Jennifer Kolari Discusses Daddy-itis

kolari thumbnailThis week at Kolari’s Corner on InfoMommy, Jennifer Kolari answers a question from a reader whose nineteen-month-old son has been clinging to his father and acting out when he doesn’t get his father’s immediate attention.

Jennifer explains that this behaviour is common and may result from attachment worries, especially if the parent travels frequently or works long hours. Jennifer notes that trying to keep Dad away can exacerbate the situation, causing the child to escalate in protest. Instead, she recommends that Mom use her mirroring technique, saying: “You want Daddy, you see me all the time and it’s Daddy you want, you love Daddy, I love him too, I can see why you want to be with him.” This will show your child that you understand both his message and its urgency. Jennifer also suggests that Dad spend about half an hour of focussed time with his child as soon as he arrives home. After this, the child will usually feel they’ve gotten what they need and will accept it when Dad moves on to another activity. If they don’t, or if Dad isn’t immediately available on occasion, use mirroring statements to calm the child. Finally, Jennifer advises that Mom spend several minutes once or twice a day on baby play with her child so that their bond doesn’t get frayed while dealing with all the “Daddy meltdowns.”

Click here to read Jennifer’s full answer or check out her other advice at Kolari’s Corner. You may also want to read our related post: When Kids Play Favourites.

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Please remember that the advice given on this blog is not meant to replace medical advice or the direct advice of a mental health care professional.
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