E.B. asks from Lindon, UT on April 02, 2008
Favorite Parent Issues with 2 1/2 Yr Old Girl
So this may sound weird, but I am a little worried that my little girl is a mommy's girl. When she was little she preferred me to my husband, which I can understand. My problem is that she is not getting any better and she is now 2 1/2 yrs old. She is a very good natured little girl, loves people and doesn't act like this with anyone else. I have to coax her to give him a hug or kiss. She is very off-ish with him with almost anything. The only time she doesn't act this way is when I have gone out for a awhile and she stays home with Daddy, and even then she still has small issues. My husband is feeling very neglected and depressed about the whole situation. He is a very loving father and my soul mate. He is hardworking and can be a clown sometimes. My other worry is that with my second girl on the way, my first will be even more attached to me and problems will arise with the new baby. I keep reassuring my husband with the "its only a phase" line. But after two years+ I am beginning to wonder myself. Has anyone dealt with this before or any thoughts?
3 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thank you so much for all your responses. It always feels good to have your instincts confirmed. We are working on having her go to daddy a lot more. I know it won't fix overnight, but its a start. Thanks again!!!
D.S. answers from Dallas on June 17, 2008
We am raising a 9yr old and almost 5 yr old Granddaughters.
The 5 yr old is the same way with Grandpa. If you recieve good answers I need to read them too.
Sorry I'm in the same boat.
C.M. answers from Portland on June 17, 2008
One thing that really helped my kids and husband bond is finding something that only they do together. It could be something really little. For my daughter it was mowing the lawn on the riding lawn mower with Daddy. As for my second child, when my son was born my daughter was just over 2 and she ended up switching completely from wanting Mommy all the time to wanting Daddy all the time. I spent so much time taking care of the baby, she learned if she went to Dad, she would get the attention she wanted. She is such a Daddy's girl now (at 3 1/2) that she usually picks him over me anymore.
D.S. answers from Billings on April 03, 2008
It sounds like he needs to spend more one on one time with her. Have him take her to a park, or to lunch, or just anywhere with him more. It probably is just a phase, and it is normal for a child to be more attached to the parent that they are around more. My son is still very attached to me, he loves doing things with his daddy too, but he'd still rather have me.
E.F. answers from Casper on April 03, 2008
It is very typical for a child to prefer one parent over another, even up to three-four years old. It is also very hard on both parents. The one who is preferred because it is physically and emotionally draining to be the one to do everything, and the one who gets neglected because, well they feel neglected and can't do anything to help.
The key to this is patience. You are right in saying it is just a phase, it is just a really loooong phase. I have studied Child Development and also have personal experience in this area. So here is my advice... and I hope it helps you.
My second daughter (Ella) was like this, she is now 4 1/2 and when she is feeling insecure she still only wants me to do things for her. We have worked so hard on this, for the same reason you want to, my husband was feeling so left out.
The first thing that I did was make it REALLY exciting when Daddy came home form work. Lots of hugs from me and anticipation leading up to that point. "Daddy is coming home soon:)" "When Daddy comes home, lets give him a...." and find something that we could do for him.
We also spent time during the day making secret things for him, like pictures or cards or love notes, and would put them on his pillow. or make treats to give to him. Which in turn I asked him to make a big deal about! And do the same things for her.
He came up with a "running hug" (back up as far as she could and run run run and jump into his arms) because it was one way she would actually hug him. He would try to hug her or ask for a hug and she would decline, but if he said,"can you give me a running hug?" she would be running and hugging within seconds.
We started alternating who would put her to bed. This was really hard for her at first and was actually more helpful if I went shopping for bed time, on his nights. Every other night we would trade. And it got easier. He actually did a different more fun routine then I did, and now she likes him to put her to bed more then me!:) (most nights) But we still take turns because my 2 year old girl, sort of started the same thing after our recent move.
Another thing we do is daddy dates. They absolutely love this. I have a 6 year old daughter as well and we started this when she was about two to give me a break. She would just go run errands with him and he would make sure to do something fun like, stop by a park for ten min, or get a little treat or something. So now they take turns, I mark it on the calender whenever he takes one and then the next time it is the others turn. This has really helped the bonding and she loves to ride in his truck and spend time with him.
We have also done non-giving-in in situations where if I am busy, she can have Daddy do it or wait till I am done, (which I can always look busy even if I am not). These are hard at first with lots of tears, but once she realized that I wasn't going to help her, it got easier.
It is great for you to have a night out weekly. Like you stated, she likes him more when she spends time with him. So if you were to make it more frequent, it would only help them get closer and her trust him more.
It is a tough situation, But She will come though with lots of encouragement and support from you and unconditional love from him.
About your new baby,
Ella never had a huge problem with the baby. We talked so much about how excited we were and what a big helper she would be. And all the fun things she could do that the baby couldn't.
She loved our baby. And I referred to her as our's, so she wouldn't think she was just my baby or that she was getting replace. She never was mean, but she did still want me to spend time holding her.
When I would feed the baby, it was "reading time" for Ella, and when the baby took her first morning nap after I got ready, it was "Mommy time" for Ella. I would just state "its Esther's turn with mommy, when I am done it will be your turn" Then when I was done with our baby I would make sure that I would say "its Ella's turn", that way she would feel I still loved and wanted to snuggle her.
We also encourage her to tell me if she needed "mommy time" instead of crying and whining about it. It Helped her to recognize that she had feelings and if she was sad she could use her words to fix it. It also helped me not get so irritated with her neediness, or being angry with her crying (for no reason). When I heard those words, "I need Mommy time" I could finish what I was doing quickly and give her some of my time.
It will take a while to adjust, but I think if you stay positive, she will too.
By the way, I like your name:)
3 moms found this helpful
K.C. answers from Great Falls on April 04, 2008
Your post caught my eye, because I worried and worried about that same issue when my daughter was little (she is 4.5 now).
My husband also struggled with it, and there didn't seem to be too much I could say to him to help him feel better. He kept making it about him.
But what we both eventually learned about little people and attachment to parents, is that usually when children are under the age of 6, they attach strongly to one adult at a time. This means when you are in the vicinity, she will probably want you and not your husband. (A great read on attachment is Gordon Neufeld's Hold on To Your Kids).
The best way for your husband to attach to your daughter is for you to plan to spend some time out of the house and give them time/space to bond. Also for your husband to gently attempt to attach, by making eye contact, smiling etc. (Again check out Gordon's book).
Good luck. And remember it's normal and healthy for your daughter to attach to one parent (adult) at a time.
2 moms found this helpful
A.M. answers from Denver on April 04, 2008
Kids have an amazing ability to sense when you are feeling or thinking about the baby in your belly. Because of this the dynamics of the family changes. This means that the lst born is no longer the center of the family unit. It helps to accept the changes and develope a bond with the 1st born that includes the new changes. The dad needs to stop thinking the lack of closeness is personal and be the parent and go forth and find a way to have one on one time with his daughter. Maybe he could take her to a ballet class and have a special snack with her afterwards or something like this. Maybe a favorite park or some mall for window shopping. It's about making her feel not out of the loop....
1 mom found this helpful
M.B. answers from Houston on June 17, 2008
My son has always preferred me over Daddy. At first I assumed it was because I was breatfeeding him. However, he is now 6-1/2 and still prefers me.
Like you, I was nervous when I was pregnant with my second child; I didn't want TWO clingers. My husband was always very involved, changing diapers, preparing meals, etc. However, I started encouraging more Daddy time. My husband is a better cook than I am, so I would encourage him to let my son stir, roll out cookies, etc. If my husband was running a quick errand I would suggest that Matthew ride along. (That also gave me some quiet time.)
When my daughter came along, we quickly discovered that despite my breastfeeding she preferred Daddy. When she needs a diaper, she wants Daddy to change her. When she is hurt, she wants Daddy to kiss it better. (Now I know how Daddy felt when my son was always wanting me. And he knows how I felt when I couldn't get a break from my clinger.)
We have started taking turns and dividing up more responsibilities. We each help one child get dressed. We take turns changing diapers. I help with homework. My hubby reads the bedtime story. (You get the picture.)
1 mom found this helpful
R.A. answers from San Francisco on June 17, 2008
We take turns putting my daughter (3.5yrs) to bed and tell her that we want to take turns because we both want to be with her so much and both enjoy putting her to bed so much that its not fair that only Mommy gets to do it. She still prefers me, but enjoys telling her Papi that tomorrow night will be his turn and planning what they will read together. My husband and I are also very clear that whoever is taking care of any particular task follows through with that task regardless of who my daughter asks for -- so if Papi is helping her brush her teeth and she says "I want Mommy" She is told that it is Papi's turn and that Mommy will do something else for her -- and that Mommy and Papi decide, not her. I don't get to come in and take over because that lets her know that she is in control of that particular situation. We will indulge what she wants if one of us hasn't already started the task though... She still expresses a preference, but quickly adjusts and is happy to be with Papi when we are clear who is doing what. hope that helps!
1 mom found this helpful
K.K. answers from Denver on April 04, 2008
Hi. I am pretty sure that this is just a phase. My niece did this to my brother until she was probably 3 or 4 and he felt the same way that your husband does. My sister in law would just talk to my niece about how it hurt her dad's feelings and what not and she eventually got better about it but she will be 6 in July and still sometimes prefers her mom over her dad. Hopefully this helps and gives you some insight. Just talk to her about feelings and hopefully she'll come around.
J.O. answers from Boise on April 02, 2008
I think it is very normal especialy with SAHM's we are there world 24 hours a day, it doesn't mean she doesn't love daddy but mommy is the one who is always there, it really is that simple. I would have daddy do a lot more things with her and mommy is going to have to leave her with him a lot more, have daddy do little tea parties and play dolls, he can take her to the park or zoo, make daddy the "good" guy, and this will become very important with a new baby on the way, get her baby dolls and help her practice for the new baby and talk about how our new baby is going to need more of mommy's attention and that daddy is going to have to help mommy out alot more, 2 1/2 year olds understand a lot more then we give them credit for, also daddy really needs to understand that it isn't personal she loves him but mommy is her security blanket, good luck!
K.D. answers from Denver on April 02, 2008
Our four year old was the same way, except with me instead of daddy. I totally understand your husband's feelings. Most kids switch at certain stages. Our second definitely follows that pattern. Our first never did. Around age 3, when he started expressing love himself, I started getting a lot of hugs and kisses. Although he still prefers daddy to me, we do have our special moments. The biggest thing that has helped, is doing special days just him and me. He has a great time the whole time we're out, but inevitably, at the end on the way home, he tells me he wishes daddy could have come and I stay home, or brother could have come and he could have stayed home with daddy. He also tells me he is daddy's and his brother is mine. It's a tough situation. The more often we have our special days, the better it is. It doesn't take much to qualify as a special day, just something him and me. I hope it improves soon!