My son prefers me to my husband: Advice?

my toddler seems to greatly prefer me to my husband, which I know is not unusual, but it’s starting to hurt my husband’s feelings. He’ll say things like “I don’t like Daddy.”, and I know he doesn’t really mean it but he has been saying it. He doesn’t want to play with him as much, even though my husband tries to play with him and when we try to read to him together he’ll say “Good night Daddy. Close the door.” We ignore this and my husband helps me read to him anyway. Now he’s stopped saying that at least, but it’s all getting a bit much. I’m sure one day this will be reversed and I won’t be his favourite anymore, but I can see how hard this is for my husband and I was wondering if anyone had any advice. Our son is a single child, for now.


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. My son prefers me to my husband: Advice?

Maybe some daddy son alone time? Whether you leave the house or they do, just a special time for them. Tell to him about nice words and that you can’t take back mean words and your son wouldn’t like if something similar were said to him. We don’t want to hurt the people we love. Physically or verbally.


Take a girls trip and make it to where he only sees dad for a couple of days. It may feel like a crappy thing to do but it gives you a break and gives dad time to bond with him. Just make sure your husband actually does stuff with him, take him out to eat, go Peter piper pizza, go to the park, go let him buy a new book at Walmart that only his dad reads to him. Make it a memorable boys weekend with dad. Everything will work out. :heartbeat:


Have dad do things alone with him. Let dad do the reading at night. If dad works all day and you are always there they get more dependent on you.


My girls went through this my oldest always wanted her dad my youngest was attached to me…just have dad do more things with him alone outside the house so he sees its fun with dad…

He is learning how to set his own boundaries.


You could switch on and off instead of helping each other and doing things together, giving him alone time with each of you.


Leave your son with your husband for a weekend. Or at least a full day from before he wakes up to after he falls asleep.

Have dad do some one on one things with him. Zoo, movies, special book to r÷ad from.

We are going through the EXACT same thing :woozy_face::upside_down_face: our son apparently told his dad that he wishes he wasn’t here and that he would leave and it’s like all your dad is trying to do is play with you or help you with something and it’s just NO MOM :unamused: he’s kinda getting better after telling him that it’s not okay the way he’s been treating his dad but there is days where he acts the same and wants nothing to do with his dad

I always model kindness and explain that it hurts Daddy’s feelings when we say that. Ive even said…ok, if you wont read with Daddy, then I will because I want to be kind. I think it is a natural phase they go through but we dont allow family members to be unkind.


Have you asked your son why he says it? Yes I get he is a toddler but talking with him may make you understand why. Tell your son that what he says hurts daddy’s feeling and that daddy loves him. Have your husband do things alone with him and take him out on father-son activities.


Maybe alone time with dad, like an evening walk together each night :heart: I’m going through this myself except he is attached to his daddy, it hurts my heart too, I try to do little things with him just him and I.

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I have the same problem. Our 3 year old boy has told my husband, his daddy at least twice in the last week that he didn’t love him then turns around and tells me he loves me. He won’t let daddy do things for him, etc. He us stuck with me 95% of the time,honestly should say 99% of the time. As much as daddy works and as much as he needs to do around the house(outside), I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve told him it’s not nice and makes daddy sad. Last night I told him if he couldn’t hug daddy the shouldn’t hug me either. Asked him if that made him sad, he said yes, I told him that’s how he makes daddy feel. I gave him the opportunity to come hug us both before going to sleep and he wouldn’t do it. He wanted to hug me but would hug daddy, to hug me. I wound up giving him a kiss while he was half asleep cause yeah it made me sad to…just at my wits end on what to do. I explain daddy loves you very much and he just says no.

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They all go through a phase like this. The goal is to reassure your husband and to correct your child. We don’t talk to daddy like that…we love daddy etc and they need to see you giving affection to each other.  Where I notice the two of them getting distant they have a day together where they go out to lunch and do something fun.

K guys relax it’s totally normal. You don’t have to push it or make the kid feel bad about his actions. At 3 the word “like” is more important than love. It changes through the years. However if your the primary caregiver then it’s normal for the child to prefer you they just don’t have a lot of examples on how to say this. Instead think about how you react to things you prefer and the words you use. Also think about how you react to not liking or wanting something. They are parrots.
Right now liking spaghetti is as important as liking mommy because the child is figuring out their own voice.
Maybe when he’s not the happy perfect child you tend to deal with it better and the child remembers that he can be his emotional inept self. Learning to put feelings and words together are hard at this age. If the dad was a partime helper due to work and age of the baby then it’s totally normal that when the dad wants to help now that the child can interact back it won’t be met with the same happiness.
You aren’t the 24/7 constant saviour.
Your the 3-4 hour a day Disneyland dad (not intended)
and sometimes that doesn’t resonate as calm tired mode. Or comfort or resonates as running jumping fun. It’ll be ok it changes as the brain develops. Just remember a child doesn’t have frontal lobe development until about 5-11 years old so they can only have one emotion at a time. They can want mommy for comfort and their brain doesn’t even acknowledge dad being insulted or sad. And you can’t tell the child that or they’ll will becomes that person that always is to please people even when they do t feel that way

It’s normal and changes with the wind

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Leave him home alone with daddy more so they can bond. During this alone time dad needs to pull out all the big fun stuff not just chill. He’s got to see dad to be just as fun and loving as mom.

Dad needs some 1 on 1 time with him without you around so that he can learn to lean on him too. Dad’s can seem a little more intimidating than mom’s do and he just needs time to learn to feel as comfortable with dad as he does with you and he does that by spending quality time, sadly, without you. I have 5 boys, each boy has gone through this phase, we just helped them through it by daddy making a really sad face when one of them would say something like I don’t want daddy or only mommy, etc and then explain that when they say that it hurts daddy’s feelings very much because he loves them more than anything and me escaping to a nice hot bubble bath while they would play catch in the yard, time at the park, out getting ice cream, playing trucks or blocks, just anything where I wasn’t around.

It’s normal and will pass. A toddler doesn’t really grasp the gravity of that statement. He’s simply saying he prefers you.

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Do you ever leave them to have alone time? He might just be super close to you. My 3 yo is like that with me but I need to go he has no choice but to stay with dad but definitely prefers me…

I don’t know how old your son is, but we had the opposite problem. Our youngest preferred my husband (his dad) to me. Then it flipped and he preferred me to my husband. He’s 5 now and it’s about an even split

All kids go through that it is just a phase. Next month he may prefer Daddy and not you.

Let him do stuff with him like read to him,play outside,go to the park…

Maybe have a day out of the week where they go spend time together alone (Ice cream, the park, or just for a walk)

A child should never be responsible for an adults feelings. Your husband needs to get thicker skin and understand it’s a phase And ask the child directly hey what do you not like buddy? Maybe daddy’s too loud maybe daddy plays too hard. Let the child tell you why and give the child empowerment. Don’t make the child responsible for a grown ass man’s feelings. That’s manipulative and abusive

Good night daddy close the door sounds like hubby should do as he’s told :joy: