Why does my 2 1/2 year old daughter ignore my boyfriend? HELP I need advice!!!

Sharae - posted on 12/27/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )




My 2 1/2 year old daughter ignores my boyfriend of 10 months almost every day. It stresses me out and we want for all of us to be happy together. He doesnt live with me, but stays overnight about 5 out of the 7 days. Our relationship is great. We show affection for eachother in front of her and are very happy together. I work full time and only have about 1 hour with her after we have dinner then its bed time. My boyfriend will give us that hour together alone.

My question: Why does my toddler ignore him on purpose and not talk to him. He's the most loving, caring & undersatnding person towards the both of us. I need your advice; please help.


Candy - posted on 12/30/2012




Your daughter is having to share you for the first time! Look at it from her point of view- up till now she's probably had your undivided attention. And for toddlers, sharing is the hard lesson to learn.

Naturally she will feel resentful of this other person taking your attention away from her. It's not personal about your boyfriend- if you'd had another baby, we'd be calling it 'sibling rivalry'. It's very normal.

So, how to deal with it? Make sure first of all that you are spending plenty of quality time with her during the day, sitting by her while she plays and talking to her. Make sure you warn her that your boyfriend is coming over. You can also say things that acknowledge her feelings, like "I think you maybe feel sad when (name) comes to see me. Is that right?" and also tell her reassuring things like "My heart has enough love for both you and (name)".

Then while your boyfriend is there, make sure you don't just ignore your daughter. Draw her into what you're doing. Don't demand she shows affection to your boyfriend- but 'narrate' what's happening and talk about it openly. "I see you don't want to say hello to (name). Does that mean you're feeling cross with him? It's okay to feel upset when you have to share me."

How much your daughter eventually accepts your boyfriend will depend on how he behaves. If he can sit down with her and talk to her in the same way- "You don't want to say hello to me. That's okay, but I'm going to say hello to you." - and if he can take part in her routines, say by getting her some food she wants or offering to help her when she asks you for something, she will gradually thaw out.

Big hugs to you because this is hard- but remember, it's very normal.


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Bridget - posted on 12/30/2012




Even with a biological daddy, almost always, babies gravitate to mommy. Have him just sit on the floor by himself and play with her toys. She will eventually come over. He can talk to her about what they are playing. This is a time that he can make affirmations about her. How she is so nice to share her toys, how he likes her smile, etc. There may be another time where he just sits with a pile of books and starts reading out loud. Throw soft nurf-like balls up in the air and laugh when they fall down on them, et. Check out baby play websites for game ideas. There are even baby games on the computer that a 2-1/2 yr old can interact with. Of course she'd have to sit on his lap to play with them. The hardest part is putting together a list of things that will draw her attention in. She will be drawn to him not because he's forcing it ... it's because he plays.

Gigi - posted on 12/29/2012




You can't talk the 2 year old into "not ignoring" your boyfriend. Its not the bad manners that are the problem here. For some reason she doesn't like him and for her to overcome that she will need time. He should put an effort into including her in conversations and doing stuff with her. Even if she is not responsive at the time she will be noticing it and 'filing" it for future.
Furthermore, maybe you can cut his sleepovers a bit, 5 out of 7 nights might be a bit much for a 2 year old who probably just wants her mommy after whole day away. That might help her be more open to him on the few nights she sees him. I can imagine that would be tough on you, but in the big picture your daughter should be happy with anyone you bring into her life and taking things a bit slow might help.

Sharae - posted on 12/27/2012




In my situation she was introduced to him after he first month. I have sole custody of my daughter and therefore she's with me almost always. Looking back wish I could have waited to introduce her.

Anyway at first she didn't really pay much attention and then after a few month she realized hey this guys not leaving. She started to ignore him and not really play with him at all. That soon turned into being pals which was great. Recently she's turned back to ignoring him.

He wants to give my daughter and I the time together to have girl time. I believe that being involved 3 out of the 7 nights a week (playing blocks, park, walks, projects etc) will help foster the connection they will have. Thoughts?

I feel stressed and will not push this on daughter. Things will happen with in time, but how much time? How do I talk to a two and a half year old about not ignoring him ...

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