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Three year old rejecting her Father

(9 Posts)
yorkshapudding Thu 05-Jan-17 20:00:38

DD is 3yo. She is a very loving and affectionate but strong willed little girl.
DH has been very attentive and 'hands on' with her from day one and they have always had a lovely relationship. Until a couple of months ago when she suddenly started to show a very strong preference for me, to the extent that she is really quite rejecting of DH.

It started with "no, I want mummy to bath me/take me to bed/do my hair etc" and soon escalated to the point that she sometimes won't even tolerate DH being in the room while these things are happening. When he comes in from work she will hide her face and refuse to acknowledge him or push him away if he tries to cuddle her.

Interestingly, he was recently had a couple of weeks off work and she was mostly fine with him during this time (she still wanted me to put her to bed but was affectionate and happy to play with DH during the day) but now he's gone back to work its all changed again.

DH is absolutely gutted by this because he adores DD and neither of us know how to tackle it. I really feel for him and from a completely selfish point of view, it's exhausting for me as I also work full time during term time and never get a minute to myself.

Any advice or words of wisdom would be much appreciated as we're both really struggling with this.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 06-Jan-17 16:04:35

Unless something has happened between them, I'd just ignore. It's perfectly normal for them to show a preference at some point and has no indication on how much they love or appreciate that parent.

Could you give them some time alone together? Maybe go out for a couple of evenings so that he has to put her to bed or go out tomorrow for a couple of hours without them, if he's home? They could always go swimming together or go to the library and go for a walk. At this age I wouldn't ask, I'd just get ready, tell her she's going out with Daddy, make it sound exciting and then go out myself.

I wouldn't tolerate her dictating which rooms DH can be in though. She needs to understand that she doesn't get a choice if he wants to sit in the living room or not.

ToneDeafHamster Fri 06-Jan-17 16:19:46

My DH is 2.5 and has started doing this. We generally just ignore it and she seems to get over it. I am hoping it is just a phase and am not looking forward to my turn!

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 06-Jan-17 16:28:33

Sounds pretty much how we dealt with it Tone.

OP might be worth seeing if your local children's centre does a Dad's group. Some do and he can just take her along, enjoy an activity and have a brew.

yorkshapudding Fri 06-Jan-17 17:11:40

Thank you all for your responses.

DH is out of the house from 7.30am til about 6.30pm during the week so isn't able to go to toddler groups but does take her swimming, to the park, out for walks etc without me on a weekend. This is hit and miss. Sometimes she's fine with him while they're out but then makes a beeline straight for me as soon aa they're back. Sometimes she starts saying "can we go home, I want to see mummy" about 10 minutes into whatever it is they're doing. He perseveres though.

When you say you've both dealt with this by ignoring, does that just mean you ignore the negative behaviour associated with them preferring one parent (e.g if DH tries to cuddle her and she pushes him away, don't react to the pushing) or does it mean you ignore her requests for the other parent ("I want mummy to take me to bed/give me a bath/put my shoes on" etc) even if it means she gets distressed?

GrouchyKiwi Fri 06-Jan-17 17:33:02

DD1 did this when she was about 2 1/2. We would just say "It's Daddy's turn to do X" and get on with things. She never got that upset about it, though.

I'm not sure how we would have handled it had she been older and more insistent.

It is a fairly normal phase, so I hope your DH isn't getting upset about it. It should pass.

The advice from PPs about you going out and leaving them to it sometimes is good.

DeathMetalMum Fri 06-Jan-17 17:54:14

I'd also say it's normal, both dd's have done this at times (and still do!). We ignore and say something like oh mummy is busy right now so daddy will have to do - or vice versa. For things like cuddles etc I'd just ignore and say something like 'oh it's okay I'll have one later or from a teddy bear etc...' I think it's just another way of pushing boundaries and children exploring your reactions.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 06-Jan-17 18:10:20

I'd have ignored pretty much as the others have said. FWIW most Dads groups are at the weekend.

ToneDeafHamster Fri 06-Jan-17 23:54:34

We ignore the negative behaviour ie: pushing. My DH knows now not to take it personally, she loves her Daddy without question, it is just boundary pushing.

With the requests for mummy, we tend to ignore, say things like 'daddy can do it', 'mummy is doing something else' etc - if she starts getting too upset, I will just do what she is asking as I don't want it to escalate to the point she gets so upset its unpleasant for everyone! She will sometimes concede to the suggestion of daddy doing the task. They spend time together, DH does bedtime on weekdays, go out together for day trips etc and have a great time. She is just flexing her toddler muscles and seeing what happens, she was asking for her daddy today instead of me!

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