My 3-year-old is so mean to her dad

Ann Marie - posted on 03/06/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I was wondering if anyone has been through something like this. My 3-year-old daughter has always been a "mommy's girl", very attached to me, and very needy and clingy. That's just her personality. I work full-time, but whenever I'm in the house she doesn't want anything to do with anyone else. Sure, that sounds cute on the surface, but she's completely rude to the nanny, babysitter, and her father when I'm around. She says things like "no, no, you can't come in here!" "I don't want you, I want mommy." "Go away, daddy." "You can't hold me, mommy can hold me." "You can't go to the playground with us." She sometimes kicks or slaps them when they try to come over and be nice.

It's really hard on my husband. Of course he loves his little girls like crazy, and he's basically getting emotional abuse from my older daughter on a daily basis. There have been so many times when he came into the room to try to hang out with her and ended up leaving in frustration a minute or two later. It makes me cry sometimes to see it.

I make a conscious effort to say nice things about her father... to make sure she knows when he did something nice for her... to encourage them to do fun things together... to do more of the discipline... and still we get this every day. We've tried punishing her for being rude (like no story time when she kicks her dad out of the room at night), and also explaining what she *should* be doing ("when Daddy comes in the room, you should say "hi" to him and give him a hug").

Does anyone know what else we can do to make this better? Or what we might be doing to cause this without realizing it?

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Roxanne - posted on 04/12/2012

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This really sounds like us! My DD is 2 years old and is also very mean to Daddy, but to the point where she will be sitting on my lap and say 'ow, daddy hit me.' Of course this is not true. When i am around she doesnt want anything to do with him, but when it's just him and her they get on like a house on fire.

I dont know what to do. I really want them to have a good relationship but feel that by me interferring I am causing tension between my husband and myself because he sees my suugestions as critisism. Any advice will be appreciated

Brianne - posted on 03/09/2011

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Reading this it sounds like you're talking about my 3 year old! I guess it must be a phase. Some days she is great with Daddy, but most of the time its all mommy. Not only is it sad for my husband, but its exhausting for me! I pretty much force daddy time. There are certain things that I just don't do. He is in charge of her bath or shower every night. She loves it though, she loves her daddy, she misses him when he's gone, but when he is around she isn't very nice to him. Mostly its at bed time, I have to make her give him hugs and kisses goodnight. Its just part of the routine, if she wants hugs and kisses from me she needs them from Daddy too because that is what is fair. If she's nasty she gets in trouble. When she says mean things to him, we have a long talk about hurting feelings. I ask her how she would feel if Daddy said those things to her, like I don't want you, go away. It makes her sad and she usually tells him she is sorry.

Kelsey - posted on 03/25/2011

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im not sure about how long it can last m little sister is almost four and shes this way with my mom most of the time she is always wanting to be with her dad. i personally think it has to do with the child. sometimes a child does perfere to spend more ime with one parent than the other. it doesnt mean that they love one more than the other just that they migh enjoy the time they spend wih one parent more than the other. for eample a child might like spending time with dad more than mom because dad doesnt enforce the rules like mom does and might give in to buying them cany at the store if they have a fit or the child might like to spend more time with mom because she reads em story before bed and takes them to play with friends durng the day. all i have to sa i watch our childs behaviour with the other parent to see if they migh be doing/or not doing something that you do

Ann Marie - posted on 03/09/2011

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Kelsey - I saw a post in the "Related Conversations" that you put up in 2009. Sounds like something I could have written too. It's not really "a phase" like everyone tries to say when it goes on for years, is it?

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Ann Marie - posted on 03/28/2011

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So, the "backtalk" link I posted above seems to be helping. If DD is rude to her Dad she loses TV time for the rest of the day, right away. That seems to get through to her. She gets mad and cries but still starts being nicer. Also, if I remind her to be polite ("say Good Morning Daddy"), she usually will. She still has plenty of "bad days", but usually after she gets punished with no TV she'll be good for a couple of days. So that's progress.

Kelsey - posted on 03/06/2011

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i have a hard time with my daughter who is 2 sometimes with her father-she likes to hit and kick and says things like no hug me/kiss me. I try to tell her that i love daddy because daddy loves me and she should love daddy cuz daddy loves her too. I like you am away from home during the day i go to school full time and she spends the day with her dad and my parents. she is good as long as my mother is arround but she hates going to bed for him and i tend to come home to her screaming for me alot. i really dont know what to do to get her to stop i just gotta let you know that your not alone on this one i dont think it had anything with what we are doing as parents but all i can say is that ttry to work just daddy time into their routine- and i mean just daddy time. when my daughter spends time with her father i sometimes leave the house so its just them i take a quick run to the store or just go outside for a walk this way they have no choice but to stay with dad because moms not there

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