Toddler Prefers Dad Over Mom? 8 Rules To Fix This Now

For mom, it is heartbreaking. 

You put your body on the line to carry a child for 9 months, but now it feels like you are being rejected!

You want your toddler to give you some affection, that’s all.

It does not have to be that way. In this post, I will look at why a toddler prefers dad over mom and what you can do to improve it!

Why Does My Toddler Want Nothing To Do With Me?

why does my toddler not like Mom
Reasons why your toddler might not like Mom at the moment.

Are you fun enough?

Toddlers love playing, but sometimes life’s chores get in the way.

Your toddler doesn’t understand that. I have lost count of the number of times I have explained to my son that:

‘Yes, I have to work, or we can’t afford to pay the bills’ or;

‘I can’t play right now, if I don’t do this laundry then you will have nothing to wear’

Life is easy for a toddler. They do not understand the importance of menial daily chores, which have to be done. They only want to play and eat!

Do you shout too much?

A toddler may prefer dad over mom because of how they are treated. It is time to consider whether or not you shout too much.

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I understand that it is not easy to stop shouting at your toddler; they do their best to poke at you until you bite!

Are you a pushover?

Toddlers also enjoy a challenge. If they see you as a pushover, they may not need to communicate with you too much.

Usually, it is only when they want something because they know mom will give it to them.

Do you teach them?

Your toddler’s brain is at the development stage, where it is optimal for learning.

Not only should you be taking advantage to improve their development, but you should also feed their hunger to learn.

If your toddler views dad as a source of all knowledge, they will go to him a lot more to feed their thirst for knowledge.

Do you pay your toddler enough attention?

There are 2 ways a toddler will react to a parent who does not give them the required attention.

  1. Become needy and pay too much attention
  2. Withdraw and seek attention elsewhere, usually in the form of another parent. In this case, dad.

Do you listen to them?

I was sitting in a coffee shop with a Flat White a few days ago. Sometimes, I like to sit and people-watch.

As I looked around the room, I noticed a few families that looked pretty stressed!

One parent had their nose deeply implanted in their smartphone, completely ignoring their child, who was desperate for attention.

Another parent (a different family) was doing something much worse. Constantly interrupting their toddler as they were attempting to speak.

How would it make you feel if you were constantly interrupted?

If it were me, I would avoid communicating with that person. If I were a toddler and mom constantly interrupted me, I would prefer dad over mom!

Toddler Prefers Dad Over Mom? Try These 8 Tips

tips if your Toddler prefers Dad
Follow these tips to get back to family synergy!

Be Fun

This is number one on the list of things you can do if your toddler prefers dad over mom!

Toddlers, 100%, love to play. All of the time! If you are fun, then they will want to play with YOU.

I know it is a challenge because a grown-up brain is much less imaginative than a toddler’s brain, but you must give it a try!

Be Educational

Toddlers need to learn. 90% of a child’s brain is developed before they reach 5. Take advantage.

Your toddler will have a tremendous thirst for knowledge, and it is your job to quench the thirst.

By becoming a teacher, and a font of knowledge to your toddler, they will respond with respect and admiration.

Pay Attention

Pay attention to your toddler. If you notice them playing, coloring, or drawing on their own, go over and ask what they are up to.

See also  How Do Toddlers Show Empathy? By using These 6 Ways

Be interested in what your toddler is doing, and they will feel much better about life! Get your toddler to interact with you.

Do Not Be A Pushover

As a parent, it is essential that you do not allow your child to get what they want all the time.

I know it is much easier to shut them up by saying yes all the time, but it is not doing you any favors in the longer term!

You know this.

Stand firm when your child constantly demands things, and they will respect you.

Only Shout When It Is Needed

The more you shout at a toddler, the less they will listen.

I know it isn’t easy. Toddlers push and push until they get a reaction from you!

However, when all you do is shout, it becomes normal behavior, and shouting loses its power.

Not only will you lose the ability to get a preferred reaction from shouting (i.e., they listen), but your toddler will copy what you do and shout back.

It is a learned behavior.

Listen To Them

It would help if you empowered your toddler to think they have interesting things to say. The only way you can do this is by allowing them to speak.

Do not interrupt what they are saying. Interrupting a toddler will lead to frustration and behavioral issues.

When a toddler is frustrated, it may lead to biting, amongst other things!

If your toddler prefers dad over mom, it is worth considering whether or not mom allows them to speak.

Reason With Them

When mom says no, dad always says yes; your toddler will prefer dad over mom. It is natural.

There is another option, though. What if your toddler prefers dad because he explains why the answer is no?

It is fine to say no because you have to stand firm to create respect for your toddler; however, if you say no and offer a reason, your toddler will respect you more.

Not only that, but it will also teach your toddler to reason, which is a vital life skill.

Be Loving

Please don’t take this the wrong way; I am not assuming you are not loving!

Sometimes, when a toddler prefers dad over mom, it may lead to mom withdrawing. Because it hurts, right?

Well, suck it up!

Mom, you must continue offering love and affection, even when your love is spurned! It is tough, but the more you withdraw, the wider the rift is between mom and toddler.

Helping Mom Cope With Toddler Rejection

helping Mom cope with toddler rejection
It is dad’s job to help mom cope if she is feeling rejected by her toddler!

When your toddler prefers dad over mom, dad must offer support to improve the situation.

It is in dad’s best interests that your toddler has equal respect for both parents. Sure, it is a confidence booster for dad, but it is far from ideal. Dad, you risk burnout if you are the go-to parent. Support mom, and share the load!

See also  7 Ways To Get Your Toddler To Interact With You

You both must sit down and discuss how you will approach this behavioral change. Consider the tips above.

Whichever route you are going to take to improve this situation, always stand together and work as a team.

If you see your toddler playing well with mom, dad does something else in a different room. You will be a distraction while mom heals the rift with your toddler.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a Toddler rejecting Mom after a new baby arrives?

Your toddler has been used to having mom all to themselves. A new baby has arrived, and mom is busy being a mom!

This can make a toddler feel like mom has been taken away or even rejected. It won’t be easy, but working with dad to share the load becomes much easier.

Do Toddlers prefer one parent?

Toddlers go through phases in life. One week they will prefer dad, the next week, it will be mom. This is absolutely nothing to worry about.

It is a concern when a few weeks go by, and your toddler has not switched back! Work through the tips on this page to bring them back on track.

Parents, you need to support each other throughout this phase. Do not show off. Nobody likes a show-off!

Why does my toddler only listen to Dad?

A toddler will only listen to dad for 3 reasons:

  1. Dad is seen as a font of all knowledge.
  2. Dad is a ‘yes-man.’ This needs to change.
  3. Dad has a deep voice. Those with deeper voices are seen to be more powerful and influential.

I suggest you share the load when teaching your child, and your toddler will respect both parents.


When your toddler prefers dad over mom, it can be heartbreaking for mom and tiring for dad. In this post, I have given 8 key tips on how you can improve this particular situation.

You may find that your

You must support each other during this time. Working together as a team is the only way you will get through this.

Talk to each other. Formulate a plan of attack, and don’t give up until you reach the promised land!

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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