Boy only wants Dad

Townsville Bulletin - - About A Baby -

the birth of our sec­ond baby ( now aged 10 weeks) our el­dest son ( 22 months) has be­come more de­tached from his mother and more at­tached to me. This is caus­ing my wife to feel down and un­wanted by him. What do you ad­vise us to do?

Par­ents of Two Un­der Two, Cas­tle Hill

all very ex­cit­ing for your son when the sec­ond baby ar­rives for the first few weeks, how­ever af­ter that the feel­ings of want­ing the baby to go away, or of competition also start.

Usu­ally older chil­dren show ag­gres­sion and frus­tra­tion to the baby by sneak­ing in a kick, pinch or two or, as in your son’s case, start at­tach­ing more to the other par­ent. Usu­ally Dad has more time than Mum as she is busy feed­ing the baby so older chil­dren are quick to pick up on this and seek their com­fort and at­ten­tion else­where.

Around the age of two it is also a pe­riod of time when boys nat­u­rally move more at­tach­ment to their Dads and seek their com­pany. So in your sit­u­a­tion you prob­a­bly have both hap­pen­ing at once.

I have a few sug­ges­tions – make sure he is in­volved in the care for the baby, like hand­ing the nappy over, gather­ing a toy or two, pass­ing the wrap; try to elim­i­nate the ‘‘ mummy’s busy with the baby . . . in a few min­utes I can’’ type of state­ments.

In­volve him in feed­ing time, it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to read them both a book on the couch or sing songs; be sure that when the baby is asleep Mum can sit down and play with your older child for 10-15 minute slots where there is qual­ity con­nect­ing rather than just be­ing around each other.

When he is with Mum, be sure to tell him how nice it is to just be with him and give him a cud­dle and a smile and he will be en­cour­aged to do so again.

Give him time to ad­just and if you feel that it is still con­cern­ing then I would seek pro­fes­sional ad­vice. Try not to take it per­son­ally, al­though Mum is prob­a­bly miss­ing be­ing the first one he comes to.

I would be care­ful of ‘‘ play­ing along’’ if he starts de­mand­ing one par­ent over the other. For ex­am­ple if he was with Mum and then de­manded he needed Dad, don’t go along. In­stead get Mum to do what­ever it was he needed or he misses out, be­cause he can be play­ing one against the other. Email your ques­tions to aboutababy@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au. Ni­cole Pierotti is a child psy­chol­o­gist who spe­cialises in work­ing with ba­bies and chil­dren. She is an ex­pert in help­ing solve sleep­ing prob­lems. Ni­cole runs work­shops for ex­pec­tant par­ents on how to man­age new­born ba­bies and es­tab­lish great sleep­ing pat­terns. To make an ap­point­ment, con­tact Ni­cole at Lis­ter House Con­sult­ing Suites, Mater, Hyde Park on 4724 2600 or visit www. babysmiles. com. au.

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