Magazine article Work & Family Life

When Mom or (or Dad) Becomes 'The Favorite'

Magazine article Work & Family Life

When Mom or (or Dad) Becomes 'The Favorite'

Article excerpt

Nine-month-old Brandon only wants his mom to feed him and give him a bath. His dad, who is usually very nurturing and attentive, feels upset and left out.

Three-year-old Julie only wants her dad to give her dinner and read her a bedtime story. Her mom is bewildered and angry.

All children go through predictable stages of development when they prefer Mom over Dad or vice versa. Temperament also plays a role-some kids feel more comfortable with a parent who has a similar personality or style of interacting. Or, if a child is dealing with a special circumstance, such as moving or starting school, he or she may gravitate toward the parent who is calmer and more reassuring.

Whatever the reason, this creates a tense situation and whichever parent is left out at that moment feels rejected, resentful and usually inadequate. In families with younger children, it also creates logistic problems because it's difficult to divide the feeding, bathing and bedtime routines between two parents when a child wants to interact with only one of them

Babies between 6- and 12-months old typically get so used to the routines established by their primary caregiver-whether it's Mom or Dad-- they don't like it when things are done another way. And, of course, when babies are tired, have a cold or are teething, they prefer to be comforted by one or the other parent.

At somewhere around 8 months, babies start to exhibit a wariness towards strangers and cling to the caregiver who interacts with them most and who is likely to be the mother. The mommy attachment is strongest around 9-to-13 months as babies go through a period of separation anxiety, according to Dr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.