A Son Who Doesn’t Love Me, But A Daughter Who Hopefully Will

A Son Who Doesn't Love Me, But A Daughter Who Hopefully Will

I don't think there's enough support for fathers and stay at home dads. Men also don't share their issues and feelings as readily as women for some reason. As a result, I'd like to change this by sharing more fatherhood stories and raising awareness about what many fathers go through in silence. This post is about a son who doesn't love me, but a daughter who hopefully will. My daughter is over 1 now and I feel blessed to have her.

After publishing my post, Nature Will Dictate When Is The Best Time To Go Back To Work, a reader named Mike reached out to empathize with my situation. In the post, I had written about constantly being rebuffed by my then 27-month-old son, despite only wanting to love and play with him.

As a father to a three-year-old son, Mike told me he hasn't been able to connect equally with his son as his wife has. When his son was born, he decided to quit his job indefinitely to take care of him. He was burned out from work after 10 years and thought now was as good a time as ever to take a break.

At about the 16-month-old mark, however, he noticed a change in his son's behavior. No longer did his son latch on to him. His son started developing a stronger preference for his mother, despite she having stopped nursing at the 12-month mark.

As the months went on, his son's ambivalence towards his father grew. At first, his son would want to play with him for two hours before calling for mommy. Then that time period shrank to one hour, then to 30 minutes, and now only to 5-10 minutes.

It didn't matter if he greeted his son with a big smile and a bowl of his favorite yummy foods. He couldn't capture his son's loving attention for longer than 15 minutes. At least 60% of the time, his son would also end up crying while with him to the point where he'd have to go away to prevent a full-blown, head-banging meltdown.

This, in turn, put a strain on his marriage. He started getting jealous of his wife for receiving so much of their son's love. They were also constantly exhausted and never had any alone time.

Mike felt like a tremendous failure because not only did he feel like an ineffective father, he was no longer providing financially for his family.

After 18 months of being a stay at home dad, Mike gave up and decided to go back to work. He didn't want to get rejected everyday anymore. He would much rather face the stresses of work.

A Son Who Doesn't Love His Father

Mike then told me something powerful, “I have a son who doesn't love me, but a daughter who hopefully will. My wife is seven months pregnant and I'm praying things will be better the second time around.

In this moment, I realized, I too, longed for a second child. I wanted to try again, this time, as a wiser father who has learned from his mistakes.

I congratulated Mike on #2. But I could sense his trepidation that his daughter may develop in the exact same way as his son.

It's safe to say that a toddler doesn't know what love is. Their minds are racing at 100 miles per hour, trying to comprehend emotions and all that's happening in the world.

But when you are a father who gets constantly rebuffed over and over again, eventually you might feel that your child does not love you. You cannot help the way you feel. You just do.

As someone who put his career on pause for 18 months to spend every day taking care of his son, Mike wonders whether it was all worth it. After all, kids don't remember much before the age of three.

Undaunted, Mike hopes that he should at least get a precious 18 months of bonding with his daughter before she, too, no longer wants to spend time with daddy.

Percentage of stay at home moms and stay at home dads

Single-Parent Household

What's dangerous about how nature can create this lack of bonding dynamic with the father is that the father may want to spend less time with his children while young. If a child was always sweet and wanted to spend time with his/her father, surely fewer fathers would abandon their families.

Take a look at this chart by KidsCount.org highlighting the percentage of children under age 18 who live with a single parent either in a family or subfamily. It does not discriminate between single moms or single dads.

Single-parent households by race
Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, 2001 Supplementary Survey, 2002 through 2017 American Community Survey.

Roughly 34 percent of all children in America live in a single parent household. The data somewhat makes sense since the national divorce percentage is somewhere around 40 – 50 percent.

Below is research by the Pew Research Center which shows that roughly 21 percent of children under 18 live with a solo mother, up from 12 percent in 1968

What percentage of children live with a solo mom

Below is a further break down of the percentage of children who live with a solo mom by race. Anothet Pew Research Center analysis found that 30% of solo mothers and their families are living in poverty compared with 17% of solo father families and 16% of families headed by a cohabiting couple. In comparison, 8% of married couple families are living below the poverty line.

I never understood how a father could abandon his wife and little one. It made no sense to me why couples would divorce before their kids even entered kindergarten. But I absolutely understand why now!

Kids are exhausting. They create a wedge between parents. Resentment grows when there is perceived or a real imbalance in workloads. And it certainly doesn't help when a hard-working, loving father, can't receive the same amount of love back from his children.

It is only natural to want to spend time with people who want to spend time with you. If a child, for years, rebuffs his father's love, maybe the father might become more distant. Maybe the father might even leave.

By the time the child comes around to realize how great it is to have a father, it may be too late.

Men Are Trying To Be Good Fathers

Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of men who feel the tremendous pressure of being main breadwinners, great husbands, and terrific fathers. It's just not talked about enough.

A dad guilt epidemic is spreading because most fathers are not stay at home dads. As a result, they are constantly struggling with the guilt of working too much and not spending enough time with their children.

There must be some truth to the sayings, “mama's boy” and “daddy's girl.” My hope is that Mike's son and my son will one day realize that having a doting father is awesome.

But until then, we'll keep our heads down and focus on being the best fathers possible. I've slowly seen my son show more affection as he gets closer to three. I'm hopeful his affection will only continue to grow before he wants nothing to do with me as a teenager.

For fathers out there who feel like they aren't connecting with their young children or making a difference in their children's lives, here are some bullet points to consider.

When You Feel You're Not Being A Good Father

  • The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.” No matter how ineffective you feel as a father, your presence, guidance, and love makes all the difference during the early years.
  • It is natural for your child to bond more with mommy in the first three years given the biological connection. A child will gravitate towards the parent who spends the most time, provides the most love, and provides the most food.
  • Sooner or later, if you are a good parent, your child should come around to appreciate your presence. You must hold on long enough until he or she does. Don't give up. Give your child at least seven years to come around.
  • While waiting for your child's affection, keep busy by being a provider in other ways. You can always improve your household's finances and provide for a better living environment. The separation of tasks is important.
  • Ask mommy to encourage your little one to spend more time with you. Not only will she welcome the relief, it may encourage your child to open up more. You'll also feel better that mommy is trying to balance the love scale.
  • Don't look back and regret not having tried your best. Even if your son or daughter turns out to never show the affection you want, at least you'll know there was nothing more you could do. The same goes for having a child who doesn't do well in life. The only way you can avoid letting guilt eat you up is by trying your best at parenthood. If your best isn't good enough, then so be it.

Fathers, do you have a son who latched onto his mother and rebuffed you no matter how hard you tried to connect? If you have a daughter or also have a daughter, did you notice a better relationship with her? Is there a scientific reason why a son mostly just wants to be with his mother after the nursing period is over?

Update 4Q2020: My son is 3 years and 5 months old now and he's still hot and cold. Sometimes he's extremely loving, other times he wants to do his own thing. Now that I have a daughter, I'm putting a lot of hope in her that she will be loving.

Related: Career Or Family? You Only Need To Sacrifice For 2 – 5 Years At Most

About The Author

82 thoughts on “A Son Who Doesn’t Love Me, But A Daughter Who Hopefully Will”

  1. Hello

    My son has just become a dad – in a new glam ma -and he has told me things that sound like what you’re experiencing.
    Firstly, good on you for saying what you feel – women do need to know this – it’s often news to us. I don’t know what it’s like to be a man my sons have let me in on their issues and I am so glad they have. Men don’t understand what is like to be a woman either so these discussions are fantastic.
    Secondly, babies need their mum differently to how they need their dads. If you look at it like that it’s less painful. As your children grow into their personalities who you are is what they will love not what you’re doing for them. When children a little they need concrete things but as they grew they seek out less tangible qualities. You love different things about your parents and you probably get on better with the one for some reason.
    Try and remember this, your actions often won’t solicit the response you want. That’s because the person you act upon doesn’t see the world exactly like you. You might buy your partner flowers because it’s a lovely gesture but if they don’t care for flowers they might not gush when they get them. That’s not personal it’s just their reaction.

    Your children will love you don’t worry about that. I know because unless they have a mental health issue they will know you are always there. The fact that you care so much will be what they love for sure.
    Trust me.

  2. It’s nice to hear that men (thank you Mike) in this generation (born around the 80’s) are aware of their feelings and more importantly desire to share and learn from other men in their community (whether online or local).

    I have 4 kiddos age ranging from 1 – 11 and each kid is completely different from the other and their relationship with me or my wife is also unique. I had/have so much to learn and recently I gathered a nugget while spending time with a few older men who I allow to speak into my life.

    They often reminisce; stories past of life with kids at home, too much work not enough time to give to each one and the very normal complication of married life coupled with their own expectations, yet again cast aside for someone else’s “emergency”. Recently tho, one of those kind gentlemen described how love is so very different to us all and kids are no exception. They way we offer love correlates how we receive love and thus how we receive love is multi factorial, whether family roots from (how your parents received or gave love, their parents, ect) or life circumstances (trauma, negative life events) or just our DNA.

    And so, what I gathered was this: love is subjective to the giver and receiver and identifying the way our kids give and receive love is important on a level equal to discipline or emotional support. So, the quest to find how they love they most effectively receive love is a crucial part of the parenting journey.

  3. I have 3 kids under 7 and they def gravitate towards their mother, but that is nature bc mothers are nurturers. As my oldest learns more, he gravitates toward me. We play sports and do things his mother won’t or doesn’t like……men def lose their priority with the woman though as kids come, instead of being the main focus he is now 3rd or 4th in the depth chart. Men leave bc they feel unloved, unvalued, and as a money tree. Limited sex and burning cash will make any man go crazy. Not to mention working for some lunatic boss to earn a check that is swallowed hole by the dependents. Having kids in America no longer makes sense to me, they are amazing but the cost of raising them plus the power women have w the courts make having kids and marriage a losing proposition.

  4. Now that I have two boys now(3 y/o and 6 month old) I try to be a great dad by feeding, playing talking and just being there for them. I expect when they older especially when they get to high school to detached from me and my wife for a bit just because they are teenagers but also have them be aware that we are always going to be there for them.
    Currently, our 3 y/o is probably attached to both my wife and I about equally(maybe 60/40 in favor of my wife) but he loves being around us. When we discipline him, he simply forgets about it almost instantly and wants to hang with us but I’m sure that will change when gets to grade school and will resent the parent that discipline him.
    I’m pretty sure you’re a great dad so far to your son Sam and doing the best you can. I mean you write posts about your son’s development and his preschool so it shows you really care for him. Just keep doing that and I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for many years, but I believe it’s my first time to comment. I just can’t resist because this post resonates well with me. I have a grown-up son who I love dearly, but hasn’t talked to me in four years; it’s really sad. His mom and I divorced many years ago, but he spent most of his teen and collegiate years with us. My wife and I sent him to college debt-free— we paid 100% of the tuition. Shortly after graduation, he took a job in the city where my ex lives and never heard from him ever since. Last time I heard of him, he was doing very well. I’m very happy for him, but we somewhat feel betrayed. I try not to look back because I honestly tried my best to become a good father to him.

    1. Sorry to hear. What about sending him an email or calling and ask if you can take him out to dinner or something and catch up? Or does he just not respond?

      Surely a son would love to have a relationship with his father…. no?

  6. Our son used to prefer me, his mom until he was 6 years old or so. My husband is an amazing dad and it was hard to see how our kid would sometimes rejected. When I was away on business trip things were different. They got along great and enjoyed their time together. Now that our son is older he likes spending time with the dad more: they go fishing, run errands, work in the yard and etc. It’s so nice to see them finally bonding. It’s possible that in the few years the attachment will shift and I’ll be seeking attention I’ve been enjoying for years. :)

    1. Great to hear! I’m hopeful the same shift will happen with my son. But I also don’t want my wife to feel the rejection that I felt at times since she’s invested everything in our boy.

      It is great you see joy in their relationship!

  7. When my wife gave birth to our twin boys I was constantly on the road and I was home only three nights in a week. After one year I started my own business and ever since I have been at home every night. I did notice our sons were closer to my wife at the time when I was constantly absent but that is normal. After I stayed at home more, one of our sons started being really close to me and I don’t think there was a particular reason for that. The other one was really close to his mom, and we kind of got used to it and even made jokes about it.

    They are 7 years old now and that is still going on. One of them really likes me and the other one really likes his mom. They are not identical twins and one has my looks and acts 100% like me and the other one has my wifes looks and my wife’s character.

    Funny thing is that the one that looks and acts like my wife prefers me over her, and the other one prefers her. Isn’t that interesting?

    Two years ago we got a third son and he likes both of us equally. To anyone out there that thinks their children “don’t like them”: I really would not understand it like that. It’s just a preference and a matter of comfortability. I wouldn’t worry much about it because kids tend to change a lot over time and while they might not want to play with you, they will eventually show their love fo you in one or another way.

  8. Some food for thought, whether you agree or disagree. Best of luck Sam!

    We have a 5 year old son and a 1.5 year old daughter. Sometimes, they prefer my wife, and sometimes they prefer me. We just roll with it and provide the best love, care and warmth that we can. It’s nothing something I personally stress much about. I try to be fit in the four F’s….Family, Fitness, Finance and Faith.



  9. I have a son and a daughter. My son is the sweetest little guy to everyone but not liking his dad too much. My daughter is definitely a daddy’s girl. Kids changes and go through different stages.

    I am planning to resign next year to dedicate fully to my daughter’s education and well being as she is now 6. For many families, the decision of who to stay home is base on income. As my husband makes more than I do it does not make sense for him to stay home. (a side note is us paying more than 200K in taxes and hit with AMT which didn’t seem to make sense for me to work, as my whole income had contributed to taxes, while no one really looks after the kids)

    My daughter definitely prefer her dad. I am stricter and not playing with her as much as I also work full time and a lot of my weekend time dedicate to house chores. But I am looking forward to spending time with her and give her the gift of my time. All parents can do is to give unconditional love and try to provide the best for the children no matter what happens

    1. Off-topic, but how does your “whole income contribute to taxes” and just curious on your thoughts on timing working/not-working vs. income/taxes.

      My wife’s income of $10k per year is taxed at the highest rates across the board, so we have this discussion all the time. At this point she is working part-time because she enjoys the work, talking with her adult patients and the short “break” from the kids.

      Not sure if you have the chance for part-time or not, but you may want to consider, if possible. For her, it’s not about the money, but the mental reward.

  10. I feel for this dad, even thou I’m a mom I’m in the exact same situation. My 2.5 year old son has a strong preference for my husband over me. Play time, bath time, holding him, making him a bottle, reading a book … if dad is around he wants him to do all of it. When he was born we both took our parental leave, I breastfed him for 9 months, we both work full-time and he was with nanny since 6 months old. I have no idea why things are the way they are, it’s very hard, but it happens to moms too, it’s not exclusively a dad problem.

    1. Sorry to hear that. It must be very difficult for you. Some of the advice in the comments section are great. Please have a look. I think things will get better!

      Best of luck.

  11. Meh. Kids are all different, it’s neither nature nor nurture but both, and in varying degrees.

    My first daughter was a daddy’s girl who, as an infant, would not tolerate being set down, demanded bedtime stories right up through The Lord of the Rings (when she was old enough to actually understand it), and wanted to play anything, dolls, toys, cars, trains, board games, multiplayer computer games, and so on.

    Daughter number two didn’t like to be held by anyone (other than her older sister), had no use for being read to and just wanted to go to sleep at bedtime, and would only play a limited period of time with adults before telling them things like: “it’s okay for you to go now, daddy.”

    Yet they’ve both turned out to be confident capable young women and everything a father could hope for.

  12. My son is 9 months old and his smile lights up when he sees me and he follows me out of rooms. It’s great.

    I am not looking g forward to a time he is ambivalent toward me.

    I’ll keep this article in mind to stay present during those time.

    He is always watching.

  13. I wonder if it’s just the personality. Some people are just naturally better than others with kids.
    My son was attached to me much more than my wife when he was young. Maybe part of it is because she couldn’t nurse him. He was on formula very early on. Anyway, I connected with my son right away and he preferred me for a long time. I’ve always been better with kids and animals. My wife is good with adults and seniors. We just connect better with different types of people.

    Now that our son is a bit older, I’m stricter and tougher on him than his mom. So he prefers his mom more these days. I’m perfectly happy with that.

    Anyway, just keep trying to be a good dad. The kids will figure it out at some point. I’m sure your son loves you very much. Maybe he just doesn’t know how to show it yet. Keep at it.

    1. Wouldn’t it make sense your son has latched on to you more because you were the stay at home dad while your wife worked?

      Nursing is probably makes a difference.

      It’s great you have a great relationship with your son.

  14. First 2 years the kids preferred me (mom) though we were both around a lot. After that it kinda changes by age/activity. I’m good for talking and my husband good for action. I also tend to be the nurturer and he really pushes them to do their best. But they gain from both of these dynamics. We try to focus on providing the love, the rules, the opportunities to grow, and not get too tied up in their constantly changing likes and dislikes.

    1. That’s good to hear. The issue with men who stay at home is that there is this tremendous conflict between being a child care provider and earning money. So if the man decides to stop earning money and become a childcare provider, yet is rebuffed by his children, then that feels terrible.

      Is your husband a stay at home dad?

      1. No but he works from home. I have limited energy for carting kids/homework etc but do well w quality time. My husband grew up in S. America and has great memories of his father spending lots of time w him so he does the same. He pushes them a lot and I see them thrive. Whereas I’m more laid back. Different strokes.

  15. Sam, would you be open to the possibility that Baby Samurai is manipulating both you and Mrs. Samurai? You have something in your spousal relationship that Baby Samurai can never have. Baby Samurai is testing boundaries, and competing with you.

    You have all the power and control in the household; money, transportation, bedtime, menu, what to watch and what to play, pre-school, etc. Think about your own relationship with your father, and the chafing you feel at his comments and judgment (i.e. “maybe you aren’t good enough” or “the logo looks amateurish”). You will always be his son, and he wants better for you even if he uses reverse-psychology or is blunt.

    Sam, you have family that loves you, right in your home and the home you were born into. You mean a lot to your friends, and readers. We are on your side, and confident this frustrating time will pass for you. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your son is quite lucky to have you and Mrs. Samurai as parents.

    1. Very possible and good perspective. He is definitely old enough and smart enough for manipulation now.

      Will keep this in mind. I’m pretty much a softy, which is why I probably should develop a balance of sternness too.

  16. I am the dad of a 3 years old girl and a clinical psychologist.

    Every baby is different of course but what really matters a lot in their development is what a parent believes. If you think your baby is smarter than average he/she will become more intelligent and if you think he she is slow you can imagine the consequences.

    I suggest to stop focusing on the baby and trying to rationalise about his/her behaviour and to start doing something to stop feeling rejected. I can assure you that as soon as you change the way you feel you will start noticing changes in your relationship with your baby.

    I know that it may not be an easy thing to do, but the secret to make the relationship work is to focus on yourself and changing the way you approach your baby.

    It doesn’t make a lot of difference why your baby is “rejecting you”, but what really matters is to understand that if you keep believing that your son rejects you that is exactly what you’ll get and things will get worse as he/she grows up……

    I’ve been there and I had lo learn the hard way that in order to improve the relationship with your baby YOU are the one that has to change. The bright side is that even though it is not an easy thing to do, it can be done and you can have full control about it.

    1. Good perspective! I believe it. Although, I’m assuming that many parents think their kids are smarter, better looking, etc than they really are. Dunning-Krueger in effect.

      Any specific tips on how to stop feeling rejected and how to change our mindsets?


      1. You already changed your mindset when you left corporate america and became a successful full time blogger. So the good news is that you did it already and you can do it again.

        I would start by speaking openly and express how you feel with the mum and ask her to help you out. If this is not enough or it can’t be done or it doesn’t work, I would think about doing a few counselling sessions. Best to find a counsellor thorough the suggestion of someone in your network that you respect and trust a lot.

        Believe me, the fact that you are so open in speaking about it means that you already halfway toward the solution!

  17. Sam,

    As a child I distinctly remember missing my mother and thinking of her on my first day of kindergarten. I don’t think it’s unusual for children to gain an extremely strong bond to their mother.

    That being said, now as an adult, my mom is still the saint I always knew and loved – but I can now say that my father is one of my best friends. You’re trading love in infantcy for a relationship with your son as an adult. It will be worth it, although it will probably be another 18 years before that relationship blossoms.

  18. I haven’t gone through all the comments, so this may have already have been brought up, but it’s actually very developmentally appropriate for children to go through a time where they have a preference of one parent over another and be extremely attached to that one parent. This will likely happen with the second child as well, however it depends on the child on how long the phase lasts. This can be difficult for the parent who is not the “preferred parent”. Maybe knowing that this is part of development can be helpful? However, if that parent constantly feels rebuffed, they could start to develop “blocked care”. Blocked care literally changes your brain and can make you feel resentful and have less empathy towards your child. Your own childhood can also have an impact towards your chances of developing blocked care (I’m a newer reader and don’t know anything about your past, just throwing that out there). I would really encourage you and your reader to google Blocked Care (and blocked trust that can start in the child) and see if it is something that seems to fits your situation.

    ~ from an Internet stranger, but also a licensed clinical social worker

  19. I think that there will always be a stronger bond between a child and his or her mother because of the typical bonding (especially if breast feeding) that the father just does not have the opportunity to do so.

    Paternity leave, if even an option, is typically far shorter than maternity leave.

    I will tell you firsthand experience because of a divorce that there is an incredible bias against the father as well when determining custody arrangements.

    Typically the dad gets the standard “daddy visitation” schedule where the child spends the entire school week with the mom and the father gets every other weekend.

    For the court to flip the visitation rules the mother usually has to be almost unfit in the eyes of the court and even that is debatable. I’ve seen stories where the mother was given primary time with the child and was a drug addict etc.

    I certainly felt discriminated against by the court because of my gender. Even opposing counsel was trying to place the race card citing studies that said Indian fathers in India are abusive of their female daughters. It made my blood boil when I heard that argument in court.

    Despite trying to convince the court that my wife had mental issues it fell on deaf ears. Only 6 years later when my ex continued to deteriorate did intervention occur and my daughter was then given back to me.

  20. Kids are interested in different things at different times in their life. Just because a young child has a preference to a certain parent doesn’t mean they don’t love you… especially at a young age. There’s not a whole lot of reasoning or judgement there they just act out emotions at the time.

    Best Advice I’d give is play different games with your children than your spouse does. Don’t “compete” at the same stuff and let your kids decide the games/fun as well.

  21. Apologies, for maybe I missed the point of this post, but this write up sounds like a Dear Abby or dating advice column.

    I have 3 kids and each one is different and has expressed themselves in changing ways as they grow. I’m not sure which one loves me more nor do I care. I do my best to be a good parent so they can launch successfully into the world.

    Please re-visit this post in 10 years when Mike’s kids grow up and he has to deal with more pressing problems than figuring out why his toddler just isn’t that into him.

  22. My experience with two children —— a daughter then a son —— is that they bond with the primary caregiver most when they are small. For our daughter, that was me because I stayed home with her. For our son, that was his dad. However, as they grow older, children will discern who is the most understanding. They want a parent who listens to them and respects their thoughts, wishes, and opinions. My son switched favorites later, when he realized that I was more understanding of his needs. I read a lot of parenting books in order to achieve that bond with him. I encouraged his dad to do the same but he never bothered. Also, I do think toddlers are a little like cats; they want to be the one who approaches you. They shy away from too much neediness or attention. With his wife gone or keeping busy with something else and therefore unavailable, Mike could ignore his son and be absorbed playing with some blocks or another favorite toy or game. Let son watch Mike play by himself for a while without noticing him at all. If Mike is patient and really absorbed in his play, eventually his son will become curious and approach him. It is key to let the child be in charge of the interaction, including the length of it. Before I had kids, it amazed me how all my friends would be fussing and cooing over someone’s toddler, and the toddler would ignore them and single me out to interact with because I was the shy one who did not approach. “Rebuffed you no matter how hard you tried to connect” was the clue that these fathers may be taking the wrong approach, because you cannot try too hard to interact with a cat or a toddler. Be patient, be present, and wait for them to be ready. Thank you for all your insightful articles.

  23. I think my kids always preferred me when they were little. But I was also a SAHM. I do recall my son saying he wanted to marry me when he was 3 yrs old. Apparently that is not unusual. Perhaps that is what this little boy is going through. That son of mine went on to be very independent and successful. Never a momma boy. My husband connected with our kids through sports. That is not something I am good at. But they all played competitive sports from 5yr and even into college. That is something they share. I was more or less the tag along/cheerleader in a passive sense compared to him. Now in their 20s, the relationships have shifted more as they have other friends, finances, etc and are independent. This dad should not feel less loved. I hope he is the prince charming to a little girl so she knows what her future husband should be like (something I wish my husband was besides focusing on sports).

  24. Children are humans and humans (like most animals) connect uniquely with every individual they meet (moms and dads included), and that connection strengthens and weakens to varying degrees over time. It’s just the way it goes.

    And I absolutely disagree with “you cannot help the way you feel.” We are not helpless creatures, but rather the contrary; and to believe we are bound by the first, likely irrational, emotional response to the incoherent and quite-nonsensical opinions of a 3-year-old is crazy talk.

    My advice? Stop, put it into context and remember you are talking to an irrational 3-year-old. Time is a wonderful thing and your relationship will likely be completely different a year from now.

      1. Logic, rationalization, context and time. And unless there is mental illness or abusive conditioning involved, logic and reasoning will prevail over thoughts and feelings (assuming we are talking about mature adults).

        My boy yesterday felt it wasn’t fair that the Cancer kids at CHOC were getting free presents from the Police and he wasn’t. Did I feel that way? Of course not, why? Logic, Reasoning and an understanding of the context of the situation. I felt happy, he felt sad and slighted. That doesn’t just happen. We learn or don’t learn how to feel.

        His context? Kids getting presents and not himself. No understanding whatsoever of the literally dire situation the poor children are in. His logic and reasoning? If they get presents, I should get presents. I could have felt the same way, but I have learned not to, just as he did yesterday.

        Guess what we spend the next 10 minutes doing? Not feeling sad, but rather discussing the situation, why kids are at CHOC, what Cancer is, whether or not Santa visits hospitals, where the chimney is at the Hospital, etc. We ended the conversation with him asking how we could buy some kids some toys too. So I think he understood to some degree. Not sure I have to worry about him feeling slighted or sad that he didn’t get his share anymore.

        1. Well articulated. My wife and I frequently have this conversation. Her point being “you can’t help the way you feel.” To which I usually respond, “yes, initially.”

          Due to genetics and upbringing, we’re all wired certain ways. That said, after our initial “hard-wired” reaction, we can all put things into proper context with time. Not easy, but we can all do it.

  25. I have a baby daughter whose very attached to me but she’s slowly warming up to her dad. Sometimes when she throws a tantrum and she can sense that I’m not happy about it, she would push me away and look for her dad. It’s very strange that such a small baby can have such a large personality! I’m not sure if she’ll be a daddy’s girl later, but I sure was one myself! :)

    1. I’ve talked to so many parents about personality, and they have all said the personality their babies displayed stick with them through their entire lives!

      I might be in trouble, because my boy is so determined and headstrong. For example, he would flail his arms and legs like he was galloping his his baby chair starting around 6 months!

      I wonder how your husband feels? Can you ask him for me? thanks

  26. Truth Revealer

    The best strategy to avoid these painful feels is to be a less involved or absentee father.

    Look at the tough love responses in the comments from:

    The Engineer

    All males and all not stay at home fathers. The key is go to go to work all day so that you feel that any love you do get is a BONUS bc you haven’t been around much.

    The more you invest in your children, the more they will hurt you.

    1. I’ve definitely noticed much more tough love from male readers versus female readers. You’re probably right and that they were working fathers as well given most fathers are or were.

      I’m going to be looking for work next year as not being around and as invested as much in my son’s life has the upsides you speak of. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder right? Might as well make some money while away, like most dads.


    2. Being absent or aloof is a clear way to give your kids long-lasting trauma. Why would a normal parent want to do this? Why does it matter that the kid loves you more or your wife? Is it a contest? Are we awarded prizes at the end of the year? Momma of the year? Daddy of the century?

      Yes, in some cases kids bond more with their mothers. In other cases they bond more with their fathers.

      Your DUTY as a parent is to LOVE your child unconditionally. Yeah, even when he refuses to connect. Why does the kid do this? What happens usually when he refuses to play?

      Are you getting aggravated? Are you offering him the feeling that his feelings are understood and respected?

      People have the RIGHT to like some people more than they like others. That’s why, even if we date with more people over the life, we marry one (or few). That’s why, even if we have a lot of aquaintances, we befriend few select people.

      In our household my daughter is more attached to me. I am the work-from-home mother, it’s true, but I’m also the most caring one and the ‘not so angry’ parent, although I do get aggravated sometimes myself.

      My husband sometimes feels left out, but, you know what? He is getting rejected when he starts getting angry. She’ll remember this for 2-3 days and avoid him, even if it wasn’t something serious.

      Otherwise, although she does want to spend time with me, she will look for his companionship. And, as long as he’s not getting aggravated for god knows what reason, they’ll spend a great time together.

      The rejection comes, most of the time, because she is scared.

      He is not aggressive towards her, she’s not being spanked, but he’ll raise his voice occasionally or get annoyed by small things.

      I do the same, of course, but my patience threshold is a little higher and I don’t get on her case for every little detail.

      I encourage them to spend time together (as I do have some work to do on my websites as well :)) and praise them for the great time they are having. And it’s working, they do bond, they do have their favorite activities and they do cuddle and have fun.

      What would I do in this case (and we do already):

      1. Don’t get angry if you are being rejected. We noticed that, when my husband keeps his cool after a rejection (say he wanted to play something and she refuses), she will come around after few minutes. Instead of being nasty or showing he’s hurt, he’ll simply say ‘it’s OK, we can play later, no problem’ and it takes sometimes few seconds for her to come to him to play. Kids don’t hurt us on purpose, so let’s not get angry for a simple refusal.

      2. Don’t keep track of whom the kid loves more. It’s normal for them to love one parent more (mother or father), this doesn’t mean they don’t love the other. They need BOTH parents, they need love and support. Yes, even if your feelings are hurt. We’re adults, I presume we can handle some rejection :)

      3. As the favorite parent, encourage the other parent to spend time and keep from showing any jealousy, if any. In some cases, if you are used to be parent ‘no.1’, you might not be too thrilled to see kiddo hugging and cuddling with the other. But it’s normal and should be encouraged.

      4. Don’t expect this to last for ever. Or change for that matter. I know families where the father was no.1 for 13 years. Instead of throwing a hissy fit, the mother got her stuff together and started being a true mother (not just yelling all day long for god knows what reasons and being jealous on her husband). Her daughter made a 180 degree turn and connects better with mom, while leaving dad on spot no.2. Not that it matters or you should want it to happen. Either way, if you become no.1 or stay ‘no.2’, it’s irrelevant as long as your kid develops well emotionally and FEELS LOVED by both of you.

      5. Remember you are a family. When husband tells me he dreams that daughter will love him more than she loves me (yes, he sometimes gets bothered by this as well), I reply that I hope she’ll feel that we both love her a lot. For me it doesn’t matter if she ‘chooses’ me or him, it’s important to show her every minute that she’s my no.1, no matter what. If she’ll change her feelings and get husband as her preferred parent, it’s fine by me. It’s normal for her to show an affinity, it’s normal to change her mind. I will never change MY mind about her and will love her with every breath that I have.

      I know it’s indeed frustrating, but, even as a preferred parent, I tell you there are rejections. And annoyances. And tears. It’s a relationship with a little person who cannot grasp his /her emotions. They cannot control their feelings, they cannot even express them properly.

      We need to stay calm, show them unending love and support, help them become stronger and happy. That’s all that matters, to raise emotionally stable kids, who know they are loved without exceptions or conditions.

      1. You might feel differently if you were the less preferred parent. Maybe you’ll feel very heartbroken. Just saying.

        1. I know it’s unpleasant, Julie, you are indeed right about this. We do hurt, when our love is not met with the same love back. Weird thing is that our kids DO LOVE US both, they are ‘wired’ to do so by nature.

          When we left for our ‘yearly’ trip to Italy, husband would remain at home and I’d go with daughter. We’d be away for 3-4 weeks. Although my daughter has me as the preferred parent, she did miss her father A LOT and craved his attention, as soon as we could connect via Skype.

          Our past experiences play another important role as well.

          I grew up for 4 years in an orphanage, until my father won the custody, as my natural mother abandoned me at birth. I then grew as a single child in their household, being cared for my father and his parents.

          My grandmother, God rest her soul, was my mother all these years and she was an exceptionally caring one.

          Husband on the other hand has an older sister (9 years older) and he is the type of person for whom being no.1 or no.2 in the family preference meant something. Since they were 2 kids at home, I do assume there was some jealousy, as in most families with more than one kid.

          As I said before, I really don’t care if daughter likes me more or my husband. It’s normal for them to have a preference, just as we have. Our of all these commenters here, is anyone who loves BOTH their parents the same? That would be ideal, but I am afraid it’s not possible in all cases.

          I cared more about my grandmother than my grandfather. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love him or he didn’t have a place in my daily activities, but I had a bigger affinity towards my grandma. If I couldn’t love my family exactly the same, why would I expect my kid to be different?

          Of course, the difference between us and our kids is that we can hide some of these feelings and act otherwise, while they are too crude right now to fake anything.

          What I did learn after 6 years of parenthood, my past experiences and the psychology books I tried to read all these years, is that, when kids feel loved no matter what, they thrive.

          They do need both parents, as my daughter craves her father presence, even after spending all day with me.

          He’s making a conscious effort to be less annoyed, with rejections and the results are great. She does go to him, wants to play together, ‘ignores’ me to spend time with him. Even now, as I type this article long reply, they are doing something in the room, probably preparing to scare me or any childish stuff they can come with :D

          Just hang in there. LOVE YOUR CHILD as much as you can and don’t take it personally. They don’t want to hurt you, they just find their ways around feelings and it’s important for us to stick with them and explain what’s happening. teaching them that some things hurt, showing them how to react, showing them we love them no matter what etc.

          As another commenter noticed, these first years of their lives will shape who they become. I’d rather have a kid who is not afraid to make choices in life, who is able to distinguish between feelings, be empathic and HAPPY.

      2. Good points to love unconditionally. I just don’t think we can help the way we feel.

        You’re fortunate to get the love that you want and deserve.

        I’m sharing the perspective from those who don’t and how difficult it is to sometimes manage.

    3. It is interesting that you assume tough love comments are from uninvolved or absentee fathers.

      You imply that if you are involved and not absent we would all feel like the gentleman in the OP, I’d argue that’s probably not true.

      “The more you invest in your children the more they will hurt you” very sad.

      Ramona has some great input from a female perspective.

      My situation is actually a bit different than most, I feel like I offer something unique to the situation. I work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks 100% off. So while I am gone 1/2 the time, I am home 1/2 the time 100% of the time. Part time stay at home dad in my mind.

  27. I don’t find it surprising at all that your son prefers his mom, you do not come across as a particularly nurturing kind of person. You come across as a tough survivor and a gritty winner in your posts. A dispenser of truth and tough love. That’s something that should appeal to him more when he is older, not so much now. Don’t get me wrong. I think you are an awesome parent. But it’s hard for a dad to compete with mom at that age.

    1. Although my mother says I am very loving and I’m doing a good job, you might be right that I am not loving and tender enough. So this is something that I’ll work on in the new year and forever. Thanks for the feedback

      1. Hi Sam,

        I have felt your pain as the mother! We had a very sensitive infant who cried all the time. It spiraled and we would all become anxious, impatient, frustrated, etc. I think I became more offended and impatient by the fact that I couldn’t soothe her in the way she needed (babies/toddlers are puzzles!). Without getting into the details, I realized my reactions of frustration made her feel unsafe. As a result of this, she preferred her Dad, who wasn’t always perfectly patient either, but she was more upset when I would be upset and I also had difficulty controlling my reactions to my emotions. You are correct in saying that we can’t control our emotions or the way we feel, but I am learning, we can control what we do, even inside our head, with those emotions.

        I try to remember these are normal developmental milestones my two little ones are experiencing, and parental preference is common (my reactions were NOT helping her want to be close to me–not to say that is the same issue with you and your child, but it was my experience). I also try to stop the negative and false associations I have a history of making with their reactions. Sometimes I would think because she missed her daddy while he was traveling for work, she didn’t like me and become offended and hurt by it, instead of offering her better support and comfort. She still loved me, just missed her daddy!

        This is just one example of how, in my psyche, I would irrationally and very emotionally believe untruths about what she was experiencing. As I began to read about emotional intelligence, different psychological ways to reset my thought patterns (The Joy of Parenting by Coyne and Murrel, Peaceful Parent Happy Child by Dr. Markham, How to talk so little kids will listen and listen so little kids will talk were all helpful to help me see what was happening from the child’s eyes and developmentally (Peaceful Parent) and how my response effects their brain and interpretation of the world for a lifetime).

        I also realized my fears were keeping me from being the kind of parent I wanted to be for my little one who preferred her daddy. I was wrought with jealousy. But, I also realized, I had been responding with a lack of emotional intelligence and lack of regulation. When I started working on this, our relationship improved and now, she asks for me sometimes at bedtime! I don’t know if this is anywhere close to your situation, but I thought I would share some encouragement in that my child loves me, probably still prefers her daddy, but that’s good for him (and her!).

        But, I am so ashamed of how my fears and lack of emotional regulation made me so terrible to her. I have had to work hard to repair our relationship and control my thoughts. I try to remind myself and my husband when he’s growing frustrated, if we cannot control our responses and regulate, how will we ever teach these little ones to?

        Anyway, this is a long comment to offer hope, whatever the cause is (it may just be a natural preference for the one who carried him or fed him as an infant most often). It sucks and hurts, but it is likely temporary. He needs your presence, tenderness, gracious responses. He needs your constant, persistent love and patience as you wait for this phase to pass. It sounds as if you’re a great dad. Continue to remember what type of father you want to be, and be that, no matter how he’s feeling. He’ll come around.

        We aren’t perfect, but our kids will know love and we will grow beyond what we could have ever imagined being their shepherds and coaches. Hang in there! With each hard phase usually comes a pleasant one after. (Though, mine are 3 and 5, so limited experience! :) Love your blog and thank you for your transparency! We need more real-ness in this day and age!

        1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I have to imagine it hurts even more as a mother, because after all, you were the one who carried her in your womb for 9 months and went through all the unpleasantries.

          It’s great that you are cognizant of the issues and that you’re taking steps to try and improve yourself and your relationship with your family.

          That’s what counts the most! Nobody is perfect.

    2. I think Sam is talking to two different audiences…his son and his readers. I think he sounds like a great dad (though a bit over concerned about his son’s future). I do agree that some dads can have tough love cause my husband is that way and sometimes unapproachable to the kids at times. I was definitely more nurturing type.

  28. Hello everybody, I’m Sander from Europe,

    since a couple of weeks i follow financial samurai and this is my first post at this good article.

    When reading it, i was smiling because a lot of things are similar in my situation. Both 20h working weekly and focus on our daughter and family life and enjoying it (and important also enjoying doing things together without our daughter to maintain a happy marriage, kinds feel the love)

    Every situation is unique but my experience with my 4,5 year daughter is that she’ still is a very mom’s girl. My wife took much more time taking care off her but last 6 months she wants to play and be a little bit more with me.
    I think patience is a very important virtue.. it will come and meantime just trying do your best.. “Que fluya” says mi Spanish wife ever time (“like let is flow..”) after 4 years i have to admit that she is right :-)

    like much pediatric studies say from 0-5 years is crucial for a kind. Just think that a child’ brain is like a Hard disk records everything. Like i said, kids feel the love, focus on that.

    Don’t regret it as a stay at home dad. Just regret the things that you wanted do to but not did..

    See you soon.


  29. I forgot to add that I have realized that my kids switch “favorite parents” all the time.

    It’s Amit about how I interpret it and how I react. I know my job as a parent is to provide a safe living environment. If those basic things are met, I let it go. Toddlers can be very very mean if one basic need is not met (attention, food and rest).

    It’s similar to any responsibility for kids. My husband and I both responsible for creating a conducive work environment (emotions aside). Kids have are well fed, they have desk and school supplies, they have a planner where we lay out what needs to be done and broken out by day, and a specific time they need get it done. But man oh man with all above being constant, there can be a lot of favoritism for one parent and it’s hard. But over the years, it’s usually about how the parent handles and keep learning on ways to improve to bring love in the equation. Soon kids catch on.

  30. Parenting and working is damn hard!!! Thank you fur this post. I am a mom of2 kiddos. I can see the dads side. My husband went through something similar where the kids only wanted me.

    It get better by age 7 as both parents find their footing and child has more critical thinking skills.

    I have dedicated a website called Zenful Working Mom where I pen down all my struggles and learnings in order to bring up kids with love and inner calm during difficult times. This can relate to both parents.

    Once again thank for the post!!


  31. I love the idea of being able to read more about issues facing fathers and what we deal with, I look forward to reading these types of posts. Thank you for bringing this conversation to the FS community. Since I have become one, I have found myself looking more and more at what it means to be a good father, husband, and man.

    It is very interesting to me that you chose to write about this father who chooses to see himself as a victim of fatherhood. I understand how he feels and where he is coming from, but who is he to have any expectation of what he should be receiving from a toddler, and be upset when his needs are not met? It is not about him. I demand to hear the toddler’s side in all of this!! (little funny) but really there has to be more to the situation, maybe there isn’t, we will probably never know. Being jealous of your spouse due affection she receives from the children being greater that what you receive is very sad, among other things, and may point to the issues he has with himself more than the issues he has with his and his son’s relationship. Maybe his guilt of staying home is clouding his ability to see his child’s true affection for him, maybe the problems begin with him and not the child. I hope he figures it all out.

    When I decided to have children, I did not put conditions on whether or not I would be happy with my choice or whether I would give it my all or not based on if I was getting out of it what I wanted. As men, and fathers it is our duty to protect and provide regardless of the cost to ourselves. It is a sacrifice, it is a burden, but we are not victims.

    More and more when things aren’t going well for me as a father or a husband, I look at what role I have been playing in getting myself to that non desired point. If I feel unloved or underappreciated, I look at what I may have done to get myself there. Again, how can we have any expectations of how my young children will look to us or treat us, and be upset with them if those expectations aren’t met? It is not their fault.

    I laughed a little when I read “give your child at least seven years to come around”, well what happens after that? You give up? You walk? You back off the effort you’re putting in because you feel you’re not getting the desired or expected return? How selfish.

    1. Yes. After 7 years, if you’ve given it your all, you’re free to go. J/K, not quite.

      Why else do so many parents divorce when their children are kids, knowing that two harmonious parents are better than one?

      1. I understand the point of the 7 year comment, give it time. I would agree with that, patience.

        A really close childhood friend of mind got married recently, and my best man just got engaged. One of them doesn’t know if they will have children, the other thinks they want to. I told them both that whatever issues they think they may have with their spouses now, no matter how small, will most likely be magnified many times once there are kids in the picture.

        I do not know why so many decide to go it alone and break up the family. I wonder how many had a slight feeling they should not have gotten married in the first place. Failed communication, unmet expectations due to the later. Is it because of selfishness?

  32. Parenting is such a giant and emotional responsibility! I definitely had no idea how much it involves until I became a parent myself.

    There are definitely highs that lift us up and are so incredibly priceless and also many lows that truly test our will, patience and ability to handle our own emotions and mental health on a daily basis.

    People who don’t have kids or who are/were not very involved in raising their children really have no clue what it’s like.

    Thanks for sharing this personal story. There sure are lots of challenges in life and in our personal finance journeys. Juggling kids, work, finances and mental health is a challenge many of us share and we can all learn from.

    I think things will turn out ok for Mike but I totally empathize that’s easier said than done sometimes. Especially with toddlers. They are cute but boy they are not very rational or adept at handling their own emotions.

  33. First of all, thank you for being a father who cares about his relationships with his kids and a husband who cares about his relationship with his wife; and thank you for the courage to open this conversation.

    Parenting is the hardest, most deeply challenging of all human experiences. We are, as a species, vastly ignorant about simply relating to other human beings, and all our shortcomings are in our face as we struggle within ourselves to grow loving relationships with our kids.

    My sons are now 18 and 21, and we have extraordinarily strong relationships. My path through the years has been the one less travelled: I always sought in myself to see my failings, wounds and shortcomings, and worked relentlessly to heal and mature. I grew up alongside, just ahead of my sons (and sometimes it seemed they were ahead of me). I still work hard at this as they launch into the world.

    Their father chose not to examine his own contributions to their relationships, choosing instead to blame the boys for not being comfortable around him. Our sons love their father very, very much, but struggle to this day to *relate* to him. It is excruciatingly painful all around.

    My guiding principle through the years, when disharmony inevitably arises, is “get back to Love.” Whatever truth needs to be spoken, whatever shortcoming I have to face in myself, or encourage them to face in themselves, we assertively struggle through to get back to love – and ease and comfort – with one another. We clear the air as quickly as possible, all the way down. This has given them exceptional emotional skills that are serving them well.

    And when they were your son’s age, I learned it was often more effective and fruitful for me to put myself in a time-out — to take a moment to calm myself and regain perspective — than it was to send them.

    It’s been a bumpy, often painful journey. I made my full share of mistakes, and don’t want to make it sound otherwise. But as my sons saw me working so hard to correct those mistakes, to master parenting, they grew great respect for me.

    And lastly, a very important note: One of the most healing things I’ve ever experienced is — my sons’ ability to forgive. They have taught me so much about the power of forgiveness.

    I hope this helps.

    1. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! And congrats for raising your kids to be adults!

      “Our sons love their father very, very much, but struggle to this day to *relate* to him. It is excruciatingly painful all around.”

      I hope my son will be able to relate to me. Hopefully my writings and podcast will help as well.

  34. All kids hate their parents at 13 anyway. My son is 2 and we get along great because I take him outside without mommy and I rough house with him.

    Mommy is more of the disciplinarian…I would say its 60/40 daddy…

  35. Could it perhaps be more about the son not getting what he needs from his mother?

    To the point where the son feels like Dad is trying to keep him from Mom, effectively feeling like he’s in competition with Dad?

    I always felt like I was in competition with brother’s for mother’s attention (Dad was working a lot) and never did get exactly what I needed from Mother. Ended up a dreamer in the Jungian sense.

    Did they ever make it point to spend more time together? Mother, Father, & Son?

  36. Great read! Thank you for sharing. Have a 19 month old and for us it has come down to routine. We try our best to stick to it. We both are “semi-retired” and work 5 hours or so a week. My son is also still breastfeeding.

    It’s family time from 7-9.
    Wife takes him from 9-12.
    Nap from 12-2
    I take him from 2-5
    Family tine from 5-7
    Both of read him a few books each individually with him at bed time

  37. I have a daughter and one on the way. With my daughter I would say there is a preference towards mom. Mom spent 4 months with her when she was born and is at home with her three days during the week. With all the extra time for bonding, I understand why my daughter has a preference towards mom.

    There are certain things like playing at the park and putting her to sleep every night that I do that have helped me bond with my daughter. It takes a while to find those things and it’s a lot of trial and error, but it’s pretty cool when you do.

  38. This is a wonderful story. I as a mother have encountered this with my daughter since she was a baby she will be 12 and it seems to be shifting some. My husband decided to stay at home and it was a great experience for him. My son was close to me but actually became closer to his dad but our son is older he is 9. Kids go through stages and the bond usually becomes stronger between father and son when they are older.

  39. TheEngineer

    Do you know that animals built relationship by using just their five simple senses – sight, smell, hear, touch and taste.

    Your young boy is detecting your mood swings with his raw and unconditioned five senses due to your COMPETITIVE nature and it makes him very uncomfortable.

    Kids do not understand the concept of “love”. They just understand security and comfort and you are making him feel very uneasy.

    If you need to vent the high and low of your day find someone CONSCIOUSLY bigger than you that you can TRUST and communicate your feeling.

    Stop labeling your beautiful son!

    1. That says it all. Your son perceives your emotions, expectations, frustrations, resentments. It should be you as the parent anticipating and catering to his emotional needs. Not the other way around. Its not your son’s job to take care of your emotional needs – it is YOUR job to take care of his. This is crucial for childhood development. A child needs at least one parental figure that can put aside their self-centeredness in order to get the basic emotional needs of the child met. Especially when they are between the ages of 1-7. It is so so crucial. I chuckled when I initially read your comments because I thought you were joking! Imagine a parent pouting because his toddler isn’t giving him the attention he feels he deserves! That’s the kind of attitude you’d expect a child to express, not a parent to a child. Remember, HE is the child. Focus on loving him unconditionally, or if not possible, then just provide a safe and stable environment. In time, if these conditions are met, your son will come to respect and love you. Remember, he won’t be a child forever. If you provided a safe and stable home, and don’t project your emotional baggage onto him, he will grow to become a stable, respectful human being. Who, yes, loves and appreciates you. They aren’t born this way; you have to create the environment for them to flourish in this manner.

      Whether you express it outwardly or not, your son undoubtedly picks up on your attitude of neediness. I’m sure it scares him. He senses the dynamic between you is the opposite of what it should be. For these early years, parents must cast aside their needs for the good of their child. Just forget about your needs during this time. At least when it comes to your child’s welfare and development, that should take precedence over your own ego needs. For the most part, women are better at the self-abnegation required during those infant, toddler years. They are more willing to tune into their child’s needs at the expense of their own. Which is absolutely necessary for the child to survive in the early years.

      Love the articles on finance and appreciate this excellent blog. However, I almost sputtered my beverage onto the screen with the surprisingly (unintentional?) humorous comments on…all this. Not a criticism, though. It just gave me a good chuckle!

      1. If it there was a world where only men were responsible for the day to day care of the most vulnerable and dependent among us – the babies would wouldn’t survive past infancy. LOL!

        1. Does that mean you weren’t a stay at home parent? lol

          Parenting is easiest when you don’t have to parent. A day job is like a walk in the park compared to parenting in my opinion.

  40. Anne Costello

    Parenting: proof that EVERYTHING is a phase, good and bad. Mike needs to chat with a nice therapist who will help sort this out. Just because his son wants to explore other people, toys, ways of playing, etc, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love him. Moms feel the same thing at various times, too. Sometimes, don’t we all get tired of people that we see everyday?

    Also, who is the adult in this scenario? Who chose to stay at home? Who is being pissy and resentful? Not everyone likes being home full time with children; even if one does, things change. Parenting is one phase after another. The “right” answer changes.

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