Before my daughter was born, one thing I’d never really considered is the idea that she might have a favourite parent… I assumed she’d just want attention from both of us equally. Boy, how wrong I was…
Well, I say that, but for the first handful of weeks, all she wanted was to be in her mother’s arms. But then, she was hungry all the time and I don’t really have the facilities to accommodate for that need. However, after a few months, my wife had to give up breastfeeding because she couldn’t produce enough milk, so we went over to bottle feeding. Ever since then, when I could feed my daughter as well, she’s been a complete Daddy’s Girl.
In fact, as a baby she would only really fall asleep if she was in my arms or I was holding her hand. Now that she’s almost 3, when I get home from work she seems to almost forget her Mum and just want to play with, hug or kiss me. So, yeah, we are definitely dealing with parent favouritism here. And whilst you may think that makes me feel really happy (it does), I also feel guilt and bad for my wife.
Helping Your Partner Deal With The Favouritism
Because my daughter seems to prefer her Dad’s attention so much, I now feel I need to be extra supportive to my wife. After all, she was the one who went through the “fun” of pregnancy and the birth – all I did was wait around and try to be useful. Yet now, my daughter often shuns my wife, even pushing her out of the way to get to me sometimes.
Whilst my wife tries not show it, I can see that it hurts her a bit every single time.
So I’ve tried my best to help with that by backing away sometimes, hiding in the kitchen so that my daughter will spend time with my wife. On top of that, I’ve tried (and probably failed) to be a more supportive husband as well. I think she needs it.
Giving Them Space
One thing that I’ve been trying to do is let my wife spend more time playing with my daughter. This includes taking her out to the park, or sitting down and tickling her, amongst other things. I think they need more time to bond, and part of me feels I’ve been getting in the way of that.
As soon as I come home from work, all I want to do is smother my daughter with attention, because I haven’t seen her all day. But at the same time, this takes away from bonding time she and my wife have. So I’m trying to find the right balance for both of us at the moment. However, this really isn’t easy, as my daughter instantly wants to play with me instead. So, what I’ve been trying to do is spend some time with my daughter, making the most of it with a lot of play and laughter, then coming upstairs to my office and working on 16-Bit Dad a bit more. This gives my wife some time for bonding as well.
So far, I haven’t really seen much in the way of change, except that at night time my daughter now wants both of us to kiss her goodnight at the same time. But I guess that’s a start, right?
We are going to continue like this, for the time being, to see if my daughter can grow to want our affection in equal amounts, and I really hope it works. I don’t like the fact that my wife feels sad or upset when my daughter shuns her. In fact, I don’t want my daughter to shun her at all (or me, for that matter).
And That’s All Folks
If you have any suggestions on what I/we can do to try and get my daughter to want affection and attention from both of us, I would love to hear it. Honestly, it is not easy to figure out what to do.
Have you had issues like this with your kids? Do you know people in the same situation? Let me know in the comments below!