Welcome to a new ongoing feature of the NAHDN blog, Dadvice, where we ask dads what they think.Have a question? Need some Dadvice? Curious what other dads have to say? Please send your question to blog@athomedad.org.

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After having three kids you would think that nothing would shock me. My kids adore me, I know that but my three year old said something to me that really hurt.

I HATE YOU! ” She screamed.

She’s only three and although I know it is a phase, it doesn’t sting any less. I know that there will probably come a time when she is older where these words will be spoken again, there is a very real possibility.

When my wife is home and especially around the holidays, my three year old wants her mommy to do everything. I can’t get her dressed without her putting up a fight. I can’t change her diaper without getting kicked in the breadbasket. I can’t put her to bed without a tantrum ensuing.

As a stay at home parent, many of us will say “Yes! FINALLY, I get a break.” but, how do you deal with the jealously when your child only likes one of you?

I spent 2-3 years with Mommy being the favorite and me being a distant second. Now, my four year old adores me and my two year old likes me a wee bit more than usual. I think it’s best to keep your cool and know it’s a temporary thing. Your wife will respect you for putting your emotions in check, and when the balance goes the other way and your kids are all about ‘Dad’ she’ll be able to remember your reaction and do the same. 
Christian Toto of Daddylibrium
 
My son (22 mos) tends to pick the parent that he first sees in the morning, which is funny, but not really jealousy inducing as it changes accordingly and neither of us gets left out for long. My daughter (5 yo), on the other hand, tends to favor one or the other for weeks on end and it can be tough to deal with. She told me not long ago, “I wish you could go to work and Mommy could stay home with us all the time, I like Mommy better.” I find the best way to deal with the issue is to not make a big deal about it. I speak on my feelings so she understands, but I don’t get on to her or try to “correct” her. I’ll say something like that, “Well, I think Mom is great too, but I have to admit it kind of hurts my feelings when you say something like that. Did you have a good time when we went to the Children’s museum yesterday? Did you like playing in the snow today? Well, it takes the team of Mommy and Daddy to make those kinds of things possible and we both do what we do because we love you equally.” I also, actually try to encourage one on one time with the child for both the “favorite” and the “outcast” of the week. We just can’t fall into the trap of letting little one’s whims hurt us. 
Eric of Dad On The Run
 
Our son favors whomever he thinks can meet his needs at the time. The other parent he treats like dirt. 
Chris VanDijk of Skinned Knees In Short Pants 
 
 I think the thing that helps us the most is promoting sharing. Playtime together, cleaning up together, bath time together, and the almost impossible Ipad time together. It seems to give us a base to work with. On the other hand, sometimes the jealousy is just an extension of trying to separate one parent from the other and act up to get a response. We make time to take them out for their own special time. That can be beneficial or backfire. Give an inch, take a mile, ya know? My wife and I communicate about what the current trends for them are and we try to stay consistent, so she does not feel taken advantage of. It helps relieve some of the stress brought on by the jealousy.  David Kepley of Just A Dad 247 
 
Well that is a hard one, my son always chooses his mom! It’s frustrating when she can’t hold him and I have to while we are together and he tries to claw his way out of my arms to get to her, all I can do is keep telling myself is that he is with me almost 24/7 and he only gets to see his mom every so often sometimes days without seeing her, with 12 hour shifts he wakes up after she leaves for work and goes to bed before she gets home. I have to be the bigger man so to say and know it’s not that he loves her more it’s just that he misses her when she is gone and wants to be with her as much as he can when she is home and off work.”  
Joe Hipple, SAHD
 

Do you have experience dealing with jealousy? How do you handle this issue?

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