It doesn’t feel right when your kids are attracted to your partner because they think he is the better parent. They are scared when you around, nervous whenever you mention their names and are always looking for reasons not to be close to you.
Such kind of traits if not curbed at their young age, will lead to severe problems when the kids are all grown. This is why you have kids that do not confide in a particular parent. When kids find it difficult to talk to you as a parent, you should be worried. Most of these traits are formed when the kid grows up not to love both parents equally.
Children often show a preference to a particular parent, even though they naturally love both parents. It is a sign that they have a need which is satisfied by the preferred parent. Take for example when they need someone to comfort them, they meet the parent who always has time for them. When they need a new and exciting experience, they choose the usually-absent parent, or when they seek permission, they consult the softer parent. Children of age two or three act according to their need to control and decide their environment; their need to do things they like moves them to behave in a certain way. However, this kind of behavior doesn’t stay long, but changes in a matter of days or weeks.
A search for identity is another cause for children’s peculiar behavior. When they tend to stay with a parent of the same sex, it could mean they are trying to discover their role as male or female. Apart from that, similar interest with either parent could be the reason behind such an action.
Dealing with Children’ Preferences
The fact that parents are different makes their relationship with their children dissimilar. This should not be seen as a defect, and it doesn’t make one parent better than the other. The problem comes in when children’s preference is allowed to become a lifestyle, and they see each parent in a more negative or more positive light. Such attitude makes them favor a parent over the other.
Parents can solve this problem by taking disciplinary responsibility when they are alone with the kids. Discipline shouldn’t be left for just one parent; both parents should maintain the same control on their children. Any disagreement on methods of punishment should be settled in private, not in the presence of the children. However, matters that need immediate attention should be treated with urgency despite differing opinions.
Another way is to discuss with your spouse on rules that should guide family relationships and the methods of response to your children. As much as possible, the act of trying to make the children feel the other parent is unfair should be avoided altogether.
Dealing with Emotions
You will feel hurt or jealous when your children seem to favor your spouse more. Children change their choice, and they will soon change that attitude in a short time. Their behavior is always connected to what they need at the moment, and you should not think you are less loved than the other parent.
Try not to speak harshly to your children when they do things that hurt you like asking your spouse to put them to sleep. Learn to respond patiently and kindly to your children. Their unusual behavior is just temporary. Sometimes, it is good to play the role of the other parents even when they are around. This gives the children the impression that both parents have the same concern for them. Adding some fun to how you relate to your children is necessary if you are the less preferred parent. Alternating roles may fail, but you can find other methods of staying close to your children.
Most importantly, raise your kids with your partner. Do not ignore or neglect special duties that bring about parent-child bonding for just your partner. Instead, do these things together as a team. Show up at their school together. Take your kids out for ice cream with your partner. Make out time to share that dinner everyone loves for at least once in a week. This way, your kids will grow up in a loving and warm environment and understand that both parents love them equally.