Advice from Hospital – ‘don’t look at your phone, look at your new-born’
Sue’s Tuppence Worth
I spoke to Vanessa Feltz of her BBC Radio London morning programme about the fury it caused putting up a sign in the Maternity Unit of the hospital that reminded parents in the Special Baby Unit to COME OFF THEIR PHONES ☹
Q. Hello Sue, I’ve read a few of your articles and I quite enjoy them. However, there is one lingering question that I have not found an answer to. But first, let me lay out my situation. My wife stays at home with our almost 4-year-old daughter and our 15-month-old son. We are also pregnant with another due in July. I have a decent work schedule which allows me to spend a good deal of time with the family. We are a Christian household and our daughter loves everything gospel-related. I like to think of my wife and I as good, loving parents who are generally patient and very involved. I’d also say that aside from this topic, my wife and I have a fantastic relationship. My dilemma is this (been going on for over 2 years): My daughter insists on having mom do everything from car seats, putting on clothes, sitting by her at dinner, etc. I have read about this clinginess subject often but I still have this one question. When putting her to bed, my wife and I take turns, both with the same routine. When it’s my wife’s turn, things typically go smoothly. When it’s my turn, its nearly always a tantrum. Although I am calm and patient, our daughter will scream and cry until my wife finally comes in to save her. I view this as undermining any authority that I may have (which I know is damaging to kids), dividing between my wife and I (also harmful) and reinforcing to the idea that Dad=Bad and Mom=Good. In all clinginess articles, it seems like the author gives kids an “out” by feeling unsafe, insecure, a new situation, etc. I believe none of those apply in this scenario. I sincerely believe that I am a loving and engaged father. What should we do? Should I no longer put my daughter to sleep? Should we keep taking turns and allowing my wife to “save” my daughter? Should Mom be unavailable during bedtime (this is what I would like to do)? How does the harm caused by not being with Mom compare to the harm of Dad not having authority/notable division between parents? Now, what I have described has been the median bedtime situation. This also spills over into many other scenarios but bedtime is the most common. Occasionally I get frustrated and I have to tap myself out but this has never been due to my daughter, but pressure from my wife. I could calmly handle tantrums all day. What are your thoughts? Paul Hancock
It’s not uncommon for children to prefer one parent over the other. Sometimes this is due to a change in the parenting roles: a move, a new job, or a divorce or it’s just a phase. During these transitions, mums and dads may change who does the bedtime, or who gets breakfast, or who does the day-care pickup.
Sometimes, a preference comes around the birth of a new baby. One parent cares more for the toddler, while the other parent spends more time with the older children.
And sometimes, it’s just because daddy does more fun time bath times. Or mummy tells better bedtime stories.
Regardless of the reason, being rejected by your child hurts.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to survive this difficult stage.