D.A. asks from Hiram, GA on September 30, 2008
My 3-Year-old Hates Me! (Help!)
My 3-year-old is Daddy's Girl... 100% Daddy's Girl! Before you go, "Awww, that's so sweet," keep reading. When my husband is not around, she is mostly fine with me. We hang out, play games, talk, and go to the library together, etc. We have had the occasional temper tantrum when she finds out I am picking her up instead of her Daddy, but for the most part she is fine when he is not around.
When he IS around, however, she wants absolutely NOTHING to do with me. She will not talk to me and will ask me not to talk to her. She will not give me hugs or kisses goodnight (those are for Daddy) nor hugs or kisses in the morning to say goodbye (again, only Daddy gets hugs and kisses). This morning my husband was downstairs making breakfast when she woke up and I went in to say good morning to her. She told me that she didn't call me, she called her Daddy and hid under the blankets until I left.
I have tried to be patient with her, and we correct her when she is rude and/or disrespectful. But for the most part, I have tried to respect her wishes. To be honest, I don't know what else to do; I don't want to force her to show affection toward me. This has been going on (and getting progressively worse) for months now. It is really breaking my heart. I have (and always had) a very distant relationship with my mother, and I swore that it would be different with my child. I absolutely hate this, and I am at a complete loss about what to do.
Has anyone experienced the same thing? Any advice?
So What Happened?™
Thank you for everyone's GREAT responses... it is so comforting to know that I am not alone and that her favoritism is a normal phase. I guess I was so hurt and confused by what was happeneing that I didn't see the power struggle that was happening. I printed out everyone's responses and showed them to my husband. We tried a few of them over the weekend and they worked! She still has an issue here and there, so we are still working on it. My husband spoke to her about it and also him showing me affection in front of her went really well. One morning when I had to leave, hubby and I kissed and when I looked back at her I saw that she was watching and smiling. Then she ran up to me and gave me a big hug and kiss and told me she loved me. Woo hoo! And then when I got home she was all snuggly and talkative (before this when I would come home she would hide and ask me to leave her alone). So we are definitely making some progress! Thanks again for everyone's help!!!
V.R. answers from Atlanta on October 01, 2008
I've gone through the same situation with my daughter. I decided to ignore her when she gave my husband more attention. I definitely would not let her know that it bothered me. I gave them their time together by going to another room, or making myself busy. She is with me most of the time anyway. I also continued showing her affection and telling her how much I love her. After a while, she stopped making a difference and in fact, she clings more to mommy now. I realized that she really longed for his time and attention because she spends more time with me.
D.T. answers from Atlanta on October 01, 2008
My daughter did that around the same age. It was so hard! She still is definitley a daddy's girl, but now she atleast can show that she loves me too. It took a bit, and some help from her dad. I think that's where you need to pull in your husband on this one. He needs to correct your daughter when she is disrespectful or hurtful, just like you guys would if it was the grandparents who were visiting that she was being rude too (or even a friend of hers). And as I saw in a previous post, make sure your husband is very obvious that you come first, and that he loves you more than anything. And my husband also had to quit spoiling her quite so much. I had to be the one who always punished and he was the fun who did anything she wanted. Once he stopped with that, and I tried to loosen up that helped a little. Just don't let her see you take it personal, which you shouldn't. She really does love you, but is struggling to find her place. After 6 months to a year my daughter finally acts likes she loves both of us, but prefers her dad... which I think is sweet.
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S.W. answers from Atlanta on September 30, 2008
She doesn't hate you. I have a girl and a boy and they have gone through phases when they have favored one parent over the other... mainly my daughter favoring Daddy and my son favoring me, which I think is pretty common developmentally. Sometimes it seems to swing the other way. You've gotten some great responses, so I'm not sure what to add, other than that it will change. Try not to act bitter about her behavior but do let her know she is hurting your feelings and that she cannot disrespect you. It is important for your husband to not allow her to be disrespectful to you. Have him talk to her when she does this and tell her it is not acceptable. As someone else said, it also helps to have Daddy show affection and repect to you, in front of her, so that she knows how important you are to him. And then include your daughter in these moments. That happens in my house all the time... Daddy hugs me and then the kids come over to join in the group hug. One on one time with both of you and whole family time... it's all important. Hang in there. I know it hurts!
J.A. answers from Augusta on October 01, 2008
I do not have any advice, but our family is going through the same thing. But, it is our 3 1/2 year old little boy and he is 100% a mama's boy. He is fine with my husband when I'm not around, but when I am, he wants me to do EVERYTHING for him. He wants me to read him books, me to give him a bath and he will throw a temper tantrum if my husband does these things instead of me. I know it hurts my husband's feeling sometimes and it is also wearing me out! We are trying to work through it and I explain to him often how much daddy loves him, all the special things that daddy does for him and that he is being disrespectful when he acts like that. It has gotten a little better, but we still have the occasional tantrum when daddy put him down at night instead of me. I am interested to hear in what comments / advice you receive.
L.C. answers from Atlanta on October 02, 2008
Your 3 year old doesn't hate you, believe it or not. She is playing games with you because she can get away with it. You need to treat her the same way she treats you when she is around your hubby. You are the mother and you need to teach her a lesson that it is not appropriate to treat anyone (ESPECIALLY HER MOM) rudely- this is UNACCEPTABLE! Just give her a taste of her own medicine and she will realize that it's not right. I know it's hard to do that because we are mothers and have but love for our kids- but this needs to stop.
C.J. answers from Atlanta on October 03, 2008
Time for you to take on your role as not just "mommy" but the only adult female in your home ! ! ! ! You need to ask your husband to step it up and back you regarding your daughter respecting you and your authority. She's a child. I'm a childcare provider and I've seen it all when it comes to parents relationships with children. You are allowing yourself to be manipulated by your 3 year old. What you have to remember is that she won't always be 3. What are you going to do when she starts growing up and wanting to have her way. If she does not respect you now, do you think she will then? As a mom having raised two girls (daddy's girls also...now ages 22 and 18), I saw my husband become not as involved when they hit the preteen years. It was hard for him to see his little girls growing up. I had to continue on. I'm telling you, the problem is not her...it is you being to soft. Step up your game mommy ! ! ! ! So what if you get her angry, etc., you are doing it for her own good ! ! ! You say you had a distant relationship with your mom and you swore you would be different with your child....Prove it...do something about it. Whatever made you feel that way with your mom, check yourself. Ask God to reveal to you what you are harboring that is affecting your relationship with your daughter. If you want the generational curse to end....it has to start with you.
S.S. answers from Atlanta on October 01, 2008
She doesn't hate you. I love some of the suggestions you have gotten. I don't think you should let her get away with disrespecting you, but I don't think you need to make a big deal about it.
My DD was a daddy's girl for the first year -15 months. It got really bad where she would cry if my husband would hand her to me - I mean cry as if her world was ending. It broke my heart. I can't imagine how much worse it would feel if she could talk. Now she is more balanced and sometimes even seems to prefer me.
Just because your 3 yr old prefers dad doesn't mean that you will have the same relationship as with your mom. Good luck!
R.L. answers from Charleston on October 01, 2008
Just don't show a reaction. She is controlling the show because she has both you and your husband on a string. Try to ignore it or don't react to her behavior. If she wants Daddy say okay and get him with no reaction. Also the time you have with her alone, I would schedule fun things to do for just the two of you. Chuckee-Cheese, movies, shopping etc. This will solidify your relationship with her. In the long run she will know you actually enjoy spending time with her.
N.S. answers from Atlanta on October 04, 2008
Congratulations on becoming the best mommy ever... children are so fickle that they will make you second guess everything. I am sorry that you are going through this trying time but it will pass... keep up the one on one interactions and remind her of her manners. She will turn around soon. I would also look into speaking to her pediatrician to make sure that nothing is off with her health, quirky behaviors sometimes have a medical reason that can be easily resolved with a doctor's review and diagnosis.
Good Luck and God Bless,