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Our child is 1.5 years old. He has been sleeping next to his mum in a crib since birth and has grown up to be very attached to her, but as my wife has chronic diseases she gets too exhausted because now he wants her to hold him all the time.

Dad has been there always and the child is very naughty and confident but won't come to Dad or settle down, I have tried everything, Playing with blocks, got him new toys and everything I can think of. But after a while, he will go crying to mum and keep on crying.

This thing has totally frustrated and drained us. One thing he wants is to always play outside, but we live in an area where cars go by fast, so it is not safe.

What should I do to make him stop clinging to mum and come to me? Even at the night, he cries if I pick him up and just stays unsettled until mum feeds him.

Also, it hasn't been easy for him to get off breastfeeding as he will cry.

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    Are you sure fathers don't? I work from home half the day so I was always with both ours. I did all the night feedings when weening, and I tended to make their meals, take them to parks and all that. The bond was sort of just a byproduct of spending time together. The mother was at work, so it was just us. I guess alone time. Go on walks, point out weird plants, etc. Reading books and pointing out pictures. No time is too young, even for what seems like complex activities. – Kai Qing Jun 6 '17 at 23:01
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    Is this just an update (in this case, rather put it at the end of the question to leave the actual question intact) or an entirely new question (in this case, ask a new question and remove the update)? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Jun 1 at 12:31
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    There is a pattern here, yes, and a problem, but you have changed the "question" considerably. Please pose a new question (a specific one) and link to this original, rather than changing the question. Thanks. – anongoodnurse Jun 2 at 11:51
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    @Nofel - I would advise against it. Your update already broke all the answers, and the only reason this new question isn't closed is because there's a bounty on it. – anongoodnurse Jun 3 at 12:54
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    @Nofel - Good edit and well done! I think we may have miscommunicated. A rollback is a reversal of another person's edit. A reversion to the original is what you did ("...or something else?") and I would have been very happy to help you. In any case, this is very much better. – anongoodnurse Jun 4 at 13:43
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This is all down to quality time. If you want to build up the rapport your child has with you to match that he has with his mother, you need to spend time. This is not about blocks or new toys - it is about you interacting with your child. Playing, talking, cuddling, thinking - there is nothing that makes a mother's bond any different from a father's (if we exclude breastfeeding) that can't be fixed with proper time together.

Be there, play, don't always have mum in the background. Sometimes she needs to get out and leave you two together - this may upset your child at first, as he has a strong bond with her, but stick with it.

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    "there is nothing that makes a mother's bond any different from a father's (if we exclude breastfeeding)" I'd give you another upvote for this if I could! Society sometimes has too much faith on the (supposedly innate) mother's bond and too little faith on the father's. – learner101 Jun 7 '17 at 6:37
  • Mom and mom mother would come into rescue saying he won't settle with you. He even wants to go to the toilet with her mom. If he cries she says let it go. – Nofel Jun 7 '17 at 10:13
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    Crying is the baby's way of training you. You don't need to follow their training :-) – Rory Alsop Jun 7 '17 at 10:29
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    Well there's your problem. Mom and others are undermining your attempts to bond with the child. If she always gives in to the crying, then she needs to completely remove herself from the situation. Go to the store, go get a coffee, go get a haircut. Leave him alone with you for a time (a brief time, at first). Yes, he will be upset, but probably much less so when he realizes that mom isn't there to come give him what he wants. – Aravis Jun 7 '17 at 23:34
  • update - He is now 3 yrs old, and really ignorant of me, he won't listen. His uncle would come to rescue or aunt and it leaves me frustrated. I will update of the question too. – Nofel Jun 1 at 9:40
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I was also a crier around my dad as a kid, and I think it should light a red light under your radar, you may be doing something bad without knowing, it might not be intentional, you maybe even think that this is not a bad behavior, but for your child it clearly is. The fact that he/she ignores you reminds me of me and my disorder, maybe as a baby you made your interactions about yourself instead of her?

Im assuming that because I also ignored my dad and it kept going until age 16, the only interaction was orders from him. If a kid is ignoring you I can assume he has been hurt by you. I doubt they imagine it. Try to be honest with yourself with no judgement, just think objectively and try to think what is it that may be hurting him, and if you don't find out you owe it to your kid to figure it out, maybe in therapy.

Also I would recommend paying attention to how the kid functions socially, try to notice if he zones out a lot, a trauma with father can have effects on other areas of life, and it comes with exessive clinginess to mom.

  • "If a kid is ignoring you I can assume he has been hurt by you" - this is one possible explanation, but far from the only one (and IMHO, not the most likely explanation). The reason can be with the adult, with the child, or with both. I think simple statements like this do more harm than good. – sleske Jul 12 at 9:15

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