Parents ask me a lot what to do when their child has a real preference for the other parent.
Enjoy the break!
But, all joking aside, it can hurt your feelings to know that your child may want the other adult more. Whether this other parent is your spouse, a co-parent, or grandparent, knowing that the child you are helping raise doesn’t prefer you right now, can be hurtful. That’s totally normal. The risk comes if those hurt feelings cause you to treat that child differently.
Life is all about choice and preference. Just like you prefer one meal to another or there may be some people you prefer to others, kids may prefer one parent over another. We talked in a past video about parents preferring one child over another, it can easily happen the other way around. In that video we discussed the importance of NOT letting your children know that there is a preference. Unfortunately, kids sometimes lack filters and don’t always keep their preferences to themselves.
The good thing is that these feelings change often! Kids are constantly changing their minds and interests. Their preference can also be based on what is going on at that particular moment. Just disciplined your kids before your spouse walked in the door? Of course, you know who their favorite is now!
So how do you make it stop hurting?
Focus your parenting energy on things you can control. Teach a skill, play a game you both enjoy. The truth is, most parents experience the feeling that their child prefers someone else. This is a great chance to prove your love for them. Don’t worry about how they feel about you, just make sure they are certain of your good feelings towards them. This is the way to raise stable, confident kids.