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What to do if your child prefers your partner more?

Team StoryWeavers|June 21, 2022, 17:17 IST|

What to do if your child prefers one parent?

“I want Dad to tuck me in the bed tonight. Not you!”

“I only want Mommy. Not you!”

Most parents may have experienced their child saying something to this effect at some point in their parenting journey. It is a fairly common occurrence among young children. However, dealing with it becomes critical so that both parents can share their parenting duties while relying on each other. Furthermore, teaching a child to respect both parents is essential for their overall development. 

What to do when your child favours one parent over another?

There are multiple reasons why a child could prefer one parent over the other. It can be simply because one parent does some things better than the other. No matter what, this favouring of one parent over another needs to be addressed. Here are some tips that can help:

  • It is okay for the non-preferred parent to feel sad or doubt their parenting abilities. They need to remind themselves that it has nothing to do with them. 
  • The preferred parent may wish to comply with the child’s wish to avoid a difficult situation, but doing so will only strengthen the child’s resolve of wanting only one parent to perform certain parenting tasks. 
  • Parents should not give in to the request made by the child of being taken care of only by the preferred parent. They need to be firm and communicate their stand to the child. You can say something like — I understand that you want <insert preferred parent> to perform <the task at hand>. I know it is hard that <insert preferred parent> is not here to do that. Today, I will help you to <the task at hand>.
  • Parents should also try to understand the reasons behind preferring one parent over another and make changes accordingly. If the reasons are simple, such as the preferred parent enacts songs better or tells a story at bedtime better, then they can be rectified. 
  • It may help to schedule a special time with your child on a daily basis to strengthen your connection with them. It may include special activities that you both enjoy. 
  • The preferred parent needs to also understand that the non-preferred parent will feel hurt by this rejection. The preferred parent also needs to support the non-preferred parent and remind them of things that they do well and the approaches that make them unique. 

Like everything else, it is important for parents to present a united front to their children. Parents should remember that it is likely to be a phase that children go through. They should not take this to their heart. As always, it’s important to be consistent in your parenting approach and keep showing up for your children. 

Did you find these tips helpful? Have you faced something similar? How did you tackle the situation? Let us know in the comments below. 


Arnall, J. L. (2018). Attachment Parenting Tips, Raising Toddlers To Teens. Canada: Judy Arnall. 

Also read, 

About the Author

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!

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