daddy instead of me and itipupset him a bit. I put it down to her spending more time with me as I only worked 2 days a week when I first went back. When I picked her up from parents, playgroup etc I got a big welcome so she still loved me. If shewomen in the night and only wanted daddy I took advantage and went back to sleep. It has changed over time as to who she wants most ( sometimes dependent on who will give her what she wants).
I know your situation is different as you both spend time with ds alone. Maybe that is what he is used to and feels you are not needed if you are doing something he would normally do with daddy. Is there a more active thing that you would still be able to do.
I took my dd to gymnastics (more encouraging movement, interaction and coordination at that age) parents were in the room with them but there were different levels of involvement from them - there was nearly always someone heavily pregnant, grandparents there ). Would you be able to go in the water at a toddler swim. Maybe if he has activities (outdoor or others such as craft) that he associates with you, see how he acts when daddy joins you for them.
And also let daddy do his fair share of the boring stuff.
It's probably a phase my dc was the same for a while except opposite every time my DH tried to get him to do anything with him he refused, I would just ignore it they grow grow out of it mine did.
DD 2y8m is like this. It's all about Daddy. I accept it up until she is actively rude or unkind (so telling me to go away etc). Then DH and I jointly say "no, we don't tell people to go away, it's not kind". If she persists in being unkind to me then DH leaves.
This has worked well and she is much more affectionate now. But I did have to push to get DH to show a united front and that is key.
Thank you everyone - very reassuring and helpful. I think we'll try for a much more united front, and I'll try and do some more physical things with him.
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