Kids Favoritizing Mom? 5 Ways Dad’s Can Reclaim Their Role

Sometimes our kid ONLY wants Mom.

It feels like I’m demoted from CEO to ground worker.

Luckily, it’s also the other way around sometimes. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Well, in some ways, it’s easy when kiddo only wants Mom at night – but when it carries on for weeks, it’s a bit frustrating too.

It’s like they totally forget how we sacrifice EVERYthing for them!

(We’ve all been there👆! At least there’s a change station in the women’s restroom!).

5 Tips For Dads Who Are Not The Preferred Parent

right now.

Remember, it’s just a phase.

Hopefully, in time, we should get to be #1 again.

#1 Don’t Take It Personally

Easier said than done – I know.

When my kid “rejects” me, I try doing this:

1 – Empathize with him

Try to imagine yourself in your kid’s position. What is going on in his or her world?

The good news is that it’s pretty normal for children to prefer one parent over the other. Sometimes kids feel more secure with one parent at different times.

This is especially true when they are scared, hurt, or there is something “big” going on in their world.

And sometimes, Mom just reads a story better. Or Dad’s game is more fun.

2 – Manage my own feelings

It can hurt when it feels like your kid constantly reaches for Mom. And it can really hurt when they shout nasty things at you.

Once we can understand things from our kid’s perspective, it’s easier to manage our feelings.

In extreme situations, when parents don’t empathize and manage their own feelings, it can result in behavior from the adult that leads to a kid feeling guilty or humiliated. And we really don’t want this. 

#2 Quality Time

This might seem like a strange point to make when our kid isn’t interested in Dad (right now – remember, it’s a phase).

Something that might be helpful is to schedule in Special Time. You and Mom need to be on the same team with this.

Sit together with Mom and your child to plan the weekly schedule. Discuss together what you do in a day, and then jot it down in the calendar.

Pro-Dad Tip: Make it visual – ask your kid which picture should be for Special Time with Mom and which should be for Special Time with Dad.

Here are some ideas to encourage quality time:

  • Turn off your notifications and tune into the family. When you are home – be at home.
  • Collaborate with your kid on a “big surprise” for Mom. When Mom is the favorite parent, she wants a break, too!
  • Reinforce your unconditional love. Tell your kid you love them – every day.
  • Invite your kid on a date to the soccer pitch, the beach, or a local cafe.

#3 Stay Connected Even When You’re Apart

Loads of Dads work long hours or travel frequently for work. And many Dads don’t live with their kids.

This can make daily connections really difficult.

So how can we stay connected even when we are apart?

  • Video chats before bed.
  • Dad and kid wear matching socks or shirts.
  • Come up with a secret handshake.
  • Little notes from Dad for your child to open for each day you are apart.
  • A Dad and Kid Diary to write updates to each other about how the day went (great for Dads that work long shifts).
  • When you go away, give your child a special teddy or even one of your soft shirts with Dad’s scent on it. This is great for cuddling.

#4 No Bribes

When we are desperate, it’s tempting to offer gifts and special treats to “win over” our kids.

But this is not sustainable – financially or for your relationship.

All relationships are built on trust, not material things.

I mentioned it earlier in this blog – our kids need to know we love them unconditionally. Even if they don’t seem to like us right now.

In times when my son only wants Mom (for weeks on end), I try to avoid “If you let Dad/come to Dad, I will give you…”

Instead, I try to remain consistent.

  • I will still be a team player to help out my wife.
  • I will still say goodnight and I love you – even if he refuses a hug.
  • I will keep my tone calm when I talk with my boy (to the best of my abilities).

#5 Take Notes – Learn From Others

The honest truth is that this Dad thing doesn’t come easy.

And it doesn’t always come naturally.

A lot of parenting skills have to be learned and practiced. Again and again.

And again.

Brothers, it’s time to put aside our pride.

  • If mom just does it better – ask her how she does it.
  • Read parenting books (Any titles by Janet Landsbury or Daniel J. Siegel, and The Wonder Weeks Book come to mind)
  • Ask your Dad friends for ideas or support.
  • Keep on at it – your kid needs to know that you will always be there for them.
  • Carry on reading this blog 😉

Thanks for reading.

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