It can be a bit of a shock when your toddler suddenly decides that they don’t want you and instead prefer to be with their other parent, or vice versa.
And while it can be a difficult time for the person who the child doesn’t want, it is important they realise that it is not a reflection on their parenting and they shouldn’t take it personally.
1. Why do they do it?
Playing favourites is a sign that your little one’s cognitive and emotional growth is developing and is usually just them asserting their independence.
2. Should you be worried?
You shouldn’t be overly concerned if your little one pulls you to them and pushes Daddy away or vice versa, it is actually a sign that they are close to the person they don't want - they feel secure in the knowledge that they will always be welcomed back.
3. What can you do?
Rather than just sit and wait for it to pass, there are plenty of things that you can do whether you are the parent who is being ostracised or favoured.
If you are being pushed away:
- Sit with them
When you see your little one playing away sit down beside them and ask if you can join in. If they say yes, follow their lead and play as they want to play – a great way to get back on their good side!
- Go out in a group
If your youngster only wants your partner try to enjoy as many family outings as possible. Hopefully this will help you be able to get more involved in their interests.
- Don’t take it to heart
While it is easier said than done, try not to take it to heart – it is not a personal thing.
If you are being favoured:
- Don’t make a joke about it
Being the favoured parent means you can look at the situation a little more casually, but try to understand how the other person is feeling.
- Leave them to it
Give your toddler some alone time with the other parent so they have the opportunity to interact without them running to you.
- Praise your other half
Make sure you have plenty of compliments for your partner; saying things like: “Isn’t Daddy a great cook?” or “Daddy is very special” can help your toddler want them again.