Is your 4-year-old rejecting dad?
Is he always asking his mom to be on his side?
Our kids melt our hearts unexpectedly but are exceptionally verbal about their feelings. Talking about 4-year-olds, they will say anything without knowing whether or not they should say it. Kids will become more independent at this age and reject many things and people.
In some cases, 4-year-olds reject their dads and want their mommy all the time. Of course, this strong expression is never expected by dads when they step into parenthood, but the truth is, such attachment towards moms isn’t at all uncommon.
Why would a 4-year-old rejecting dad?
Why would your little one reject his dad? These can be the reasons:
1-You’ve got a boy:
In most cases, boys are naturally more attached to their moms. Similarly, girls are more attached to their dads. There is no scientific evidence, but this has been happening for ages, maybe because of the opposite gender.
Boys find their moms more positive and less reactive than their dads.
Generally, boys feel troubled around their dads. However, they feel more secure being with their moms.
2-Daddy is the reason:
Daddies are usually not easygoing with their children. They want everything done in their way. Some fathers behave strictly with their kids.
Due to less time spent with the kids, they need help understanding how they should behave with their kids. They treat them like adults and do not become childish with them.
3-Spends more time with the mother:
When mom is a stay-at-home parent, kids spend more time with her. In such a situation, the mom becomes the primary caretaker.
She knows her child’s emotions and actions and how to tackle all the meltdowns, tantrums, and emotional breakdowns.
On the other hand, dads are unaware of the child’s psychology and reactions, so they don’t know much about handling a 4-year-old.
4- Dad is not spending much time with the kid:
Due to the weekday office schedule, dad gets home late and tired. They usually eat dinner and go to sleep. So the interaction with the kids is significantly less.
Kids do not feel connected with their dads if they do not spend time with them. Therefore, the distance between dads and kids is usually because of the communication gap.
5- Mom is pushing the child towards the dad forcefully:
Sometimes mom gets tired of all the responsibilities she takes care of. So she expects the dad to take over some duties so she can relax for some time.
For example, a 4-year-old wants mommy to listen to his song but the mom says, “go to dad, he will listen, I’m tired”. Your little one will not understand why mommy is tired, he will eventually reject his dad.
4-year-olds are very specific regarding the things to be done. If they need a mom who takes them to sleep, they won’t compromise on it.
Dads who try to take over the specific duties that the child prefers to be done by their moms make them reject the dad.
6- Mom is responsible for talking bad about the dad:
Sometimes when the husband and wife do not have a strong understanding, this impacts the children’s behavior.
If the mom is talking bad about the dad (with kids or with anyone else in the presence of kids), the child will start to think that his dad is not someone to be with.
7- Parents don’t have a good relationship:
Some couple does not have a good marriage, due to which they react inappropriately in front of their kids. For example, a child who spends most of his day with his mom would eventually think that his mom is right and his dad is wrong all the time.
Arguments may be minor or significant, but children are keen observers and don’t know the fight’s significance.
8- Dad lives in another city or country:
Some dads live away from their families due to jobs in other cities or countries. Such dads visit the home after a specific time, making kids reject them.
Even if the dad shows affection and interest towards the kids, he might get rejected because the kids may feel shy to talk to them or spend time with him.
How to get your 4-year-old attached to the father?
Here are a few tips to attach your child to his dad.
1-Stop forcing the child:
First of all, realize this, a 4-year-old is a small kid, and he does not know the consequences of talking honestly about his feelings. So stop pushing your child or yelling at him for not being attached to his father.
Rejecting the father doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t love him, but he just doesn’t want him right now.
Do not blame him, and never say words like “You are bad” or “You don’t love your father.”
Give your child time until he settles down and knows the worth of having a father.
2-Don’t put down the child’s demands:
When a kid is habitual of going to bed with his mom, or he only likes eating meals with her, etc., then the mom should not let down her demands and hand it over to the dad in frustration.
The only result of such an act will make them more stubborn and emotionally drained. So instead, try different ways to engage the dad and the kid throughout the day.
3- Read him stories about the father and kid:
Get the child story books that have the father as the main character. Tell them that the father plays a vital role in our lives. Of course, he loves us, but maybe dads are the man of actions rather than words, so they express the love less but tell it through their actions.
Here are a few great storybooks about the love of fathers and kids.
4-Talk to them and know the reason:
As a child’s favorite parent, it is important for you to talk to him and try to understand why he rejects his dad. Sometimes we oversee a child’s emotions considering that he is just being irrational.
But in some cases, there comes a solid reason for hating someone, and as a parent, we must not just neglect it and force the child to love the parent anyway.
Sit down and talk to your little one. 4-year-olds are usually verbal and know how to express their feelings in words.
5- Give father and child one-on-one time
We understand it is difficult for the dads to spend a lot of time with the kids on the weekdays, but he can take out an hour or so for the kids to just talk to them about how their day went.
It would be better if the father, who is not his child’s favorite, explores the child’s interest and talk about it in the dedicated time.
On the weekends, make “fun” outings mandatory. It can be a short trip to the grocery shop on a Sunday morning or playground fun on weekend evenings. Such activities will make them closer and friends.
6- Ask the dad to try from his side:
Even after all the fun activities on the weekend, if the child still rejects his dad, then it is the dad’s turn to take charge. Have a discussion with your spouse about what is expected from him.
Ask him to join the kid when he has lied down with his mom to sleep, take turns telling stories, or give input to show that the dad is also interested in such activities.
7- Tackle the situation positively
Instead of making him feel guilty feeling this way, instead, tackle the phase positively.
This is how he feels, and he shouldn’t be punished for it.
Whenever the child says things like, “I don’t like daddy,” tell him, “I can understand you don’t like him right now, but daddy loves you a lot, and you will start liking him soon.”
8-Keep spousal relationship secret:
No matter what happens between you and your husband, avoid arguing or fighting in front of kids. This will not only pollute their minds, but they will also do the same with their spouse in the long run.
9-Don’t talk badly about the least favorite parent
Again, whatever you and your partner are facing in a relationship is your matter. Don’t involve kids in such toxicity. Never talk badly about the dad if you have issues with him as a husband.
Instead, praise his contribution, dedication, and love towards his children. Never pollute the minds of the next generation.
10- Progress patiently to overcome this phase:
Even if you are on the verge of giving up on such behavior of your 4-year-old, remind yourself that it is just a phase. This, too, shall pass as the other difficulties have passed. It is only you and the dad who can fill the gap.
Spending quality time with love and affection will turn the tables, and you will notice how your 4-year-old has gotten along with his dad, whom he used to reject.
Your 4-year-old might be rejecting dad because he doesn’t get to spend much time with him or doesn’t go along with daddy’s behavior. Talk to your child and discover his feelings, where the dad-and-child relationship is lacking. Fill the gaps with all the love and positivity. Soon your little one will start feeling his love towards his father.