Saturday, July 2, 2016

The preferred parent (and it's not me)

This has been going on for some time now; at least a year a half, but probably closer to two years. I remember it started to bother me when he'd wake up in the middle of the night screaming for daddy. And I couldn't calm him down, he'd hit and fight me, claw my face or punch me. The screaming would continue (no matter what I did) until Joe woke up and came in and "saved me". More recently, Joey would wake up at the crack of dawn trying to catch daddy before he left for work. So Joe started leaving earlier and earlier and Joey would wake up earlier and earlier and throw a fit when daddy left or when he woke up and daddy had already left. This is still the case and happens almost 2 mornings a week. On the weekends, I can't put his shoes on or wipe his butt. He won't go to the store with me alone or have me bathe him. He won't snuggle me or give me hugs and kisses at nap time and putting him to bed is out of the question entirely. He says flat out, "I like daddy better" or "You go on the walk by yourself mama". 

So, here is some advice to myself for when I lose my way:

In fact, when your child plays favorites, it's a sign that he feels close to you. "He's secure enough in your love to know that he can jilt you and still get a warm welcome back."

Young children live in the moment. So, “I don’t want you” (or even “I don’t like you”) means “I don’t want you in this moment."

Another gift to children of dual parenting is that children are invited to become more flexible thinkers and, later, more sophisticated problem solvers, because two parents, no matter how much shared value they bring to parenting, will not do things exactly the same.

remember that your child cannot and should not be called to meet your needs for love and care. 

If you must, it's all right to say, "That hurts my feelings," but then let it go. 

Get in the game. When your child is playing, hang around and watch, then see if you can join in, says Dr. Pruett. Chances are, you'll be tolerated, especially if you get down on the floor and follow her lead.

I'm all yours for 15 minutes. What do you want to do?" If he doesn't know, grab his favorite toy and get started having fun

"I understand what it's like to be angry. You can calm down when you feel like it. I'll stay with you." Once she's settled down, he should offer to play with her, with a toy or game.

I'm sorry, sweetie; I know you wish you could have Daddy. I'm here with you now, you're safe, and I love you so much." 

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