As your toddler begins to age you may eventually come across a phase where your child is picking favorites. Now, when you’re the child’s favorite you may not be quite so concerned (KIDDING!) but if you’re the parent that is being left out you may feel the sting of rejection. During this period of development it is important to keep in mind that your toddler is beginning to note the differences between you and your partner and what sort of emotions and feelings they receive from either one of you. If your child is beginning to choose favorites there are a couple of steps that you can take in order to reassess the situation and remove the favoritism from your child’s train of thought.
It is very important not to take the issue very personally when your child begins to vocalize their feelings. At this age children are not masters at tact, they may say a lot of distasteful things without realizing that they are causing any damage or hurt feelings. It is important to stay levelheaded and to allow the situation to remedy itself. Showing that you are hurt or upset will only cause confusion and unrest between you and your child, which may make them draw away from you. Finding something that you both can participate in together is a great way to promote bonding time between you and your child. Whether it be playing chutes and ladders or going out to the beach for the day, finding out what your child enjoys doing and doing it with them will help to increase your parental and child bond.
The more of an effort you make to bond with your child the more comfortable and closer your child will feel around you. Your child’s choice of favorites may simply just be an expression of their feelings toward you possibly not being around enough. Setting up routine systems may also help you gain the good graces of your toddler. Young children respond positively to routines because they enjoy the comfort of predictability. It will help if you and your partner set up specific routines of what you each are responsible for doing. For example, if your partner bathes your child before bed it could be your responsibility to dry them off and comb out the tangles in their hair. Remember, when your child is choosing favorites, taking it personally will only outcast you both from one another. The best choice is to take it like an adult and begin to make an effort to bond with your child even more.