Bonding With Dad
For the first three years, your child will show preference for you over his father, and that can make you feel bad and can make the father seem like he’s not welcome.
For the first three years, your child will show preference for you over his father, and that can make you feel bad and can make the father seem like he’s not welcome. At some point between the ages of 2 and 4, your child will start associating dad with play and you with caregiving. In order to bond best, you need to both be associated with play and caregiving. This means that when your child is in a good mood and is feeling positive overall, let dad take care of things for a while. You can step out of the house a bit, and let them bond through play and caregiving.
Once your child is able to associate her dad with caregiving, then bonding comes more naturally, as do the hugs and cuddles. Build on that by letting the father get your child dressed, take over bath time, and put them to sleep. Frequent outings together, with or without you, can also do wonders.
Your child may need some time to adapt, but so does the father, who can feel unwanted, unloved and rejected. Make sure he knows that the rejection is not personal, and that he is very important to his child. The father may need to put in extra efforts to model gentleness. It’s important that the father is not seen only as a disciplinarian, but also as a source of nurture and comfort. (TIP: Get the father to give your son a nightly back rub as part of the nighttime ritual. This touch time can strengthen the bonds they build during the day).