If you’re raising your little one with a partner, you might not have gotten to a point where your child expresses a preference for one parent over the other, but believe me, you will.
It can be a little bit heartbreaking when toddlers start expressing more love for one parent, but I assure you, it has very little to do with their actual feelings. This is usually a way of showing their authority to make their own choices.
If that sounds a little confusing, don’t worry. I explain exactly what I mean, as well as some tips to help even out the affection between both parents, in this week’s video.
– Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video.
Now, if you’re a brand new parent, this might not have occurred for you yet but I’m here to warn you that at some point in your child’s little life, they will prefer one parent over the other and they will at times not prefer you as much as they prefer their other parent. That’s just a fact that we all have to go through.
I can remember dropping my daughter off at her daycare. She was about 18 months I think at the time and she loved going to this daycare. She loved the provider. They had three little pugs that she absolutely adored. So going there was a really happy place for her.
The trouble was when I picked her up, we went through this little phase where she would cry when I came to pick her up because she didn’t wanna leave the babysitter and I have to be completely honest that it did hurt a little bit. It kinda stung that she really loved it there so much that she wasn’t excited to see me at the end of the day but I had to keep those feelings in check and know that this is just a part of toddler development.
This is just a way for them to express their preferences or their dislikes to let you know that they have some choice in their life now and this is a super exciting discovery for a toddler that they have, that they’re their own autonomous being and that they can exert some will and choice and they can let you know what they like and they don’t like just like they might always want the green sippy cup or she always wants you to read Goodnight Moon to her every single night.
That’s more about her demonstrating her ability to make choice more so than she just really loves Goodnight Moon. That’s most likely not the case or she’s obsessed with the color green. Not the case, it’s just her letting you know that hey, I have some, I can make some choices here and I’m gonna continue to pick that book or this sippy cup to let you know this and so they will do that with other things in their life too that they’ll no, I want daddy to do it or no, I want mommy to do it.
It’s more just her letting you know that hey, I can make some choices here but it does hurt a little bit if you’re the parent for that brief period of time that you almost feel like you’re getting shunned a little bit like go away, I prefer this person over you and I’m gonna give you a few tips today to see if you can curb it and know that this’ll swing back and forth.
There’ll be times where you’re the favorite and then your partner’s the favorite and this will kind of pendulum swing for the first few years of your child’s life until they kinda get, they understand that doing those sorts of things has consequences to the other person.
Right now they don’t really know that and it has nothing to do with their love for you. I promise you that.
So if you are the preferred parent, there’s a couple of things that you can do to give your partner center stage and that would be to make yourself scarce when your partner’s around. You don’t always need to be in the action, doing the tasks.
If you see that your child and the partner are kind of engaging in something, just back step your way out of the room, maybe go do some laundry or make a phone call or just make yourself sort of out of sight because sometimes out of sight does mean out of mind and the child will then happily play with that parent.
Another good tip is to create something new between you and the child. If you’re the shunned parent let’s call you for now then plan a new activity that’s gonna be just you and the child. So maybe it’s hey, starting this Saturday, just you and I are gonna go to the farmers market every morning.
I know when my first son was little, daddy and Charlie went to the beach every Saturday morning and that was their little outing, their little ritual and it was just a great way for them to spend time together. That was their own special time. I wasn’t involved in any way.
So that’s really important as well. Try not to take all of the fun activities, right? There’s certain things that you do in the day that are the fun stuff like maybe it’s bath time or getting jammies on or making the lunch together. Let your partner have a chance to do some of the fun stuff too so that your child can see that hey, it’s pretty cool to hang out with this person as well.
Now, one last tip. Your child will have preferences and she’s making those preferences known but don’t let it sway you. So for example, if it’s daddy’s night to do bedtime and she’s putting up a fuss that she wants mommy and there might be tears and she’s whining for mommy, don’t give in to that. I know it’s tempting but don’t give in to that because what you’ll do then is you’ll reinforce that kind of behavior. You’ll teach her that hey, all she has to do is whine and cry and kick up a fuss and you will change the plan.
So you can say you know what, it’s daddy’s night tonight or it’s mommy’s night tonight whether you like it or not, this is what’s happening and once she sees that you mean business around that, that you don’t budge just because she’s protesting this scenario then she will ease into it and begin to realize that there’s really no point in that kind of behavior because it doesn’t work anyway.
Alright, thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
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