Child says he doesn't like Daddy!

[deleted account] ( 35 moms have responded )

My 3 year-old son has started randomly saying mean things to my husband. They will be playing nicely together all afternoon, then all of a sudden he'll say things like "I don't want you to tuck me in Daddy." or "I don't like you. I think you should leave!" When I ask him why, he just says "I don't love Daddy." It completely crushes my husband, who feels like he must be a bad father who can't connect with his kids. I don't understand why he would say such things. I know that he loves his Daddy. Has anyone else out there ever dealt with this?

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Shannon - posted on 10/20/2009

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My 4 year old daughter does that to her father. I think it's because I'm a stay at home mom and he works. So he's not home to spend a lot of time with her and when he is home he also has to spend time with our 3 month old son. Plus he is the one to really discipline and hates that. So she says daddy doesn't love her and he's not getting Christmas gifts. I ask her why she says that and she told me it's because daddy yelled at me. I think us women make the daddy's out to be the bad guys so the kids really dislike them.

Stacey - posted on 10/09/2009

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I can tell you that this is definately a stage. Both of my kids, at around 3-5 used these words to try to hurt me when they were upset. I knew they were only trying to get a reaction out of me. My suggestion to you is to reply with, "thats ok, I still love you". This lets them know that it does not bother you when they say it and love is unconditional. My kids would actually be upset that I said this back to them because they werent getting the reaction they wanted. They would even tell me they hated me again and everytime they would get the same response. Eventually they would tell me they hate when I (put them in time out)..Which I would respond, "well I still love you when you do things that I dont like"

[deleted account]

Sounds familiar! My 4 year old son has been demanding that "I want Mummy to buckle me up / get me a drink / bath me / help me with my pyjamas for about the last year or so. It's not all the time, but at least once a day, if not 2 or 3 times. Our 2 year old son has only just started doing it too. We usually ignore the behaviour and daddy does it anyway (with children screaming like they were being tortured!). We then redirect by asking them about something completely different - what did you do today / what can you see out the window etc. This usually works and the tantrums stop. A parenting course that I recently undertook outlined that this is NORMAL behaviour and that the majority of children will go through favouring one parent or the other at some point in their early years. It is also a way of testing the amount of power they have over you - so don't give in - be firm, and always let them know that you both love them no matter what they do.

[deleted account]

The funny thing about 3 year olds- they rarely know what they're saying or what it means. He is just trying to get a rise out of you, and my bet is it works! Next time he says something like this, you might try "you don't have to like us, but you still have to do what we say" or something along those lines. My sons have all proclaimed their hatred of me at different points, but none of them really meant it. What I would like to stress though is not telling him he is wrong or it's not nice to say he hates someone. If that's how he feels at that moment, then so be it. Just cause you and Daddy don't like it doesn't make it not how he feels. Let him know under no circumstances is Daddy ever leaving and he ought to get used to it. :D He's simply making a play for power...

Karin - posted on 10/11/2009

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Just a thought, but maybe there is nothing wrong with daddy, maybe your son is just really close to you? Maybe he is jealous of daddy in his own little 3-year old way. Maybe he prefers you over him for no particular reason at all other that you are just a great mom (mom's are typically the primary caregiver. It is normal for kids to be closer to mom than dad) Have you discussed this with your pediatrition?

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[deleted account]

i woulnt say we make them to be the bad guys.. i think its natural for daddy to have more "fear" if you will .. b/c he has more dominating voice tone than moms.. but its still a good thing, i know that when my husband disciplines my boys listen to him a lil quicker than to me most times lol.. but also my husband works hard for us and is travelling a lot

Sharon - posted on 10/20/2009

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I'm just going to toss my agreement in - its a phase.



Admonish him that it isn't nice and it hurts feelings. Remove yourself from him until he can be nice. An apology would be great but I'm not sure a 3 yr old can do that.



Its common and with some steering, he'll grow out of it.

[deleted account]

i wouldnt think that theres something bad going on bt him and daddy, he may have gotten mad b/c he go told no by dad or something silly.. that age, wouldnt be suprised, kids that age are really just seeing what happens with actions.. nothing wrong with talking to him about it, esp have dad talk to him and see what the reason is.. but i totally agree with the attention thing and him being mad b/c of being told no or whatever, no big i dont think

[deleted account]

Thank you everyone for your responses! We have been talking it through with him (letting him know that words are hurtful and trying to get him to talk about his feelings) and also trying to make sure Daddy has some more fun time with him too. It seems to be helping. I am a stay at home Mom and his older brother went through a stage of resenting that Daddy "left us" and went to work every day, he just expressed it differently. Maybe there's a bit of that going on too. Thanks again to everyone who posted. You gave me good stuff to think about!

[deleted account]

Our daughter acts that way majority of the time. My guess is that it was because he was deployed for awhile and it was just the 2 of us. So I always say..she makes it a love and hate relationship. It does hurt her dad when she treats him rotten of course, but I try to reassure him and tell him to give it time. Try to suggest a daddy and me time each week and step out of the circle. I've seen how it's done good for our daughter's relationship with her dad.

[deleted account]

It looks like this post & its responses are proof that every child is different, and each child may need a different route when it comes to handling situations. I posted earlier that punishing my child did NOT work, and refusing to get upset/mad did work, but what worked for my child may not work for another, and the reasons that my child was acting out may not be the same reason another child misbehaves. I guess I'll just say that if one potential solution doesn't work, then try another, and you'll just have to be patient until you find the right solution for your little guy. If it continues to get worse, you can always mention it to your pediatrician, because I'm guessing that they are familiar with behaviors and/or phases. I know my pediatrician has pretty much heard it all. :) Good luck!

[deleted account]

Actually, we have never had that problem. At least, not with our three daughters (our son is 13 months and cannot talk yet). I'm not sure why your child is doing this, but I think it's to see what reaction he will get from daddy. Maybe he just needs reassurance that no matter what he says or does, daddy will still love him and won't leave him. He may be missing daddy during the day when he's at work, or may be jealous of the time daddy spends with mommy. Either way, the best advice is to have your husband say something like, " I'm sorry you feel that way, but I love you and nothing is going to change that". It is just a phase he's going through, and hopefully with a little positive reassurance it will soon pass.

Brenda - posted on 10/08/2009

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Oh boy do I know this one. My daughter is 8 and plays with and teases her dad all the time. But about 3 years ago that wasn't the case. She would tell anyone who would listen that she hated her daddy and that he was mean to her and she wanted him to go away. She refused to give him hugs or kisses.I talked to my husband about this and I admonished her for saying such things, knowing full well she really did love her daddy. Well the following year I had to start being away from home 5 days a week for school. All she had to rely on Monday to Friday was her daddy. Within 3 months she was no longer saying she hated her daddy, and soon after that she started going to him for help with things even when I was around. Now she quite willingly gives him hugs before bed, and when he has to leave to work the night shift she comes running up to him to say bye and have a good night at work. She still with holds the kisses, she says she doesn't kiss boys and at almost 9 we don't want to dissuade her of this idea too soon, but her daddy will tease her and trick her into getting one occasionally and she thinks its a game and fun. Eventually the phase will pass if there isn't anything to substantiate their claims, and sometimes they just need to learn to depend on their daddy's as most little girls do eventually.

Melanie - posted on 10/08/2009

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As a toddler there were times when my daughter would not go near my husband - she was a mummys girl through and through. She still does it sometimes now but it is more likely if she has been told off by him. I have always turned to around and asked how she would feel if mummy (or daddy) had said those things to her. How would that make her feel - just the thought of it usually reduces her to tears. I then ask did she think daddy might feel the same way as he loves her lots and enjoys spending time with her. It has always worked with us and at the same time teaches her about how other people may view her words.



The first time my daughter told me she hated me i just wanted to cry, but what I said to her was that was okay she was allowed to feel that, but no matter what I will always be her mummy and I love her no matter what. It really took the power out of her words and she tried it once more got the same reaction and moved on.



I believe your toddler is discovering the power of words, to cure take away their power.

Susanne - posted on 10/08/2009

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Hello Rachel! There can be a lot of reasons why your son tells these mean things to your husband and I don't really say it's just a phase. It's very good that you are not just ignoring this coz, I believe saying mean things is never a good sign. These are some questions you should ask yourself...did your son experience anything bad with his father or did he see your husband do something wrong? Nobody is perfect but when things are wrong, don't under estimate your child not to understand things. Explain to your child whatever happened in the simplest possible way without having to tell a lie or without making up a story. It's also possible that your son is more attached to you that he prefers you over his dad. In anyway, your husband and you should work on this as early as now. You should both be patient and always let your son hear and see good things about his father. Kids are very sensitive to situations, though we don't really notice their immediate reactions. But they often make conclusions to what they actually see. If he sees you crying after talking to your husband he may think it's your husband's fault...simple things as this. I hope you all can get through with this! God bless.

[deleted account]

Familiar territory.
It's reverse psychology when they're that specific. "I don't want you to tuck me in." , is really, "I want you to tuck me in and if you won't I'll be crushed. So, I won't set myself up for rejection."

Kristina - posted on 10/07/2009

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It actually really normal Freud says that daughters go through a period of despising their mothers in a way to get attention and more affection from their fathers and the sons go through a period of "hating" their fathers to in a weird way push them out of their lives so its only the son and the mother.... google Frued's theories I think it will help

Helen - posted on 10/07/2009

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what he really means is that "daddy you are more strict than mummy and i like getting my own way" or he has realised that he gets a big reaction when he says these things. When he says things like that you need to simply say "well i love daddy very much" and give daddy a kiss and cuddle and ignore your son until he comes to join in. most importantly don't let him get his own way with this

Jenn - posted on 10/07/2009

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Could be he is looking for a reaction. I've had my son tell me that he doesn't love me anymore and he had that "look" on his face like "what will Mommy do/say?" I just told him "well I love you" and smiled :)

Jen - posted on 10/07/2009

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I don't believe you should ignore the behavoir. My son is 6 and I remember a couple times that he said something like I don't like you or he didn't like his father. I sat him down and spoke honestly about how it makes me feel to hear that. I reversed places with him and asked how he would feel if I were to say something like that about daddy or even him. I taught him how to use other words to express how he felt...anger, sad, frustrated. And I always got to the bottom of why he said it, I want him to know that I am there to talk about the problem in a manner that is not hurtful to either of us. Good luck!!!

[deleted account]

This is completely normal for some kids. Please don't stress about it. You have two choices - punish your son, or don't dwell on it. A friend of mine is a pediatrician, and she said that this is usually just a way for a child to get attention, and that of course the child doesn't mean it. My daughter (she just turned four) used to do it all the time to her daddy. We tried punishing her, and she still did it. So we tried alternately ignoring her and treating it as a joke, and she stopped within a week. We would say once, "You know that isn't nice," and then we would change the subject. If she said it again, we wouldn't even acknowledge it - we pretended that it didn't bother us. So she wasn't getting the attention that she wanted. Other times my husband and I would make silly, exaggerated faces, fall to the floor, and say "Oh, heavens, that's terrible! What ever will I do!" In other words, we piled on the silly drama, then we would all start laughing (including our daughter) and she would stop. It worked for us! Kids will do strange things to get attention. I've learned that you can't take anything personally, and you can't take life too seriously. :) My daughter is a real "drama queen", so I'm sure I have a lot more interesting things to come in the next few years. lol Good luck!

Samantha - posted on 10/07/2009

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I have a 4 year old daughter, who was going through something similar for the last 2.5 years. I wasn't allowed to do anything for her - only my mom could. I wasn't allowed to bah her, dress her, brush her hair, make her food or drinks. If I did all 10 hells broke loose. Everyone told me its naughtiness, stages, ages, phases, etc. Eventually, I figured that she has a problem with me. She refused to tell me what it was. I took her to a social worker for a forensic assessment. It turns out I'm not the problem, never have been - but there was a greater one. Her actions (naughtiness/ugliness) were cries for help. The more naughty/ugly she was to me, the more I'd discipline her. The more I disciplined her the worse she got. I tried everything from taking favourite toys away, ignoring to time out - you name it, I tried it. Even started taking anti-depressants because 2.5 years of such behaviour started getting me down badly. Now that she has her frustrations out, she's a totally different little girl. Just remember to follow your maternal instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. And keep the lines of communication open with her father. Don't push his concerns one side, be there for him. I've learnt that there is a very fine line between naughtiness, phases, and a serious problem that needs to be addressed. There is book called Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman. It was suggested to me by the social worker, to help deal with the real phases, stages and ages problem. I bought it, and would strongly suggest it to all parents with the same problem. Hope your son is going through a phase, and that you don't have the same problem I've had. Good luck!

Jane - posted on 10/06/2009

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he's probably getting it from tv or playmates. regardless, TIME-OUT! that's not how he speaks to anyone, especially his parents. sit him down for a moment together, tell him what he says is not right and you want to see him behave better, then move to the time-outs when it happens. give him time-outs when he says it, have him apologize to his dad. if it keeps up, take a favorite toy away, for a day or until he shows you guys that he's behaved w/this issue.

try not to let the heartache show, it's a behavior issue, not an emotional one.

Carol - posted on 10/06/2009

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Wait til you're a great-grandparent and the once adoring child begins to ignore you...

perfectly normal....sigh

Angie - posted on 10/06/2009

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Your son is playing your husband! He is trying to get his way and has learned that by saying ugly things to daddy, he can hurt his dad. Daddy needs to immediately stop what he is doing with your son and walk out of the room when he talks ugly to him. My husband has told our kids that he loves me very much and he's not going to allow them to talk or act ugly with me. This way he knows know that neither parent is going to tolerate him acting inappropriately towards daddy.

Socorro - posted on 10/06/2009

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Oh, please remember that your son is only three years old. That absolutely is the "terrible three" part of his life. Kids like his age normally still do not recognize the "proper" things or maybe the "do's and don'ts" that they tend to say, do or act the way they want to. Unconsciously he doesn't realize what he is saying. Please don't be bothered with that.

Stephanie - posted on 10/06/2009

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In addition to all of these other great posts, maybe check out what your kiddo is watching on TV. Even commercials on kids channels can contain stuff that a 3 year-old might take the wrong way. If he goes to day care or preschool, ask the babysitter or preschool teacher if there is anything you should know about. Also, If he is in daycare or preschool, ask the other moms if they are having a problem with their children.

Jodi - posted on 10/06/2009

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Yep, all the time. My daughter is a shocker for it. "I don't like you mummy, you're not my friend". Or "I don't want you daddy, I want mummy because you're not my friend."



It's actually fairly common. It really doesn't mean anything, its a way that they express their felings at this age. I know it hurts, but you shouldn't show your feelings about it, because then your son KNOWS he found the button. Believe it or not, kids this age are manipulative beyond belief!!! And this is a manipulative move on your son's part :)

Maggie - posted on 10/06/2009

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My son tells me and my husband all the time that he wants a new Mom. It crushes me! It's usually when we've had a bad day, though, and some extra one on one time usually cures it. Make sure hubby is spending time with him even when he's hurt by your son's statements. This is the age when they're learning that things they say can affect people. He could just be trying out his newfound "power". Don't let hubby show that what he says affects him. Tell him it's mean and move on to the next subject or activity.

Kimberly - posted on 10/06/2009

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I think he is going through a stage of feeling he has to choose. My son is going through something like this right now. Just explain that what he says is hurtful. You would be surprised over what a 3 year old is going threw. Or you can ask him to explain to you why he feels that way. Something may be bothering him that is completely unrelated but he doesn't know how else to express himself. But always make sure he knows that what he says can be hurtful.

Sharon - posted on 10/06/2009

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hi my names Sharon and I have 3 boys. To this day my boys will still every now and then say they hate phil (my husband) but usually now its when he tells them off. I had a similiar experience with my youngest but it was always to me, when he was around the same age as your son. Alot of it I found was just an expression, that I think he'd heard his older brothers say, but I also realized it had a lot to do with him seeking attention. At that age I honestly don't think he ever really meant it, and even though it does hurt. The best thing I found was to not react in any way to it, so pretty much ignore it. Because after I did this ( for a long while, mind you) he aventually stopped talking to me like that. And now he the only one of my boys who has never actually said it again. So tell your husband to try not to take it personally as even mum's get it and that your son does love him he's just trying to express some kind of emotion to your husband, that even he probably doesn't understand, or he feels it gets him more time or attention (good or bad) from daddy. I don't know if what I've said will help you guys at all but atleast he will know he is not alone in this world when it comes to kids telling there parents they don't like them, it's extremely common.

Terricka - posted on 10/06/2009

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well sweetie me and my baby father was apart bcuz he was in the navy so all tha months he neva got a chance to spend time wit her an when he got out he started taken her places jus wit the two of them so she cud get use to him an now she jus turned one an loves being wit daddy sumtimes u have to let dad have days wit ur son like daddy an father day ur child may be a mama's boy but thats fine us women love that but jus so they can bond keep it a distance an if that doesnt then jus talk to him about mabey he will grow out of it GOOD LUCK SWEETIE

Sarah - posted on 10/06/2009

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My 2 yr old went thru a phase of that. Are you home with your son all day while your husband works all day? I think it's a normal phase. I know it hurts your husband's feelings, but reassure him that it is just a phase. Tell him to not let it show that it bothers him. Your son is just trying to get a reaction. Let's say, for example, that your husband goes to tuck him in and he refuses to give him a kiss goodnight. Tell your husband to just tell your son, "ok, fine.....I love you, goodnight" without showing any anger or sadness. Just tell your husband to say that and leave the room. It won't be long til your son gets bored with that "game" and stops. Like I said, your son is just trying to get a reaction from Dad.

Tara - posted on 10/06/2009

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I know my daughter goes into a pout and wont hug or look at her Dad if he disciplines or doesnt give into what she wants. But other than that, no.

It may sound crazy but maybe he's not nice to his son when youre not around? You have to think of reasons why this may be happening. Sit down with your son and have a chat. Tell him how it makes you feel. Explain things to him, dig for info. Then have Dad come in and tell him how this behavior makes him feel as well.

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