Is your toddler rejecting mother or father? In most cases, a toddler may suddenly start favoring one parent over the other. As a mother, this is nothing to worry about because it’s only temporary. A toddler rejecting a mother isn’t a personal thing so mothers shouldn’t get alarmed when this happens.
However, it’s also understandable if you feel disregarded or betrayed by your child. This is because it’s not easy to carry your baby for nine months and be by their side every minute, only for them to ignore you.
In this post, we will be looking at some of the reasons toddlers reject their mothers and how to navigate through this process. Read on to learn more about the topic.
Why a Toddler Favors One Parent Over the Other
As mentioned earlier, it’s not unusual for children to prefer one parent over the other one. This might only be due to a new job, mothers reporting back to work after maternity leave, or perhaps a change in the parenting role.
During such and more transitions, children have to embrace different personalities which eventually affects who they favour more. That’s because the parents will be shifting roles such as day-care pick up, bedtime, and even breakfast preparation.
Additionally, the birth of a new sibling is also another common reason as to why toddlers may reject their mothers. From my understanding, new-borns need the most attention from their mothers.
Even experts advise that mothers need to always be close to their new-borns because it’s good for bonding. Bonding is highly necessary for mothers and their infants and we aren’t disqualifying it at all.
On the other hand, it means that the infant will have more attention than any other child in the house. This means that the father has to step in and cater to the needs of the other children in the house.
All while the mother takes care of the little one in the family. When this happens, the toddler will most likely develop a stronger bond with the father. As a result, the toddler receiving more attention from his/her father may start getting detached from the mother.
Generally, the stronger the bond or the more time one parent spends on their child will highly determine who the child prefers more.
Toddler Doesn’t Want Mom
For any mother, it’s heart-breaking when your toddler wants nothing to do with you. That’s because you’ve put your body on the line for your child and dedicated years for their needs. But suddenly, you now feel like your toddler is rejecting you.
For moms, the best way to overcome this feeling and make things right again is by first understanding your child. Understanding is the key to many question marks in parenting and it helps a lot in tackling major issues.
So, the first thing you need to do as a parent is to understand why your child may be rejecting you. And while there are a ton of reasons, the following might elaborate more about your concerns.
- Are You a Fun Mother?
As a mother, bonding time also means play time with your toddler. But with so much on your hand, chores can get in the way of that. And while you or any other grow up will understand that without any explanations, your toddler won’t.
From their perspective, you are only avoiding them and want nothing to do with them.
- Are You a Shouter?
Toddlers are the best at poking you until you feel like biting. So, are you a shouter? Well, I’ll leave that for you to ponder. Most toddlers prefer their dads as opposed to their mothers if the latter is a shouter.
Dads are usually cool, calm, and collected individuals, not all of them though. As a result, a toddler may pick the difference and start rejecting you more in favour of their dad.
- Do You Pay Attention?
Most, if not all toddlers don’t like pushovers. They enjoy a challenge and will mostly communicate with you if you agree to their terms. So, being a pushover may easily contribute to a toddler rejecting the mother situation.
If you don’t pay enough attention to your toddler, he/she will respond in either of the two ways:
- Seek attention from you all the time
- Or, withdraw and seek attention elsewhere, which in this case will be the dad
When toddlers reject their mothers, it’s either one of the three reasons explained above. Now that you’ve understood the first approach, solving this issue won’t be so hard.
Toddler Rejecting Mom After New Baby
As mentioned earlier, a new sibling might result in the toddler rejecting the mother situation in most households. New-borns require utmost attention from their mothers in their first six (6) months.
Additionally, this duration may easily increase depending on the child or even the mother. Whichever the case, infants take their mother’s attention right off the womb and they depend on it for years to come.
As a result, mothers end up spending most of their time just being with their new-borns. This is completely okay and it’s also healthy for both the baby and his/her mother. However, other children in the house will most likely miss out on spending as much time with their mother.
When this happens, the toddler or toddlers in the house will start feeling detached from their mothers. And because your child might be too young to digest why it’s happening, they simply assume that you are ignoring them.
As explained earlier, if toddlers can’t get your attention when they require it, they mostly respond in two ways. First, they may try to push it for you to notice and tend to their wants. If that doesn’t work, then your toddler will most likely seek attention elsewhere.
This is where the toddler rejecting mother scenario comes in and it’s mostly hurtful to the mother. Understandably, you have every right and reason to be there for your new-born.
However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to create at least some time for your toddler. This will ensure you cater to your infant’s needs, while maintaining a favourable relationship with your toddler.
My Toddler Wants Nothing to Do With Me
If your toddler wants nothing to do with you, don’t worry because there is a solution to that. At a young age, your child is mostly behaving that way because something triggered them to. So, understanding them first is the best way to approach this issue.
And as explained earlier, I believe that you now understand why your child may be rejecting you. The next step is to know how during the whole process. With that in mind, the following tips can help you if you are the non-preferred parent:
- Employ Understanding
Managing your feelings is the first thing you ought to consider before anything else. Unlike your toddler, your awareness, understanding, and reasoning are at a more developed stage. Therefore, don’t go crying or complaining to your child when they push you away.
Understand the reasons behind them rejecting your attention and see how you can mend that relationship. Otherwise, pouring out your angry or hurtful feelings to your toddler won’t help at all.
- Strengthen Your Bond
If you feel that the relationship between you and your toddler is drifting away, take time to work on rebuilding your connection. Ensure that you at least spend one-on-one time with your child on a daily basis.
- Empathize with Your Toddler
In some cases, your partner might not be around to help your toddler cope with some of their struggles. And while you might be busy with other things, you need to empathize with their concerns.
This way, you’ll not only be helping them but also rebuilding a relationship that was already strained. So, try being there for them if you haven’t been doing that for a while.
- Stay Positive
Unfortunately, some mothers feel as if they are a failure during this toddler rejecting mother situation. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to feel that way because you aren’t a failure at all.
This is only a stage that most mother-child relationships go through in parenting. As a matter of fact, your worth isn’t even defined by your child’s positive reaction. You need to stay positive all through this process, while ensuring all your child’s needs are met.
If you feel overwhelmed by this situation or nothing is changing even after many attempts, then you can seek support from a parent coach.
Toddler Rejecting Father
If this happens, don’t feel less of a parent or unworthy. Like explained multiple times in this piece, children may prefer one parent for many reasons. It might be the amount of time spent together, who pays more attention, or which parent gives in to the toddler’s wishes.
Regardless of the reasons, the non-preferred parent will feel bad and in this case it’s the father. If you are too eager to wait for this stage to pass, there are favourable ways to get back that sense of attachment with your toddler again.
Here are some tips to help:
- Don’t Punish Your Toddler
Under no circumstances should you punish your toddler for how they feel. You need to acknowledge their feelings instead of making them feel guilty for how they already feel. For instance, don’t deny your toddler his/her toy simply because of rejecting dad.
Instead, find a way to bring both issues to the table while showing your toddler that you understand him/her. When you do this, getting through this process will be easier because your child will see that you aren’t invalidating their feelings.
- Don’t Give in to Their Demands
If it’s dad that was supposed to change the toddler’s diapers, then he should proceed with the activity regardless. Even if the toddler prefers the mom to do it, don’t give in to his/her demands because this will only reinforce their parent-preference belief.
We are not saying that you force a diaper change, no, not at all. You can simply explain to your toddler why you won’t be able to do it, and why dad is at a better position to do so. This way, your child won’t feel isolated or his/her thoughts unconsidered.
- Improve Dad Time
Dads need to spend more time with their toddlers to avoid facing rejection in the long run. And even when it happens, the best solution still remains to spend as much time as possible with your child.
When you do this, your toddler will experience your presence and feel the need for it in their life. As a result, the toddler will be more attached to their dad as opposed to being more detached like before.
When Child is Overly Attached to One Parent
Like explained before, there are various reasons that may cause a child to become overly attached to one parent. And some of the common reasons include:
- Birth of new baby
- One parent being a pushover
- Spending more time with one parent
- Toddler getting too much attention from one parent
The list can go on but there are several ways to come out of this process as a winner. First, you can just wait it out and watch as this phase passes. Or, you can try to understand why this is happening, while seeking a better solution.
Toddler Doesn’t Like When Mom and Dad Hug
There may be many reasons for this and every child may exhibit their outcry differently. However, the following are some of the common reasons as to why toddlers don’t like seeing their parents hug.
- They just want attention
- They are jealous with their favorite parent
How to Manage When Toddler Picks One Parent Over the Other
- Enjoy the Benefits
A toddler preferring one parent over the other isn’t entirely a bad thing. In fact, you can use this opportunity to fairly distribute the tasks at home.
- Stay Away (Only Temporarily)
If your toddler doesn’t want your attention, then don’t give it to them but only temporarily. You can do other things that need your hand, while your partner takes care of the child’s needs.
- Create Time with Your Toddler
You need to create one-on-one time with your toddler if you are the one being snubbed. This will ensure that you keep the bond between you two at par even if you are not your toddler’s favorite at the moment.
- Show Some Love
If your toddler doesn’t want anything to do with you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need you. You are still a core part of your toddler’s life and you need to show that with your actions.
So, don’t withdraw from their requirements simply because your toddler doesn’t prefer you at the moment.