As a child, whom did you prefer? Was it always “Mummy, do it!” or “My papa is the best.” Well, parenting can be tough! Dealing with infant favoritism can sometimes be heartbreaking. You are always giving your best, yet the vibe projects you as fairly odd parents.
But it is to be remembered that when the subject is a child, they are too young to understand! According to child clinical psychologists, it is common among toddlers to prefer a particular parent. The professionals further explain how there is an inborn instinct in a newborn to form bonds, and they tend not to be as fussy. Then, as they grow and age between 6 and 12 months, these preferences amplify. Thus becoming much more intense than before this time. But as the human mind is always inclined to find out ‘why,’ this article will help you with all the proper reasons to gain a better understanding.
More than anything, remember, your child preferring your partner over you is a temporary thing and will slowly subside with time. Instead, what you can do is try to focus more on your parenting skills and make your toddler realize how much you want the bond.
Why Does It Happen?
Parents of a toddler or a preschooler with strong preferences will understand! Those whose child loves wearing a princess dress and eating macaroni for lunch know how the young one reacts. These little humans have a certain way of dealing with things. They have their world! And that includes wanting a parent more than the other. However, if you look at the brighter side, this denotes how strongly emotional your child is and feels so closely towards a preferred parent.
Favoritism assures that you are already through the right pathway of parenting, and as a result, you have your child maturing beyond their immediate age. Also, at times, favoritism is an output of their teenage! Boys are close to their dads, and girls vibe more with their mothers because the preferences match. Some families undergo divorce as a result of which a child comes close to another parent, offering a safe space for their beliefs and what they want.
Moving on, there is a research-oriented side to such behaviors, which proves how some genes influence parent favoritism by birth. Howard Chang (genome scientist) and his fellow Jin Xu (postdoctoral scholar) came up with the research and published the findings in Nature Genetics. According to them, favored parents might be selected randomly, but the choice made once continues through generations of cells – lasting long. Thus proving that the favorite parent has a much greater influence on the child and his brain circuits. The parent can potentially impact his attitude both in the right way and the wrong.
Essential Tips For The “Non-Preferred” Parent
Thankfully, there are ways to help you survive this difficult stage! And even if you think you are the un-favored or non-preferred one, there will be future days that will change the sight. All you need is to put in some extra effort and make your child feel safe with you all the time.
Respond With Empathy
There will be moments when your child will desire their favored parent, and it is impossible to meet their demand then! The other parent is out, working, ill, etc. While this happens, ensure you respond to their demands for the favored parent with compassion and care. Even if you want to set a boundary, consider your child’s emotions and then come up with a decision.
In your parenting tactics, incorporate words of affirmation! It should not be something that looks forced. Say things like: “I know you wish Mommy could help you prepare your school bag. But now that she is at work, Daddy will help you.”
If you are dealing with a teen child and see her/him getting upset by your regulations, try responding to them with empathy. Hold firm by your decision without criticizing or yelling at them. Also, never blame the favored parent in front of your child. That will come out as you being selfish or jealous of the child’s bond with the co-parent.
Build A Connection
The aim is to find adequate time to spend with your child. If the connection between you and your child has become awkward or strained, make the right efforts to build a connection and reinforce your bond. You can plan play dates with your child or take them for a weekend trip! Also, make sure to join the child for activities that they find enjoyable. Try to understand their part of the story and move along!
Practice Positive Self Talk
It’s easy to start questioning your parenting skills when your child prefers another parent or their caregiver over your presence. But it is always important to remind yourself that this is a stage and that you are the parent your child needs. At times, because of professional and other personal commitments, it gets difficult to manage the right amount of time for your child. But they, as toddlers, fail to understand and instead start creating a bond with the one always available. But that doesn’t make you worth any less as a parent. Remember, as your kid grows up and understands that you are only working hard for them, they will surely feel proud to have you as a parent.
Kids are soft-hearted, innocent souls not accustomed to worldly complexities. It’s easy for them to bond with someone who cares for their needs. So, if you are not on that list, try to find out that space where you are lagging in connection with the child. Healthy parenting is not always about buying clothes and saving money for the child. At times, words of affirmation, spending quality time with your child, and participating in things that he likes to do also work for the best.