For many parents, around the time their child becomes a toddler, there is a strain on the relationship.
Your toddler might show signs of resentment and might want nothing to do with you.
This can be quite mentally straining, but there are ways to address the issue.
Your parenting doesn’t ruin your relationship, your toddler doesn’t hate you, and it’s not the end of the line.
Here are some helpful tips on addressing your toddler’s resentment and overcoming this phase in your relationship with them.
My Toddler Wants Nothing To Do With Me? Why?
First, let’s take a look at the root cause of this resentment.
Why is your toddler showing signs of resentment and disdain towards you and not your partner?
This Choice Might Be Random
You could be asking yourself, “Why me? Why not my partner?”
Well, unfortunately, this choice was probably random. In most cases, when a toddler begins to show affection towards one parent and complete disdain for the other, that choice was made at random.
We’ll mention why a bit later on, but for now, take solace knowing that this wasn’t because of you as a parent but rather due to luck.
For whatever reason, it seems that the choice typically falls on mommy and not dad. Many toddlers begin to choose the father or “father-figure” in the relationship (if there is a presenting “father-figure”) as the parent that they cling to.
The mother or “mother-figure” will be more likely to take the brunt of the push. However, it’s not uncommon for the father to be pushed away during this phase. Sometimes toddlers only want mommy!
One Parent Might Spend More Time with the Toddler
While the choice might be random, it could also be based on who spends more time with your toddler.
For many couples, your child has a primary parent that they spend most of their time with.
Your toddler could feel safer around that parent and may choose them as the one they build their relationship with during this phase.
You might notice that the opposite is the case – your toddler chooses the parent they spend less time with.
This could be due to a few things:
- They chose the parent who helps them most in times of crisis. If one parent handles the night shift of parenting, they might become the favorite throughout this phase.
- The toddler has spent plenty of time with you and begins to focus their independence on getting away from you.
- It’s completely random.
The most common cause for this phase in toddlers – and yes, it’s just a phase, mom – is because they’re growing in independence, and it showcases itself in the toddler’s relationships.
Once your toddler becomes a toddler – maybe before, maybe after – they begin to develop a sense of independence which manifests in many different ways. For some, that independence manifests by pushing one parent away.
This could even be a sign that your relationship with your toddler is already strong, and they innately know that, even when pushing the relationship to its limits, everything will be okay in the end.
It’s just a phase of independence, and your toddler will come back to you soon, don’t worry.
How to Fix Your Relationship
So now that you’ve addressed what might be causing this strained relationship with your toddler, it’s time to fix the issues.
Here are a few tips on easing the process and rebuilding your relationship with your toddler.
You may need to experiment and try combos of these tips to help reach your toddler and address the issues.
This will take time, and you may feel as though no progress is being made.
Don’t give up, as that could lead to further, more difficult-to-fix relationship problems.
Quality Time Goes a Long Way
I understand that this will certainly not be the fix for everyone, and it might make the situation worse in some cases.
Forcing quality time will cause resentment, which will further the divide between you and your toddler.
However, if your toddler shows signs that this strained relationship is due to a lack of time spent and affection given rather than the independence phase mentioned earlier, then perhaps slowly introducing more and more quality time will bridge the gap you’re seeing.
It’s essential to take it slowly, as introducing a drastic change can be jarring for both you and your toddler.
Start by taking up one task that your partner has been doing for the toddler each day. Slowly increase the amount of time spent with your toddler.
If there is push back, take a step back and rest where they were comfortable for a couple of days before increasing the quality time.
Wait it Out
This might be one of the last things you want to hear, but waiting it out is one of the most effective ways of combating this strain in the relationship with your toddler.
This is likely just a phase your toddler is going through where they’re experiencing their independence, and it’s up to you to keep the relationship alive when it seems as though your toddler doesn’t want to.
Eventually, like the flip of a switch, your toddler will begin to show their love and affection for you once again, and your relationship will return to normal.
This process of pushing away is an entirely normal thing for toddlers to undergo and will only last for a short time. Toddlers are too young to focus on both parents actively, so they’re likely to choose one over the other at this stage. Unfortunately, you were the unlucky parent, but this too shall pass.
Address Your Anxieties
Being anxious may lead to an anxious child.
While you wait for the phase to pass by, there are some things that you can do to help push it along.
Though you won’t be able to force the phase to end so that you can start/continue building your relationship, some things will make the whole process easier on both you and your toddler.
Start by avoiding punishments for this behavior as it will only cause resentment on both sides. Be gentle and reinforce your love for each other with affirmation and quality time.
Remember the good things between the two of you.
This can be quite taxing on your mental state as a parent to have the thing you love most in this world act as if it hates you.
Remember that this isn’t a reflection of you, this isn’t a reflection of them, and this will pass eventually. In the meantime, think about the moments between you and your toddler that bring both of you joy.
- When did they last laugh with you?
- What activities make you both smile?
Remembering the excellent time will ease the process.
If your toddler wants nothing to do with you, then it can lead to a strained relationship. It’s your job to course-correct this before it gets to a point where your future bond suffers.
Use the tips in this article to help your son or daughter see the benefit of being close to all parents or caregivers!
Spend time with your toddler, play with them, connect with them.
Kids go through phases as they grow up, and this might be one of them.