I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be the parent shunned in favor of another. When my almost three-year-old son needs anything, it’s all “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”.
While my husband does his best to comfort, feed, snuggle, potty, and otherwise take care of our son, he is sometimes met with “Not Daddy, just Mommy”. He’s even been told “Daddy go out, Mommy stay”.
If it were me, my heart would break to hear those words. It does break just to hear it said to my husband.
I admire my husband for continuing to stay in the game always, never losing heart. He’s a wonderful, caring father, and he loves our son unconditionally. They have loads of fun playing together, and my husband shares lots of the care time, too. They have their own bonding rituals. And just today, our little guy was over the moon when he heard Daddy’s car pull in after work.
But for our little one, it’s obvious there’s just no substitute for a mother’s love.
Not all little ones are attached so much to their mothers, though. I have neighbors and friends who say theirs are completely enthralled by Daddy, barely giving Mom the time of day.
Is it just natural for a child to develop a stronger affinity for one parent? Why does this happen?
I’ve been wondering if it’s just that a child can sense a personality that’s more akin to its own, the way we as grownups also identify more with certain people who come into our lives. It just seems odd to think this could happen also within families, I suppose.
Or, on the other hand, could it have something to do with an experience the child had as an infant?
When our son was two months old, we tried to get him to accept milk from a bottle. My husband was the one to give it to him, of course. And it never took—he just cried and cried every time. Is it possible this caused the impression that it was Daddy’s fault that Mommy went away?
Now that I think back, there were a lot of times we tag teamed caring for our son, since I would go off to do some work when Daddy came home. Perhaps it was a more gradual resentment of the fact that when Daddy was around, Mommy was often gone.
I’ve also heard that this preference for one parent over another can come and go in waves, though that really hasn’t been the case for us.
What’s been your experience? Do your little ones have a preferred parent? Tell us in the comment section below!