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Please help: my 4yo ds hates women

(16 Posts)
fadingfast Tue 04-Aug-09 22:32:20

Well hate is perhaps a strong word, but I am getting increasingly upset that ds just doesn't seem to like women.

He has always had a very close relationship with dh. I know to an extent it is normal for sons to idolise their fathers but is it really normal for this to be the case so early? He often reminds me that dh is his 'favourite' and when we are both at home he will always choose dh over me.

But it's not just me. He mostly barely tolerates my mum, although she is very patient and loving towards him. He was very close to my father, who died before he was two. He seems to strike up an immediate affinity with men generally, such as the fathers of his friends, but will positively recoil from most women.

I am beginning to feel that I am a complete failure and that the bond is not as it should be. I did find the first few months after he was born a struggle, but didn't suffer from PND and otherwise thought we were doing ok, at least until my dad died (shortly before we moved house). Since then (nearly 3 years) our lives have been pretty settled and happy.

Has anyone else experienced this? I just don't know where to begin with addressing this issue, if indeed I can do anything at all. It is making me really sad sad

mrsruffallo Tue 04-Aug-09 22:35:18

I wouldn't read too much into it. He is only little, there is no way he would have developed a hatred of women!
Maybe he likes the way that your husband plays, often dads are better at the flinging about/fun stuff.

fadingfast Thu 06-Aug-09 21:44:05

Thanks - I know he is a bit young for it to be a lifelong thing, but it really seems to be quite a pronounced preference for all men.

Has anyone else got any experience of this? I am increasingly thinking it must be something to do with how I have mothered him.

lingle Sat 08-Aug-09 21:26:46

Is he your eldest?

jkklpu Sat 08-Aug-09 21:34:14

How does your dh behave around women? Does he get on with his mother/any sisters/other women your ds sees around?

saintmaybe Sat 08-Aug-09 21:41:40

He's at the age where lots of kids are REALLY REALLY suddenly aware of their own gender, and it becomes Very Important that they identify themselves as male/ female in every way they can think of (wearing of pink etc).

Could it be something like that? 'I'm a boy so I only like boys and boy-things'?

screamingabdab Sat 08-Aug-09 22:27:05

Yes, I would agree with saintmaybe. I have 2 boys and it is around this age that they start to assert their own gender and say negative things about girls.

My DS1 definitely preferred my DH (though not other men), and it did, for a time leave me feeling quite crappy and rejected, especially as I was a SAHM, doing all the boring routine stuff with him

I would also not discount the idea that, if particular women are (understandably) hurt or upset by his behaviour, he's going to pick upon that, and there may be tension with that person because of it. Children are very sensitive to others moods.

I would advise you not to worry, and to just back off a bit.

It is probably a phase

screamingabdab Sat 08-Aug-09 22:30:10

sorry, meant to say, DS1 preferred DH almost from birth, but this subsided when he was about 5. He suddenly became very loving to me, which was really great. Now we have an excellent relationship, (he's nearly 9)

slyandgobbo Sat 08-Aug-09 22:35:14

I found 4 a difficult stage for both my sons - big testosterone surge. DS1 caused a nanny to resign - he is now a big 8-year-old softy. I think you will find this improves with time.

fadingfast Mon 10-Aug-09 21:53:38

Thank you everyone. That does make me feel better.

Ds is my eldest (DD is 15 mths). I don't think it has helped that while I have tended to focus more on DD (and still bfeeding), DH has tended to do more with DS, and he has always been a very 'hands on' dad. I have definitely noticed the testosterone surges and the fact it is suddenly all 'boys do x, girls do y' etc.

I have to say I have found 4 quite a challenging age, and I don't think I helped myself recently when DS announced that DH was his 'favourite' - I should have just let it pass but instead said in that case perhaps I wouldn't read him a story! Terrible way to react I know, but at the time I felt really hurt.

It is just quite marked that while he loves seeing other men, he just isn't at all bothered by other female adult friends and relatives.

I will take heart to know that (hopefully) this is just another phase...

FimbleHobbs Tue 11-Aug-09 15:40:42

My 4yo DS is not fussed about his grannies/aunties etc - he just prefers men. I don't really see it as a negative thing, its like its a positive thing that he likes men, and he is just indifferent to the women he encounters.

Small boys do generally spend an awful lot of time surrounded by women so not surprising if they find us all fairly unremarkable... give it 10 years and they'll probably be desperate to spend all day with a bunch of women wink Although still not grannies and aunties I would hope.

screamingabdab Tue 11-Aug-09 17:04:45

Another thing occurs to me. Rather than feeling a failure, maybe you should give yourself a pat on the back for encouraging such a close relationship between your son and his dad, and be thankful he has a dad who wishes to be involved and loving.

It is very hard when you have a baby as well. On the one hand, you feel a little less involved with the older one (and mourn the loss of them being your only baby), but on the other, you can feel pretty peed off with them because of their behaviour at this age (and then feel guilty for that ...)

Your DS might also be feeling a bit jealous because his little sister is at an age when she's starting to do more, and being cute at the same time. All completely normal, but he might be taking it out on you.

In my experience, it has all righted itself. Just try not to jump ahead too far in the future in your mind

fadingfast Tue 11-Aug-09 21:20:54

I think you have summed it up in a nutshell screamingabdab. I do feel guilty about neglecting DS in favour of DD, and resent his behaviour at times which still involves the occasional tantrum. And to add to that is the looming prospect of school, which I dread as a huge upheaval, even though I think it will do him good and in many ways is 'ready'.

What I think I really need to resist is that feeling that DS is 'his' (DH) and DD is 'mine', which is how it feels a lot of the time.

screamingabdab Thu 13-Aug-09 13:27:30

The only thing I can recommend to redress things a bit (and I'm sure you've thought of it), is to have some time alone with your DS, and what I call "love-bomb" him. Do something that he really enjoys and get stuck in with him as a way of seeing his good points again. Make it explicit that it's special mummy and son time.

Speaking for myself, DS was quite difficult in the run up to school (and I know other people who had this experience).

When he went, even though I felt positive about him starting, I suddenly really missed him !

You have your whole lives together to work things out. Nothing is set in stone.

fadingfast Thu 13-Aug-09 22:12:34

Thank you for your advice screamingabdad. You sound very wise!

I do try to do things on my own with him, but not perhaps as much as I would like to. It definitely pays dividends and reminds me how lovely he is!

screamingabdab Fri 14-Aug-09 08:53:56

fadingfast Oh, It's easy to be wise when you aren't the one going through the emotional rollercoaster, and with the vast benefit of hindsight grin. I have been where you are.

I sometimes think I will always worry more about DS1 than DS2 .......

Best of luck

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