or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › "i dont love you i only love daddy" 4 yr old of sahm who only loves working dad
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"i dont love you i only love daddy" 4 yr old of sahm who only loves working dad

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

i was not looking for judgement


for the record i did not tell dd anything about going to stay in a hotel, i do not snap at my child and put her down EVER and i do not tell her I am going to leave, maybe i wasnt clear about that.



Edited by yukookoo - 6/26/11 at 5:42am
post #2 of 14

I do see that this is a tough situation that is taking an emotional toll on you, however discussing things in front of her like you have (threatening to leave, putting her in day care) is not appropriate and only making the situation worse.


Being 4 is a tough age, especially with a sibling that is young and needs you physically a lot more than DD (nursing etc) I think this is also a normal age to have daddy as the "favorite". I am sure it has been a hard year for her too. She has had to deal with changes with herself, the family, a new sibling...


How would I handle it? Personally I would do the following:


1. Constantly reassure her of my unconditional love and devotion for her


2. Try and spend alone time with her (which you are)


3. Do not use put downs, threaten, or say negative things about her/your relationship (which it seems you are via your post)


4. Absolutely try your best not to snap at her (and encourage DH the same) b/c it's just not good for any relationship


5. Focus on the positives instead of the negatives. "You did a good job entertaining yourself while I fed DS. I appreciate your help" tings to that effect.


Obviously she is saying she doesn't love you and only loves daddy for a reason. I absolutely do not think it is the truth...but I think she has gotten some effect from you from saying it, maybe attention? (even if it was negative)


You could try humor/catch her off guard.. She says "I only love daddy" you could say "I love daddy so much! He is the best huh?" or make it into a discussion "What do you love most about daddy?" "I love x,y,z about daddy"



post #3 of 14

wow, I think so surreal has what I was going to say. I saw this in new posts, and I feel for you, really. I have many kids who have said this, I think it's VERY normal. She's wanting you to prove that you love her, which is a completely normal developmental stage. Sending her away now just confirms in her mind what she's already thinking, that you love the new baby more, that you can't deal with her, and that you can just replace someone. 


have you thought about having a date night with just her? It would be nice to take her for a nice cup of tea and play with paper dolls at the tea house, or maybe for a walk to a local park or pond to do nature study, drawing, water color a la charlotte mason? I started with most of my kids at that age, leaving dh with the others and just taking them to the grocery alone, and letting us have some time together. 


Right now it's SO hard, but give it a few months and it will be better. Be strong, she's counting on you!

post #4 of 14

I had the exact same thought processes towards my oldest kid when I was going into postpartum depression. 

post #5 of 14

I agree that it's totally normal.  When my son said it we just told him it wasn't true and it was hurtful and we moved on.  

Honestly you're applying very adult reasoning to a very small girl.  Thinking she doesn't love you/isn't bonded to you etc?  headscratch.gif  You're her mom!  

Some days that means you're the bird and some days you're the statue :)


I'm a big fan of preschool but my goodness don't make it like a catastrophic event!


Do you have access to a good therapist?  Your reaction is very odd to me.  I think talking to a professional about it might get to the root of it?  Did you hear something upsetting growing up or something?


Ask any of your friends they'll tell you the same thing.  This is a totally normal thing for a child to say.  My mother used to respond "well I love you".  I can't imagine her responding that she was going to go stay in a hotel?!  That's WAY too much power for a 4 year old to have.  

post #6 of 14

I'm sorry your feelings were hurt. When you said 


I said i was going to take ds and go to a hotel and monday she can go to work with daddy and sit there and watch do computer work. and I swear i mean it, if she is going to say she doesnt love me i will focus my attn on the baby who DOES darn it.

It was pretty clear. You told us that's what you said, and I only know what you say you said. Especially when you said you were going to send her to school for that reason. This is a hard age anyway, and adding another child will make it more difficult. I wish you and your family the best. 

post #7 of 14
I remember saying this sort of thing to my mom, especially when she was disciplining me. I don't think 4 year olds have a very good grasp on the whole love concept yet. I assure you that your DD loves you very, very much. When she says stuff like that, tell her she's being rude and that you don't believe her. Try to avoid letting her see your agitation. She's trying to get a rise out of you! I'm sorry she's being hurtful. Hugs.
post #8 of 14

Is there something about his mood that is different than your mood?  My mom was a SAHM and she was very intense, stressed out, and controlling.  My step-dad was calm and relaxed about almost everything and definitely a lot funner to be around.  I still love both of them very deeply and always have, but my mother wasn't always easy to be around and as a child I couldn't objectively identify what made the situation stressful.  I would react angrily to the overwhelming stress of being around her intensity and bearing her acting out in stress by telling her I hated her though.  Perhaps your dd is doing something like that.  Looking at changing your intensity level may help her feel more relaxed around you and that will probably cut down on a lot of the angry feelings and words that are being directed at you. 

post #9 of 14

I can only see the original thread title, so I'm going to base my response on that. It is totally NORMAL for a 4 yo, and if you are going to focus on that, your 4yo will probably do this longer than otherwise. It doesn't mean to your 4yo, what it means to you, and frankly, and if you are taking these words seriously, you are overreacting. My 3yo tells DH quite often that she doesn't love him--she is in her 'being contrary' stage. She'd tell him she doesn't love him, and then run to him and cuddle with him and so on. It is all about behaviours, not words at this age.


And even if her actions do not show 'love' to you, she is only 4. She might seem older to you, because he is the oldest, but he is still so so young.


I wouldn't be focusing on those words more than any other undesirable expression, like if she started copying someone and saying poopy head every minute. You'd ignore it, right, and try to divert his attention? Because overfucosing would only mean that the poopy head stage would last much longer.


And if she truly behaves as though she doesn't love you--avoids you, is scared of you, consistently prefers DH, you need to keep on working on the attachment between each other. It is just a phase. hug2.gif




post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by yukookoo View Post

i was not looking for judgement


for the record i did not tell dd anything about going to stay in a hotel, i do not snap at my child and put her down EVER and i do not tell her I am going to leave, maybe i wasnt clear about that.



I would argue that when you open a thread seeking advice and opinions that you are, indeed, looking for judgement. We must judge what you've written in the OP in order to formulate a response.  Apparently you just didn't like the replies you were given. That's ok, but I wouldn't say that you were being judged unfairly. You're being judged on what you said, period. And very politely IMO.


Anyhow, I wanted to throw out another "this too shall pass" example, if that helps. :) My niece used to say the same kinds of things ALL THE TIME, only with her it was the opposite: she said she loved her WOTH mother better than her stay at home dad. She would tell her dad to go away and say she only wanted mommy, etc. In her case, I think she did it for the same reason a pp mentioned-- she wanted to show her mother (who she doesn't spend as much time with, which may be a point of insecurity) that she loved her and it was, in a way, a sort of a test. In reality it's very clear that she loves her dad and I think she doesn't say these things anymore. She just stopped and grew out of it eventually AFAIK.


If this happened to one of my kids, I think I would handle it like midnightwriter suggested. But depending on the child's age I might also add that saying things like that is simply rude and not acceptable in our house, etc.


Hope things get better for you, OP. hug2.gif

Edited by coffeegirl - 6/27/11 at 12:21pm
post #11 of 14

Seriously not trying to judge you here. You deleted your post so I can not bold what you said but I am pretty darn sure you did say you and DH snap at her all the time and that you told her you were leaving to a hotel and that you were going to put her in pre-school b/c of all of this.


I certainly do not think anything I wrote was harsh. We all have our moments where things get out of hand and I was just trying to address what I picked up on from your post and the things you wrote. I did not jump to any assumptions I specifically responded to the words that you wrote. I thought you wanted solid advice which I think that is exactly what I gave you.

post #12 of 14

I agree that this seems like normal 4 yo behavior to me. I know it's hard, but try not to take it to heart. You are the at-home parent and that means you are doling out structure and discipline all day long, and then the working parent comes home and they get to be the *fun one*! I am the working parent in my family, and I see this all the time with our kids. My dh is at home with them all day and when I get home they see me as a relief from the structure they get all day long. It doesn't mean they love the working parent more, it just means they view the world in the way that 4 yo's do.


I think the best thing you can do is simply smile and say something like, "I love daddy, too" or something equally positive and then just let it go. Please don't resent your child for saying things like that, they do not see the world as you and I do. in time, your child will appreciate you for all you do, but for now, being the at-home parent is often a thankless role .....

post #13 of 14

Developmentally, 4-5 year olds are discovering the power of words. Unfortunately, they're not very subtle about their use of that new found power. They're sort of like Bam-Bam from the Flintstones, only with words. It's really really important for you to realize that while your daughter is trying out the power of her words, she does not grasp the full emotional impact.


If she were 24 and telling you this, then you would have reason to get upset. At 4, your job is to help her learn more socially acceptable ways of expressing her anger toward you. She probably is angry with you more often because you're the one home and enforcing the rules all the time, and you've got a new baby who's taking up your time.


Two recommendations:

Get the book "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen, and Listen So Your Children Will Talk" by Faber & Mazlish (Maslish?)  -- it's an excellent book and has good recommendations for precisely this kind of situation. "You're really mad at me, huh?" is one place I'd start.


Please get screened for Postpartum Depression. Reading between the lines, it sounds lke you're having a hard time with a lot of things. Anger/frustration with an older child is one major symptom of PPD. (Now it could be that you've simply got a 4 year old and a baby, but you should rule out PPD.)

post #14 of 14

Lately I've heard that from my 5-year-old son a lot, too but I don't think it means what he says.  I agree with an earlier poster who said that kids that age don't really know how to explain or understand their feelings.  For example, if my son were playing with his sister's toy and she wanted it back he might say 'it's mine' but not mean that he thinks it is his, just that he wants to play with it.  I think my son says he loves daddy because when daddy comes home from work he gives lots of cuddles and hugs and it's all great fun.  Whereas mommy has been home all day doing things that are much less exciting.  So I've tried to make a point of giving extra hugs, extra love.  It's a hard thing to hear from a child, I know, but I'm sure dd loves you. hug2.gif

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › "i dont love you i only love daddy" 4 yr old of sahm who only loves working dad