I Need Advice... - Deep Gap,NC

Updated on March 10, 2011
T.C. asks from Deep Gap, NC
12 answers

Let me start with a little bit of background... My husband and i were married when i was 5months pregnant with my 1st daughter (she was planned, we were engaged before i was pregnant). After i had her i went through PPD and my husband and i went thru a bad time. Well he chose to hang out with friends, do hobbies, ect instead of spending time with us, this lasted till she was about 2. (Please dont send advice about how terrible my husband is, we have both been saved since and we have changed, he really tries now) So now we have another daughter who is 16 months and they are very close, but my 4 year old is aweful to him, they just arent close. He has tried so hard for the past 2 years, and she acts like she hates him...And, yese he does daddy/ daughter time with her by herself, that doesnt help either.He also has date night with her every monday night and she will be all over him until she walks thru the door, then she cant stand him again. It is breaking our hearts Any advice on how to help strengthen the relationship?

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answers from Raleigh on

You don't say how she shows she can't stand him. Go after the behavior and don't make assumptions about the reason behind it. If she is disrespectful there should be a consequence-no matter who she is disrespectful to. Talking about her feelings is fine to a certain extent but don't give her too much attention about that. Any consequence should be given without emotion or over-explaining. The more matter of fact you can be the faster she will get the message.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think the biggest mistake you OR your husband can make is to take this as more than it really is. Kids go through these phases. It's all mom, or all dad. It waxes and wanes.
She's 4. And while blatant disrespect should not be allowed, your hubs needs to thicken his skin. He's her dad. He loves her and she loves him.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi T. - can you clarify - you said "He also has date night with her every monday night and she will be all over him until she walks thru the door, then she cant stand him again."

Does that mean that when it is just the 2 of them, she is fine?

If so, I would say that your daughter may feel like she is 'disloyal' to you if she shows that she loves him.

Generally speaking a child doesn't have the kind of memory to 'hold a grudge' for things that happened when they were 2. They really don't develop long term memory until around 3 or 4.... so I would say that this may be just 4 year old behavior of showing 'preference' for you and/or jealousy about the time he 'divides' with her baby sister.

I would say he needs to start enlisting is older daughters 'help' so that he can do things with both girls.
Also - the more you guys show that you don't like her behavior and she gets any sort of 'attention' (even if it's bad) it will feed into her need to do it more to get more 'attention'. So, I would try really hard not to let her see that it upsets you and just handle the 'behavior'. You don't say, specifically, what she is doing but, for example if he tells her to hang up her coat and she back talks him you simply calmly say 'i asked you to hang up your coat' again until she does it - no emotion involved.

Hope that helps.

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answers from Portland on

First off, my guess is that she is not doing this because of the past incidences and his emotional withdrawl, but because she is a growing girl and going through a phase.

You haven't given as much information as I would like, but here's one thing to consider: up until things resolved between you and your husband, your daughter likely had *you* all to herself. And then things got better between you and Daddy, and then she had to "share" Mommy. Now, at an age that is typically more bossy and negative (fours are like this, at least from my experience, four year old girls can be a lot of fun and also amazingly mean, without seeming to understand the hurtfulness of what they are saying/doing) and asserting more of their personality, she also has a baby brother to contend with, who is only relatively recently mobile and that in itself is a big adjustment for older siblings. That's a lot.

One thing you can do is to also take a look at what her role models are/do. What/who is she watching? Are the main characters catty and demeaning, because I see LOTS of girl characters like this, even on 'educational' kids shows. So, sometimes kids also emulate what they've seen. This may be one culprit/added negative influence.

I'll suggest two books: "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids will Talk" by Faber and Mazlish. This book has the potential for improving honest communication and problem solving. The second is "Taking Charge: Loving Discipline that Works at Home and at School" by Joanne Nordling. I like this book because it really uses observation to separate self-indulgent behaviors from bona fide disciplinary issues, and helps parents to reinforce their child's self esteem in the most profound ways.

It also pops into my mind to ask "What exactly happens when your daughter is mean/rude to Daddy?" Do you sail in to correct her, or does your husband stand up for himself? If YOU are doing the correcting, instead of him, that can also undermine his relationship with her. It's okay for him to say "You know, that was a hurtful thing to say, and I don't like it. You may be friendly with all of us, or you can go into your room until you feel you can be friendly again." This is an oversimplification, really, however he needs to be letting her know that it is unkind and he doesn't want her to talk to him this way.

Family counseling is also another option, if you and your husband are willing. If you feel this is an anger issue on her part, having a counselor present can facilitate her releasing her emotions and finding honesty in her relationship with her father.

I hope there is something here that gives you help and hope. It sounds like you and your husband are working in the right direction of coming together as parents. Kids are such a challenge, so try to view this as an opportunity for growth (albeit a painful one, sorry!) and keep on striving for wholeness as a family.

Best wishes,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

A child's relationship with a parent will change many time throughout the years. Don't force it. Don't punish her for prefering you over him. At 4 years old, she's still learning how to behave in various social situations.

Your husband NEEDS to keep trying, but in a casual way. If she senses that he's desperate for her affection, she *will* use that against him. He needs to continue to discipline her as per usual, as do you. As long as she's not rude to him, just ignore it.

She may remember him being away from you and her for those first 2 years and may have some trust issues. Just be patient and take it slow. Just because they're parent and child doesn't automatically mean they'll be like 2 peas in a pod. They're two different people that love each other, but need to figure out their own relationship.

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answers from Chicago on

Have you talked to the pediatrician? How about your pastor? Not to suggest to run right out to counseling but perhaps subconsciously she has some anger and doesn't know how to communicate. Is there any jealousy with her younger sibling? Does he balance attention time between both kids? Believe me kids can sense is there is tension or a lack of joy with a parent. Also, is your discipline and follow through consistent? My kids can get really mischievious and be rude to my sister and act disrespectful. That has improved because they know there are consequences. she should not get away with this behavior. If her daddy is genuinely building into the relationship she has to respect him.

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answers from New York on

I'm not sure my daughters hated my husband at that age but they sure as heck preferred me. If she's ok with him when she's alone with him, I'd consider it an age thing. Kids can have such a mommy fixation and she's likely a bit jealous of her sister too. It's got to be hard on him but it'll eventually change. I know my husband would get really frustrated too (as would I). My girls are 5 and 6 now and still prefer me but it's gotten less extreme.

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answers from Washington DC on

I think this is pretty normal. My kids still prefer me when I am home and my husband gets upset. Well I am home with them more than he is and I think that has something to do with it. We also have different discipline styles. My husband will make sad faces and tears and that will sometimes help. What doesn't help is when he punishes them for speaking their preference and tells them that they treat him like a piece of trash. They just don't understand it. Just tell him to keep spending time with her and to tell her nicely that it hurts his feelings when she is mean to him.

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answers from Columbus on

Kudos for you & DH on working through your rough times.

One thought I have is that she may be jealous of your attention to Daddy. She mostly had your attention to herself until she was 2, right?

The only advice I can give would be to utterly ignore her hateful behavior, both of you. Don't respond, don't react. You can tell her once or twice that neither of you will respond to her if she is acting mean/disrespectful, but that you will respond if she talks nicely. That doesn't mean she has to agree, though.

And if that doesn't work, maybe go for some visits to a child psychologist--they will have a lot more tools to help you all work through the problems, as well have insight into why she is behaving this way.

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answers from Chattanooga on

Well different children relate differently to their parents. Thats lovely that ya'll got saved but that fact does not automatically make you 2 better parents. You say tou had PPD no one knows that the spouse can get that also not just the mother. And kids change moods all the time.. How is she rude to him and this daddy/ daughter datenight sounds odd would it not be better to say he spends quality time with each child? and why does it have to be out of the house . Just relax and see how things go

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answers from Nashville on

maybe she is doing it for attn since she is fine until she walks in the door. maybe she has seen you disrespect him or him disrespect you. the only think you can do for now is talk to her and try to find out why she is nasty to him. Then tell her that he is her father and she is to be nice to him. Remind her each time she is nasty and make her apologize. You may find she has a valid reason for disliking him.



answers from Nashville on

i would say keep doing what he is doing. she may always be this way and it probably doesn't have anything to do with the first 2 years. congrat's on being saved. your faith in god will go far in healing their relationship. good luck and god bless, R.

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