child close to mother

It is pretty normal for children to prefer either mommy or daddy. However, this favouritism can be intentional or unintentional, depending on the child’s age and circumstances. When children prefer one parent over another, it can be distressing for both parents. The favoured parent has to be on parenting duty all the time, leaving him or her exhausted and frustrated. The unfavoured parent may feel rejected, left out or guilty.

If you are in a similar situation, here are a few tips to deal with it.

Understand the Reason

Try to find out why your children bond better with one parent. Is it because one parent spends more time with children? Is it because one parent is unavailable due to personal or professional commitments? Does one parent have a better parenting style than the other? Is the child scared of one parent?

Observing children’s behaviour’s closely. If children are above 10 years of age, parents can even have an honest conversation with them. The reason will make it easier to take the next step.

Present a United Front

Both parents need to support each other through this situation by dividing the parenting and household chores.  Create a schedule. The favoured parent should learn to let go, take some time off for self and refrain from interfering or taking charge when the other parent is spending time with the child.

Similarly, the unflavoured parent should make a conscious effort to build a bond and gain the trust of their children. At the same time, they should not force their love or affection on children. They should also not shrug from their duties when it’s their turn.

Choose Something Special

The unfavoured parent can plan a special time or day to do something exclusive with their children every week. It can be ‘you and me’ time. It could be an outdoor trip to a garden, cooking a meal in the kitchen, playing games, watching the stars or anything. Children will start looking forward to these special moments and be eager to spend time with the unfavoured parent.

Keep Patience

There may be times when all the efforts of unflavoured parent may seem to go in vain. Children may continue to want only mommy or daddy and become difficult to handle. Don’t lose your temper or patience. But, don’t give up either. Continue to win them over with love and patience.

Lastly, remember that children go through different phases in the growing up years. The ‘chosen parent’ is also just a phase and it will go away. Don’t take it to your heart

About Prabha Kulkarni

Prabha is a retired teacher, who enjoys writing on various topics. Most of her current writing is currently influenced by her young grand-daughters, as she grapples with the differences in the world they will grow up in, and the one in which she spent the best years of her life. Prabha is also a proud technophile who plans to start her blog soon.


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