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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
3 YO DS pretty constantly rejects her father. She won't accept his help for beditme or bathtime. If he asks for a hug or kiss, she says no. While she needs constant cuddles from me, she will rarely let him cuddle her. This is a problem for several reasons. First, it he is trying to be reasonable and respectful, but it cuts him to the core every time. Second, sometimes I have just got to get her out of my lap or I think I will go nuts! It seems to go in phases, but its been pretty intense for months now and its really upsetting both of us.<br><br>
So, what do I, or he, do? We want to respect her needs and feelings, but they are causing others pain.<br><br>
And just to head off questions, it is absolutely impossible that DH has done something to make her scared of him. He's never hit or hurt her in any way. And I can't think of any other men that might have done so and thus started an "all men are scary" sort of thing. She's just not alone with men very much -- not deliberately on my part but just because that's the way it works.
 

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It's totally normal and in most cases it manifests in the reverse, with the kids prefering dad after awhile. We chose to just respect her wishes w/o any guilt tripping or attepts to manipulate her by saying ooo so and so is sad you don't want to hug him/her ect. Mainly because I don't want my child to ever think she has to give affection because she is told to.
 

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Two suggestions:<br><br>
-Make sure that your DH is not making your DD feel responsible for his feelings. That is, if she rejects him and then gets a huge reaction out of him, it can make her feel insecure and could also turn into a game/boundary testing issue.<br><br>
-Try having your DH take your DD on special outings (w/out you!). To the park, for ice cream, to the zoo, etc. Get creative and do things that DD <b>loves</b>. This has the added bonus of ensuring that you get some me time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> This must be rough on you guys!
 

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I second having your dh take your dd somewhere without you.<br><br>
My dd is 10.5 and still rejects her dad. If I could go back and do it different, I would. I would allow my husband more latitude in parenting. (I was a hoverer!). I would leave more and let go. (my hubby worked constantly and I was pretty much the ONLY caregiver)<br><br>
When my dd wanted hugs and refused to accept them from me, I would tell her that daddy wants hugs and she wants hugs and mommy is tired now. Hug briefly and let daddy cuddle.<br><br>
I'm screwed big time. My head strong, opinionated dd almost completely refuses affection from her dad unless it is horseplay. We work on it obviously, I'm aware of it, but I wish I could have started sooner...<br><br>
Just my .02
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MovingMomma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">-Try having your DH take your DD on special outings (w/out you!).</div>
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That's what we did. We went through this a couple years ago and it was hard. Dd would be with me alllll day long, then only want me in the evenings. My Dd started taking her out more on outings, to the bookstore one evening and the park another day. Eventually, we moved to him being in charge of certain tasks. Bathtime and toothbrushing are always his duties. For us, this stage ended very quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Arduinna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's totally normal and in most cases it manifests in the reverse, with the kids prefering dad after awhile. We chose to just respect her wishes w/o any guilt tripping or attepts to manipulate her by saying ooo so and so is sad you don't want to hug him/her ect. Mainly because I don't want my child to ever think she has to give affection because she is told to.</div>
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I agree that it is both normal and neither one of us wants to force affection from her. But this is literally reducing my DH to tears (in private, not in front of her) and I can't just sit by any more.
 

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It sounds like your dh is taking this very personally - and that's understandable on a level. It's very hard to be rejected by one of the people you love most in the world!<br><br>
The thing is, he's an adult and it's not her job to make him feel included. It's also not your job to push her to make him feel included. Gentle encouragement is fine as long as it doesn't focus on his feelings. It's a great idea to see if she'll accept his doing fun things alone with her. The bulk of it may just be a situation where he needs to figure out how to accept things as they are now, knowing that it's natural and it's pretty certain to change.
 

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I third the suggestion of special outings. She will most likely grow out of this. At three DD1 would only want me for all things, now at almost four, it's almost "mommy who?" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> She won't even hold my hand to cross the street. If DH's hands are full, she'd rather hold his pocket. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> If she has to go somewhere with just me, she whines for dad. These are all just phases.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dragonfly</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It sounds like your dh is taking this very personally - and that's understandable on a level. It's very hard to be rejected by one of the people you love most in the world!<br><br>
The thing is, he's an adult and it's not her job to make him feel included. It's also not your job to push her to make him feel included. Gentle encouragement is fine as long as it doesn't focus on his feelings. It's a great idea to see if she'll accept his doing fun things alone with her. The bulk of it may just be a situation where he needs to figure out how to accept things as they are now, knowing that it's natural and it's pretty certain to change.</div>
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ITA, you dh has to act like the adult here. It is not very adult to be so hurt by a child's actions. And on some level she may be enjoining the power to so control his feelings. Not minipulative on her part, just a normal fascination with the ability at this age to be able to do this.<br><br>
I would never require her to hug him or do anything like that. But OTOH, I would simply leave him with her more to do more caretaking as well as special outings. So at bathtime, drive yourself to Starbucks and sit and have a cup of coffee and leave him to do the bath. She does NOT have to be given a choice about this. It can be "Mama is going out for 45 minutes and dada will be with you. and give you your bath"<br><br>
She may not love this at first, but it is appropriate for her father to be her caregiver and it really will give them a chance to bond.
 

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Evan&Anna's Mom, I think it's beautiful that it is so important to your dh to be active in nurturing his daughter. I imagine that he feels a strong fatherly urge to connect with his daughter, and I imagine that he wonders if he is doing something wrong that causes her to prefer mom so strongly. I don't think his feelings are at all abnormal or uncommon, and from your posts it sounds as though both of you are respectful of her wishes and as though he is expressing these feelings appropriately with you rather than with her. Perhaps it would help if you can help him understand that he doesn't have to take it so personally, that he is not doing anything wrong, that this is totally normal behavior for a young child, and that it is not a rejection of him. Most children go through phases of preferring one parent over another, and it is likely that at some point your dd will go through a phase of preferring dad. This can be really difficult, even when you know it's normal.<br><br>
I agree with the suggestion to arrange time for your dd and dh to be together when you are not available. This will give them a chance to spend time together, maybe give your dd a chance to see that dad is actually pretty fun, and it will give you a break. I also think it's important that he keep offering those hugs and kisses, and keep offering to do things with her. Sooner or later she will accept those offers more often.<br><br>
ETA that sometimes parents have ideas, hopes, dreams of what their relationship with their child will be like. Some dads, for instance, dream of having a close and loving relationship with "daddy's little girl." And when reality turns out to be different, it's painful. We then have to grieve a little the loss of those dreams and move on to accept and find joy in the reality that we live in. I remember my dh before the birth of our first sitting in a rocking chair talking about how he looked forward to spending hours in that chair, rocking his baby and cuddling in peace. And it just didn't come to pass. Baby just wouldn't have it, she wanted mom, and when he <i>was</i> in that chair rocking her she was screaming (she was screaming for me too, and he'd be giving me a break) and he had cotton stuffed in his ears so it wouldn't hurt as much. It was really hard for him to give up on that really wonderful dream he had, though to many people it seems like a small dream. Maybe your dh is going through something similar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, the kids just left for Seaworld (we live in San Diego and this isn't as big as it sounds) with DH and I'm off for a mammogram. How's that for "me time"?<br><br>
Suggestions for special outings are a little hard to figure out because I don't want 6 YO DS to feel left out, so I don't think it would be good to send just DH and DD out for something special. And leaving at bath/bedtime would be grounds for divorce in this household. We long ago agreed that it takes two parents for the nighttime routine to work smoothly and it has to be really important for either of us to absent ourselves. Its the downside of having highly parent-involved bedtime routines for two kids. But maybe Dad and kids will be enough. I've been pushing him to take them both out for a while now but he's terrified that she will start screamming "no no no" if he has to take her to the restroom or something and that someone will call the cops and accuse him of kidnapping. Given the volume and intensity of her screams, this is probably not unreasonable!<br><br>
I guess I don't understand the "taking it too personally" comments. I mean, if your child said "no" or just screamed every time you said "I'm home from work, can I have a hug?", "May I have a night-night kiss?" and "Mommy's making dinner but I can cuddle with you" for weeks on end, would this not cut you to the heart? I know I couldn't take it for more than a couple of days and DH has literally taken it for several months now. He's actually really good about not reacting to her other than saying "OK" and walking away.<br><br>
Thanks all.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Evan&Anna's_Mom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Suggestions for special outings are a little hard to figure out because I don't want 6 YO DS to feel left out, so I don't think it would be good to send just DH and DD out for something special.</div>
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How about switching off "special time" for each child? One day dd stays with dh while ds goes with you somewhere, then switch to the opposite another day (dd with you, and ds with dad)? This could be a win-win for everyone, as one-on-one time is important.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I guess I don't understand the "taking it too personally" comments. I mean, if your child said "no" or just screamed every time you said "I'm home from work, can I have a hug?", "May I have a night-night kiss?" and "Mommy's making dinner but I can cuddle with you" for weeks on end, would this not cut you to the heart? I know I couldn't take it for more than a couple of days and DH has literally taken it for several months now. He's actually really good about not reacting to her other than saying "OK" and walking away.</td>
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I can't speak for anyone else, but what I mean by "taking it personally" is not that it's not hurtful. What I mean is that it's quite likely this has nothing to do with how wonderful a parent he is or even anything to do with how dd feels about him. It's just a stage, she's just really into her mom right now. I think it sounds like he has handled it wonderfully, and it <i>is</i> really hard. I think it's totally understandable that he's feeling the way he's feeling. But sometimes being able to step back and reframe even just a tiny bit allows us to understand in a way that makes it a little bit less painful.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Evan&Anna's_Mom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well, the kids just left for Seaworld (we live in San Diego and this isn't as big as it sounds) with DH and I'm off for a mammogram. How's that for "me time"?<br><br>
Suggestions for special outings are a little hard to figure out because I don't want 6 YO DS to feel left out, so I don't think it would be good to send just DH and DD out for something special. And leaving at bath/bedtime would be grounds for divorce in this household. We long ago agreed that it takes two parents for the nighttime routine to work smoothly and it has to be really important for either of us to absent ourselves. Its the downside of having highly parent-involved bedtime routines for two kids. But maybe Dad and kids will be enough. I've been pushing him to take them both out for a while now but he's terrified that she will start screamming "no no no" if he has to take her to the restroom or something and that someone will call the cops and accuse him of kidnapping. Given the volume and intensity of her screams, this is probably not unreasonable!<br><br>
I guess I don't understand the "taking it too personally" comments. I mean, if your child said "no" or just screamed every time you said "I'm home from work, can I have a hug?", "May I have a night-night kiss?" and "Mommy's making dinner but I can cuddle with you" for weeks on end, would this not cut you to the heart? I know I couldn't take it for more than a couple of days and DH has literally taken it for several months now. He's actually really good about not reacting to her other than saying "OK" and walking away.<br><br>
Thanks all.</div>
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It seems that you REALLY need to focus on one on one time between DH and DD. That means that instead of worrying about DS too, he can just focus on DD.<br><br>
Why not just have you take DS somewhere and have him take DD. You and DS will leave first meaning that she has him and that is that. If she is too hysterical to leave, he can offer to do something fun with her at home. This solves all the problems you felt might occur.<br><br>
Finally, no I do not get "hurt" by what my kids say. I just don't. They are children and they simply are not capable of really thinking through what they are saying.<br><br>
But I do think the more your dh gets upset the more likely it will continue.<br>
Kids can sense this soooo easily. And of course it is fascinating for them. The sooner your dh has a REAL "whatever' attitude about it the sooner it will fade.<br><br>
And I would have him stop aksing her those questions. It is just setting things up for disaster. He can tell her he loves her alot and "if you ever want a BIG HUG from me, just let me know." and then stop with all the questions.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Evan&Anna's_Mom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I guess I don't understand the "taking it too personally" comments. I mean, if your child said "no" or just screamed every time you said "I'm home from work, can I have a hug?", "May I have a night-night kiss?" and "Mommy's making dinner but I can cuddle with you" for weeks on end, would this not cut you to the heart?</div>
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Your DD is <i>not</i> responsible for your DH's happiness.<br><br>
It is normal and acceptable for him to feel sad about the rejection.<br><br>
But she is not responsible for making him happy.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Evan&Anna's_Mom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I guess I don't understand the "taking it too personally" comments. I mean, if your child said "no" or just screamed every time you said "I'm home from work, can I have a hug?", "May I have a night-night kiss?" and "Mommy's making dinner but I can cuddle with you" for weeks on end, would this not cut you to the heart? I know I couldn't take it for more than a couple of days and DH has literally taken it for several months now. He's actually really good about not reacting to her other than saying "OK" and walking away.<br><br>
Thanks all.</div>
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I didn't understand those comments either. I applaud you for recognizing this now and doing something about it. It is easier sometimes to just do it yourself when they really want you. But if your husband is available to cuddle and you are okay with letting him do it (or you don't feel like it - i.e. - touched out!), then tell her no. Daddy isn't an ogre. I would sometimes cuddle my dd just to appease her and it did hurt my hubby.<br><br>
Okay, so get this! I have a PTSO meeting one night about a year ago. DD would have been around 9.5. I was gone from 6:45 until around 9.<br><br>
My dd had had an emotional day and needed to get out some frustration. In her, it usually comes out at bedtime in the form of crying. So dh is putting three kids in bed and dd wants to talk. DD doesn't want to talk to daddy. So she ignores him and his plea to talk and waits up for me. Now she's up late on a school night waiting on me. I've had a long day and an irritating meeting and really don't want to mess with her. While waiting on me to get home, she had written me a letter telling me that Daddy was simply 'unable to meet her needs'.<br><br>
I wish I could back and tell her no and let daddy cuddle her.<br><br>
My husband was perfectly capable of talking to her and helping her through her day. She preferred me.<br><br>
To other pp, I don't think the op's husband feels like the dd is responsible for his happiness. I didn't get that at all. I think he is saddened by the rejection and that is normal. But, dd needs to understand that sometimes, if you reject daddy, mommy can't cuddle. Get cuddled by Daddy or don't get cuddled. At 6 years old, this is perfectly okay. This is not an infant who doesn't like being rocked by daddy because he doesn't stand and do it. This is a 6 year old child who understands that mommy has been doing this perfectly fine and doesn't want to upset the apple cart.<br><br>
Again, just my .02 (and a little experience with the exact same issue!)
 
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