Last updated on Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:22 pm

How do I assist in bettering daddy and daughter’s relationship? She is 30 months and has  for the past year been pushing dad away or saying things like “go-away”. She does not want to greet him in the mornings and also when he gets home. She almost seems to warm up to him and then plays for hours with him.  I could understand her behaviour if he was a loud, over bearing type of person but I’m the one that does most of the discipline and am stricter than he is.

I honestly don’t know where this behaviour stems from and I don’t know how to fix it. I’m afraid that if I don’t intervene and correct this behaviour towards her dad that he might develop some kind of block or something that might prevent their relationship from growing. It really hurts him when she continuously pushes him away and I believe he is about to give up on their relationship.

My other daughter is six months old and I wouldn’t want a repeat of this with her growing into a little girl and copying her sister, so it is imperative that I do something now.

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Freud identified what he called the oedipal complex around this age, where generally the daughter pushes the mom away and wants to be with dad exclusively, and the son pushes his dad away and wants to be with his mom. The reason children do this Freud explains, is that the daughter sees her mom as a threat to her relationship with her dad and  the same goes for the son, who sees his dad as a threat to his relationship with his mom. Your little one could in the same way be jealous of the attention dad gives you when he comes home and she may see him as a threat to the bond you have with her.

In addition, if your daughter has been separated from you all day, she is needing to attach to you her primary care giver and therefore needs to be with you in the evenings and doesn’t want to be separated from you. Your  husband could also be apprehensive about being rejected by your daughter and she is sensing that he doesn’t feel confident around her, which would make her feel insecure and anxious, and more clingy.

It is imperative that your husband does not give up on his relationship with his daughter as she needs her dad as much as her mom, and it is through developing a close bond with her father that she will be protected from seeking attention from other men when she is older. If dad can try not to take the rejection personally and understand that at this point in your daughter’s life she may be needing to attach to you more in order to feel safe, but that it will not always be like this, it may help him to relax, and assist you in other ways.

I would recommend you try to get home an hour before dad does if you are working all day and spend quality one-on-one time with your daughter holding her and giving her the attention she needs. Then when her father comes home tell him about all the wonderful things she has been doing and encourage him to fuss over her. Involve him by saying something such as let’s go kick a ball outside and get dad to join you. Then praise his excellent ball skills and if you can, leave them to play  alone for while or sit on the sidelines and watch. On the weekends try to leave your daughter alone with her father while you go and spoil yourself. Start with 10 minutes if your daughter is reluctant to leave you, and gradually increase the time. Avoid phoning your husband while you are out or criticising him when you get back. It is important that your husband feels confident that he can cope with your daughter alone. Even a family outing to the zoo or a park can provide an opportunity for your husband and daughter to do things alone, such as feed the ducks while you read a book or set up the picnic.

Always consciously think of ways to encourage the bond between your daughter and your husband by focusing on your husband’s strengths. Acknowledge your partner’s feelings of sadness when he is rejected and remind him how important he is in her life and that soon this phase will ease and your little girl will want to be with him more.

Freud identified what he called the oedipal complex around this age, where generally the daughter pushes the mother away and wants to be with dad exclusively, and the son pushes his dad away and wants to be with his mother. The reason children do this Freud explains is that the daughter sees her mom as a threat to her relationship with her father and same for the son seeing his dad as a threat to his relationship with his mother.  Your little one could in the same way  be jealous of the attention dad gives you when  he comes home and she may see him as a threat to the bond you have with her.

In addition, if your daughter has been separated from you all day she is needing to attach to you her primary care giver and therefore needs to be with you in the evenings and doesn’t want to be separated from you. Your  husband could also be apprehensive about being rejected by your daughter and she is sensing that he doesn’t feel confident around her,  which would make her feel insecure  and anxious, and  more clingy.

It is imperative that your husband does not give up on his relationship with his daughter as she needs her dad as much as her mom, and it is through developing a close bond with her father that she will be protected from seeking attention from other men when she is older. If dad can try not to take the rejection personally and understand that at this point in your daughter’s life she may be needing to attach to you more in order to feel safe, but that it will not always be like this, it may help him to relax, and assist you in other ways.

I would recommend you try to get home an hour before dad does if you are working all day and spend quality one on one time with your daughter holding her and giving her the attention she needs. Then when her father comes home tell him about all the wonderful things she has been doing and encourage him to fuss over her. Involve him by saying something such as let’s go kick a ball outside and get dad to join you. Then praise his excellent ball skills and if you can n leave them to play  alone for while or sit on the sidelines and watch. On the weekends try to leave your daughter alone with her father while you go and spoil yourself. Start with 10 minutes if your daughter is reluctant to leave you, and gradually increase the time. Avoid phoning your husband while you are out or criticising him when you get back. It is important that your husband feels confident that he can cope with your daughter alone.  Even a family outing to the zoo or a park can provide an opportunity for your husband and daughter to do things alone, such as feed the ducks while you read a book or set up the picnic.

Always consciously think of ways to encourage the bond between your daughter and your husband by focusing on your husband’s strengths. Acknowledge your partner’s feelings of sadness when he is rejected and remind him how important he is in her life and  that soon this phase will ease and your little girl will want to be with him more. Have a look at my piece under ‘Q&A Adults’ : ‘Dad’s improving your relationship with your children.

Article by: Claire Marketos www.inspiredparenting.co.za